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Sugar: The Sweet But Silent Killer

Indians have a weak spot when it comes to sweets and the country has people from across the world indulging their sweet tooth here. All occasions, festivals, and celebrations are deemed incomplete without something sweet. In doing so, we put ourselves at major risk unknowingly. Glucose consists of a major part of the fuel that allows our body to function. A meal rich in carbohydrates is sufficient to match the glucose required for the whole day. Given its importance, our body also has inbuilt mechanisms to produce enough glucose to cover for no external intake.

So, you may ask how can sugar be bad for our health. The seemingly contrast in its contribution to our body pertains to its components. Each molecule of sugar is made up of glucose and fructose. Glucose is used by the body for energy, while fructose settles in the liver. It can either take the form of glucose or get converted into fat. In situations where the liver gets both glucose and fructose, i.e. sugar, almost all of the fructose gets accumulated as fat. With increasing consumption, this can result in serious liver diseases like liver cirrhosis and liver cancer. This is very similar to how alcohol damages the liver due to fat deposition.       

The damage is not just limited to the intake of pure sugar but also takes place through other items consumed by us. Aerated drinks (soft drinks) are just water and sugar. The juices we consider healthy options are also mostly fructose. And often, they have added sugar which makes them worse. This is why it is always advised to consume whole fruits rather than juices as the pulp that contains the fibers gets wasted and all you drink is fructose. Though a better option compared to soft drinks, juices should be taken in limited quantities only. 

The human body can sustain small quantities of sugar, which in fact shouldn’t be avoided. Our metabolism works on utilizing most of it but when there is excessive sugar it can lead to liver and cardiac diseases, diabetes, and hypertension. Hence, it is always stressed how necessary it is to control your sugar levels, especially as you age.