We started talking about the harmful properties of sugar relatively recently. Each of us dragged home a kilogram pack of sugar, poured some into a neat sugar bowl and left it in the center of the table for a future tea party or family dinner. In the meantime, authoritative research on the destructive effect of white powder did not really bother anyone until humanity came to sugar addiction, a colossal increase in obesity and related diseases.
What is sugar, is it really that bad, and are there alternatives to white powder?
Sugar is the common name for sucrose (C12H22O11). This is a food product that belongs to the group of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide the functional activity of the human body and are responsible for energy production. Once ingested, sucrose is broken down into glucose and fructose, then enzymes are gradually absorbed into the bloodstream.
Glucose is responsible for most of the human energy expenditure. The average concentration of the enzyme in the blood should be between 80 and 120 milligrams/100 milliliters. The enzyme supports the barrier function of the liver and protects it from the pathogenic effects of toxins. Glucose is used as a drug for serious poisoning and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.
Brief historical background
India is considered the birthplace of white powder. The name of the term comes from the Indian शर्करः (śarkaraḥ) in translation - “a grain of sand, gravel”. The Slavic languages borrowed the term "sugar" from the Greek σάκχαρον (sakharon).
The Romans introduced the Europeans to sugar. It was the Roman Empire and Egypt that acted as intermediaries in trade relations between Europe and India. Indians exported brown sweet grains extracted from sugar cane. Later, Sicily and Southern Spain began to trade in exports.
Europeans consumed 2 kilograms of sugar per year in the 19th century, 17 kilograms in 1920 and 37 kilograms in 2000.
Sugar came to Russian territory in the 11th-12th century. Sweet brown crumbs were available exclusively to the aristocracy. The first "sugar chamber" was opened by Peter I at the beginning of the 18th century. Raw materials for chambers were imported from abroad. Since 1809, the era of self-cultivation of sugar from domestic raw materials - sugar beet - began on Russian soil.
World production of white sugar is calculated in thousands of tons. In 2007, 163,536 were mined, in 2008 - 144,144, in 2009 - 153,687, in 2010 - 161,437, in 2011 - 168,247. The largest supplier countries: India, Brazil, EU, China, Thailand, USA, Mexico, Russia, Pakistan, Australia.
What is sugar like
The product is produced in the following forms:
- candis (crystallized sugar used in the food industry);
- pressed and lumpy.
Sugar is classified according to the type of raw material. In total, there are 5 varieties of the product.
Obtained from sugar cane stalks. The plant grows in India. This is the world's first raw material for the production of sugar. Initially, the product was used as a medicine. The Arabs set up industrial production of the food sweet component and spread it to Egypt, Sicily, Spain, and Venice.
In Europe, the product became popular after the Crusades. Until the 19th century, cane powder was considered an attribute of luxury and unprecedented wealth. Today the situation has changed, and most of modern sugar is produced from the cane plant.
The idea of extracting sugar from sweet beets belongs to Andreas Margraf. In 1747, the scientist published his thoughts in the memoirs of the Berlin Academy of Sciences and received positive feedback. Margraf technology is still used today in a slightly improved version. The industrial production of beet sweets was established by Napoleon in 1806. The first Russian plant for processing beets appeared in 1802 in the Tula province. Its founder was Major General Blankenigel. By the end of the 19th century, there were 236 beet factories in Russia.
A traditional product of the eastern Canadian provinces. Produced from the sap of sugar maple since the 17th century. The sugar maple industry was considered the most profitable in Canada at the end of the 20th century. It made over $100 million in 1989.
Produced in the southern and southeastern regions of Asia, the islands of the Indian Ocean. Small incisions are made on the young cobs of palm trees, the juice is allowed to drain completely, and then the “harvest” is harvested. This juice is processed into a sweet powder. In Sri Lanka, coconut sugar is obtained by a similar method. One coconut tree can provide the population with 250 kilograms of juice per year. The liquid contains about 20% sucrose, and coconut sugar is recognized as the safest in the world. It is important that with a competent approach, sap extraction does not harm trees.
Produced from the stalks of sugar sorghum in China and the northern states of the United States. Later, this raw material was abandoned, since mineral salts and gum-like components were found in sorghum sugar. The yield of pure sweet crystals was very small and brought losses to the owners of the sorghum business.
Why sugar is useful
Modern man eats refined white sugar. After processing, the product contains only "empty" calories. It is devoid of vitamins, minerals, nutrients and nutritional benefits. The study "Adverse metabolic effects of dietary fructose: results from the recent epidemiological, clinical, and mechanistic studies" proved that the dietary component plays a key role in:
- the formation of the metabolic syndrome;
- diseases of the heart and blood vessels;
- cancer development;
- development of diabetes;
- amount of visceral fat;
- aggravation of internal inflammatory processes.
White sweet product is addictive. After ingestion, the component stimulates the production of the hormone dopamine. Dopamine stimulates pleasure centers and makes us feel joyful and energized. The body gets used to an easy way to satisfy and literally makes a person eat more sweets.
Which sweetener can be eaten
Nutritionists advise using plant-based sweeteners, but if you can't do without sugar, then choose coconut and muscovado.
Muscovado is unrefined dark sugar. Its consistency is similar to liquid sand granules. It is sticky, dense, does not crumble, and has a surprisingly subtle aroma of raisins. The color of the product is rich brown and more like a shade of coffee. It is important that muscovado is sold in an airtight container, otherwise the product will absorb moisture and odors.
When buying a coconut sweetener, evaluate the ingredients. It should be as natural as possible, without additional impurities and chemicals.
Be aware of the rational dosage and potential dangers of sugar. The product is not recommended for daily use.
