The process of producing refined sugar leaves a clean, refined carbohydrate that the body cannot easily absorb. Some examples include white sugar, powdered sugar, and in some cases, brown sugar, which is often white sugar with molasses added.
Here’s how a diet full of refined sugar affects your body and why is refined sugar bad:
The liver stores excess sugar as glycogen. If you eat refined sugar every day (more than your daily sugar requirement), you can overload the glycogen storage space in your liver and cause it to spread. When the liver reaches its maximum capacity, excess glycogen can be converted to fatty acids and deposited in inactive parts of the body. It may include the thighs, stomach, and chest. Some fats can remain in the liver, which can lead to a greasy liver, after a while.
Studies have found a link between refined sugar and unhealthy blood fat levels. Eating high amounts of refined sugar may be responsible for higher triglyceride levels and low cholesterol levels. As cholesterol helps transport cholesterol from the body’s cells back to the liver, low levels can lead to an increased risk of heart disease.
To most people, consuming refined sugar creates an addiction. When you eat refined sugar (chocolate, cookies, and other sweets) it causes a huge release of dopamine (a brain chemical that helps us to feel happy or pleasant). Unfortunately, food rich in nutrients such as fruits and vegetables will not stimulate the brain to release very much dopamine. For that reason, people who are constantly eating high amounts of refined sugar are constantly looking for food that will produce those positive emotions over and over again.
Due to the effects of refined sugar on our brains, people who consume it a lot are more likely to become obese. Products full of refined sugar are filled with empty calories and also contain no important ingredients such as fiber. Sugar can be a cause of obesity these days because it is found in many products on the market. Unfortunately, refined sugars are found in foods that appear to be healthy, such as breakfast cereals, muesli, fruit yogurts, and sauces.
The effects of sugar on our bodies are terrifying, but most of the health problems that are mentioned occur over a long period of excessive sugar consumption. After all, food is fuel, so we must be aware of what we put in our bodies and the effects it can have on the organism.
Refined sugar vs natural sugar
Unrefined or partially refined brown sugar does not undergo the entire refining process, leaving behind plant pigments, some minerals, and other plant residues, which means that it retains a certain amount of molasses. Thanks to molasses, brown sugars are darker in color and, due to its hygroscopic properties, is naturally moister and has a sticky texture.
An important feature of both these types of sugars is an equal energy value. One teaspoon, of either brown or white sugar, contains almost the same amount of calories.
Unrefined brown sugars with a higher molasses content have specific names and characteristics depending on the country of origin. For example, we can find muscovado brown sugar rich in molasses in the market. However, even with a higher molasses content, unrefined brown sugar does not differ in quality. Its main advantage is its color and only a very small percentage of micronutrients, which does not significantly affect its nutritional value.
Finally, what matters most is to eat healthily and to be moderate in all the food we take.