Sugars are carbohydrates. Like all carbohydrates, they provide a source of energy in our diet. Sugar is a term that includes all sweet carbohydrates, although the term most often is used to describe sucrose or table sugar, a ‘double sugar’. The body breaks down carbohydrates into simple sugars such as glucose, that can be readily used in the body.
There are several different sugars. Sugars occur naturally in some foods, such as fruit and dairy products, and are also added to a wide variety of foods. Sugar can take many different forms, including white, raw, or brown sugar, honey, or corn syrup.
Too much sugar in the diet can contribute to health problems like obesity and tooth decay. Refined (or processed) sugar provides a quick, simple source of energy, but it doesn’t contain other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
When you eat excess sugar, the extra insulin in your bloodstream can affect your arteries all over your body. It causes their walls to get inflamed, grow thicker than normal, and stiffer, this stresses your heart and damages it over time. This can lead to heart disease, like heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes.
One of the most important things to remember when changing the diet is to do so gradually. Going from a diet full of sugar to one without any should be a slow process.
It may help to start by eliminating the most obvious sources of sugar. People can easily avoid baked goods such as cakes, muffins, and brownies. Removing candy and sugary beverages is also an excellent place to start.
A person can also try reducing the amount of sugar and cream they add to their coffee or tea, working up to using none at all. Building up to a no-sugar diet can help a person retrain the palate, meaning that they are less likely to crave the missing sugar.