Why sugar is harmful
The danger of sugar lies in the fact that not all possible consequences of its use can be reversible. Try to determine your food priorities as early as possible and don't let temporary gastronomic pleasures rule your life.
Violation of internal harmony
The food product increases the level of cholesterol and glucose, disrupts fat metabolism, interferes with the functionality of cells. The walls of the arteries become thinner, fat volumes increase, and energy efficiency decreases every day. This leads to:
- gastrointestinal pathologies;
- deterioration of teeth;
- destruction of the muscular corset;
- Alzheimer's disease.
Memory quality is affected by overall quality of life. The use of sugar in addition to difficult situations at school / work, personal experiences, traffic jams and low-quality food has a devastating effect on the ability to remember and operate information.
Sweets aggravate acne treatment, stimulate new breakouts, and reduce skin firmness and elasticity. Why is this happening? It is difficult for the body to absorb low-quality sugar. Adhesions are gradually formed, collagen is destroyed and internal organs are clogged. Toxins that accumulate inside gradually exit through the skin, which additionally affects the decline in the functionality of organs, which causes imperfections.
How to reduce the amount of sugar in the diet
Scary pictures of foods and the relative amount of sugar in them really make you think. Even salty foods and vegetables contain a certain amount of sugar, and additional sweetening adds to the overall picture. So what to do?
Adjust the timing of meals
The human body should normally never feel hungry. The diet should be built in such a way as to prevent the desire to eat, and not blindly follow it. In addition to the standard breakfast, lunch and dinner, snacks should be included in the adult and children's diet. Their number is determined individually. A snack is not a full meal, but, for example, a banana, fruit curd or a healthy sandwich. The break between each subsequent meal should be about 4 hours.
Why is it effective? The body requires sugar only in case of hunger (or it simply does not know what to do with itself). If you eliminate the feeling of hunger, then suppress cravings for sweets as much as possible. It is important that the diet is complete in terms of fiber, vitamins, nutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Natural sweetness, which lies in plant foods, is enough. Remember that the true desire for sweets is always formed in the head, but never arises in the stomach.
Always choose spices
Sweet vegetable seasonings suppress the desire to eat sugar by tricking our receptors. Taste buds will love cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, coriander, cocoa, fennel or cardamom. Each of these spices not only makes the dish sweeter, but improves metabolism and regulates glucose levels. The most useful sweetener of modern times is coconut. A spoonful of coconut milk or shavings can turn even hopeless boiled oatmeal into a sweet welcome breakfast.
Love herbal teas
When you add a spoon (or maybe more than one) of sugar to tea bags, you completely forget the natural the taste of the drink. All your receptors get is the taste of sugar. We warn you that it will be extremely difficult to taste the natural tea taste after prolonged sugar fraud. Gradually replace white powder with honey and switch to natural herbal teas. Start with the strongest flavors - ginger, citrus, hibiscus, then move on to subtler combinations - mint, berries. It has been verified that after the transformation, you will no longer be able to drink sweetened teas.
Avoid store-bought sweets and read the ingredients carefully
Studying ingredients is one of the smartest things people do in supermarkets. Do not turn your own body into a garbage dump of sugar, preservatives and chemicals. Much nicer and more comfortable to consist of fruits, vegetables, fresh meat / fish and quality cereals.
As soon as you start to study the composition, you will immediately understand the zero value of the package. The inscriptions “fitness”, “sugar free”, “organic” are lies to attract attention. 97% of your favorite store-bought sweets are dangerous, and it's important to understand this before chronic GI disease, diabetes, and obesity develop.
Choose fruits more often
If you want a burger - eat a banana, if you want white chocolate - choose kiwi. Yes, fruits contain fructose, which also belongs to the group of sugars. But the fruit composition is harmonized with fiber, vitamins and minerals. If, at best, a kilogram of sweets makes a person sick, then one can not expect such a dangerous trick from a kilogram of apples. But you don't have to get excited. Study your body, determine what it likes and what it is better to refuse and structure your own nutrition. From a bar of dark chocolate 1-2 times a week, no one will die or get fat, if the rest of the 6 days the food was clean and balanced.
Drink your daily amount of fluid
The body sends exactly the same signals when thirsty and hungry. We very often confuse these needs and try to eat our thirst. A constant lack of fluid is one of the main causes of obesity. Dehydration negatively affects the entire body as a whole: it slows down metabolism, provokes pain syndromes, worsens skin condition and minimizes activity. Calculate your own fluid intake (based on height, weight, activity level) and try to replenish your water reserves on time.
We are talking about pure filtered water, not teas, coffees, sodas and juices.
Borrow vegan sweets
It was vegans who came up with “raw” cakes and sweets. They make dough with cashews and banana, and cream layers with coconut milk and berries. What's more, there are many flavor options available, so if cashews and bananas aren't your thing, grab a cake based on dates and papaya. And every second establishment in the city has long since joined the vegan “raw” culture and has added delicious carrot cakes, cocoa brownies, blueberry cakes and berry bowls to the menu.
Do not go shopping on an empty stomach
Sometimes the stomach takes over the brain and begins to control a person harshly. A hungry shopping trip cannot end without sweets, mayonnaise sandwiches and other food waste. Be prudent and do not let individual organs rule your life.
Watch some science fiction films about the dangers of sugar
Most people are visual. It is much more effective to see the consequences of sugar consumption once than to listen to a dozen lectures.
Recommended movies: Is Sugar Toxic, Jamie's Sugar Rush.
If you decide to fight sugar addiction, then make consistent and rational decisions. The refusal must be gradual and deliberate, otherwise in one moment everything will return to its original place. Weaning should be painless, only in this case you can count on a stable result. Try not to use chemical sweeteners - they are also harmful. Choose natural alternatives like honey and spices. Be healthy and independent!
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