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The Sugar Staple

Candy, cookies, pie, cake, ice cream, soda, chocolate... everyone knows sugar in excess is bad for you, but it’s just so tempting! Even foods like potatoes and bread (often dietary staples) are full of carbohydrates and starch that are quickly transformed to sugar within the body. A lot of packaged food contains some form of processed-sugar as well.

Our culture has been inundated with sugary foods, and Americans definitely have a sweet tooth. Often, people don’t even realize how much processed-sugar is in some products. Sugar is in abundance, and it seems perfectly normal to consume incredible amounts of sugar each day without even knowing it, because sugar is added to almost everything. Some common names for this sweet substance are carbohydrate, cassonade, dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, levulose, maltose, saccharin, saccharose, sucrose, sweetener, xylose.

All of these are have the same basic elements and have a high caloric content, and the calories from these substances are more difficult for the body to burn. If sugary foods are consumed in abundance, you could gain a lot of extra weight simply because your body does not know what to do with all the extra calories.

Sugary foods or carb loaded foods have empty calories, but often, are used to replace more healthy, natural foods. So not only is your body receiving calories it can’t use very well, it’s also not receiving the calories it does need in order to stay healthy.

One example of this trend is with breakfast cereal. Most cereals on the market are nothing but some form of syrupy-sugar mixed with a little ultra-processed wheat product to hold it together. The body needs good calories in the morning, because it hasn’t eaten in a while. If you only feed it sugar, it not only throws off your metabolism for the day, it also gives the body nothing to work with; it’s like filling your body with useless calories instead of actually fueling it with things like fruit and grains.

These artificially sweetened substances also cause more plaque on the teeth, because it is thicker and sticks to the teeth better. Excessive intake (and thus excessive coating the teeth) can cause tooth decay and other dental problems if you don’t brush your teeth immediately after consumption.

Types of Sugar

There are two types of sugar - those added to food to sweeten it (like with sodas and ice cream), and those naturally contained in some foods (like with fruit and milk). Generally, sugars in the latter category are fine, because the body can easily use them. However according to, Food from the first category should be limited, because it’s not natural, and the body can’t use it as easily.

Some studies show that a large intake of sugars can even cause colon cancer, but other studies have not shown that result. Sugars aren't all bad, and there’s no reason to cut it from your diet entirely. It’s perfectly fine (and quite enjoyable!) when consumed in moderation. Regardless, processed-sugar intake should be monitored in order to maintain the best health possible.

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