Is Sugar Evil?

Learn how sugar affects your body.


Parker and Evan

It’s a question for the ages: why is sugar so bad for you? Don’t we all wish for a world where it isn’t? In this article, you’ll learn some reasons why large amounts of processed sugar over short periods of time can impact your health, and why it is so satisfying and addicting to eat.

Processed Sugars vs. Natural Sugar

Processed sugar is the just like regular sugar, but modified.  Natural sugar has two things called glucose and fructose. Glucose is found in savory fruits like tomatoes and onions. Fructose is easily broken down by cells, and also produced by your body. Fructose is found in sweet fruits like apples, grapes, and it’s also found in honey. Processed sugar has sucrose, which is one-half glucose and one-half fructose. Typically, it’s extracted from sugar cane to make your typical table sugar.

One kind of fruit that you may think has added sugar is dried fruit, but it has the same amount of sugar as its regular fruits. The reason you may think it has more sugar is fruit has a lot of water, but when you take the water out, it has more sugar in a smaller amount of fruit. This process is called concentration. Many other things, especially fruit-flavored sodas such as grape soda, use concentration to make their fruity flavors stronger tasting. Compare it to this: say you have a pinch of salt and eat it, and take the same amount and put in a cup of water, the salt by it self is saltier. So basically, you will eat more dried in one portion than regular fruit, so the amount of sugar intake is a lot more. To make it easier, processed sugar is the same as regular sugar but has a different chemical makeup.   


Healthy Sugar!?

Now this may sound fake, but healthy sugar is real. Some people use an alternative sugar, coconut sugar. Coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index, which means it doesn’t raise blood sugar as quickly. It also has nutrients, so not just fructose and glucose. So, I’m not telling you that this sugar is completely healthy, but it is a better alternative to regular table sugar. But this is still not an excuse to eat a lot of it, as it has the same long-term damaging effects as sugar, just at a slower pace.


Why is Sugar So Addicting?

You may think that the reason for sugar’s addicting affect lies in your stomach, but it actually lies in your brain. When you taste sugar, it causes your brain to release the chemical dopamine, which makes you feel good. Your brain also releases dopamine when you do something good, like pass a test or win a game of cards. If a lot, even too much, dopamine is released, it may form an addiction.

Why Does Sugar Cause Weight Gain?

This is probably the most obvious reason to avoid large amounts of sugar, and who doesn’t know this is what sugar can do to you? We all know that if you eat a lot of anything, you can gain weight. I mean, who doesn’t like food? Sugar is in a lot of things that you may be surprised about. For instance, ketchup, marinara sauce, bread, deli meat, dried fruits, and tomato soup all contain sugar, and the list goes on and on. If you go to a McDonald’s and order a Big Mac, that is 9 grams of sugar. That is mostly in the bun, but that is equivalent to 9 paper clips of sugar. Try to imagine that!


Can Sugar Cause Heart Disease?

I’m sure that none of us want this. When you eat excess sugar, the extra insulin in your bloodstream can affect your arteries, part of your body’s circulatory system. Insulin is a substance in your body that turns sugars into energy. Researchers have found that eating less sugar will keep your blood sugar stable. To answer the question, yes, it can. Heart disease is very damaging to your body, and can sometimes be fatal.


In conclusion, sugar can do many bad things, such as cause weight gain or heart disease, but in small amounts, and not frequently, sugar can be okay to eat. So the next time you eat processed sugar, remember what it can do.

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