For better health, watch the sugar intake

FAMILY FEATURES

Consuming more than nine teaspoons of sugar a day for men and six teaspoons for women can lead to health problems such as tooth decay, obesity and depression. Reducing your sugar intake can help more than your waistline; it can improve your overall health.

There are two types of sugar – natural sugar and added sugar. Natural sugar is found in fruits, milk and some whole grains. Added sugar is sugar that is added to processed foods and drinks such as cookies, cereals and soda.

Added sugar can be as addictive as drugs, tobacco or alcohol because it affects the same regions of the brain, triggering the pleasure sensors to release dopamine. Dopamine makes you want to eat more, even when you are not hungry.

When you consume too much added sugar, your liver has to work extra hard to process it. Excess sugar in the liver often turns into fat, which can lead to liver damage or other health concerns such as high cholesterol, diabetes or heart disease.

It can also overload and damage your pancreas, which controls the blood sugar called insulin that powers your muscles and organs. Lack of insulin can cause muscle and nerve damage.

Limit added sugars in your diet with these alternatives:
•Skip sugary cereals at breakfast. Instead, opt for a protein-rich meal. Options are eggs, turkey sausage and whole-wheat toast with peanut butter.
•Sodas, energy drinks and sports drinks sneak in a lot of sugar calories. In fact, a single can of soda has nine teaspoons of sugar – the maximum an adult male should consume in an entire day.

Visit guardyourhealth.com for more food and nutrition tips and resources.

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