T here is no getting past the fact that we are getting fatter. The rise in obesity is usually blamed on too much eating and not enough exercising, but if we look a little beyond this, we will see that the root problem is sugar.

Well, the problem is really an increase in sugar consumption. Sugar drives fat storage in the body and also makes the brain think it is hungry, setting up a “vicious cycle.”

Fructose and Sucrose

Fructose and sucrose are carbohydrates that are commonly referred to as simple sugars. Fructose and sucrose are routinely used by the food industry as additives to sweeten foods.

Excessive intake of sugar-sweetened foods can increase your blood triglyceride level, increase fat accumulation in your tissues and raise your risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. What do we eat today that isn’t sweetened somehow?

If you like sugar-sweetened foods, don’t overeat, and make sure that you are eating these foods together with healthier alternatives that contain fiber, like whole-grain foods, vegetables and fruits.

World Health Organisation Recommendation

In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently said the recommended amount of sugar consumed daily should be halved when it stepped up its battle against public health problems like obesity and tooth decay.
The UN health agency said it was maintaining its 2002 guidelines that sugars should make up less than 10% of total daily energy intake but stressed that half would be preferable.

Cutting sugar consumption to just 5% of total energy intake would mean an adult with a normal Body Mass Index (BMI) should consume no more than about six teaspoons per day.

That includes all sugar added to food and beverages as well as natural sugar in things like honey, syrups and fruit juice, WHO said.

At least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese, not counting the large percentage of diabetes, heart disease and cancer cases attributable to being overweight, according to WHO numbers, which also show that more than 40 million children under the age of five are overweight.

Is Sugar Worse than Cocaine?

Is sugar worse for you than, say, cocaine? Back in 2007, a revealing study titled, “Intense sweetness surpasses cocaine reward,” found that when rats were given the option of choosing between water sweetened with saccharin and intravenous cocaine, the large majority of animals (94%) preferred the sweet taste of saccharin.

Studies also show that too much sugar (both in the form of natural sucrose and high-fructose corn syrup) not only helps make us fat, it also wreaks havoc on our liver, messes up our metabolism, impairs brain function, and may leave us susceptible to heart disease, diabetes, and maybe even cancer.

Five More Reasons Why Sugar is Bad for You
• Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, inability to concentrate and crankiness in children
• Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose
• Sugar can lead to an acidic digestive tract
• Sugar can cause tooth decay
• Sugar can worsen the symptoms of children with attention deficit disorder (ADD)

The Sugar Solution

So how can we be healthier? Do we have to cut all traces of sugar from our diets? The WHO says halve our sugar consumption. Can you do that?

The obvious solution is to eat more fiber and less sugar, but exercise is important, too. It’s not only the best stress buster there is—it’s also something every single person can do to improve metabolic health, even if weight loss doesn’t come along with it right away. We don’t all have to go to a gym, but we can walk or climb the stairs in staid of taking a lift.

Remember, for every molecule of sugar you absorb, you can either burn it, which doesn’t require your body to make more insulin, or you can store it, in which case you need insulin.

Burning it is the best option, and that’s exactly what exercise does.

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