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Science Explains How the Body Reacts to Sugar (hint: it’s not great)

April 12th, 2021 | 2 min. read

By Jaime Monsen, Certified Health Coach


While in the south, the word “sugar” may be an affectionate greeting, in the world of science and food, sugar can be both dangerous and deadly.

Right now, the United States is leading an epidemic in the obesity crisis. So needless to say, sugar is causing some major issues with our health. But what is sugar and what does this look like when our body takes it in? Let's dive in. 


There are 50-plus words for sugars, and these are usually referred to as added sugars. So they are found in a lot of our products in the grocery store. However, we also have one other culprit that we have to pay attention to, and that's called simple carbohydrates.

How can simple carbohydrates be dangerous? 

These products are very dangerous for a couple of reasons. One, these digest very quickly, And with that, your body doesn't even know if it's satisfied, so you have a tendency to increase your portions and probably eat more throughout the day as well. So that's going to be problematic for our weight gain.

Also, when we eat foods that digest quickly, our body is converting this food over into what we call glucose. And when it converts quickly you have what's called excess glucose. Our body has to release a hormone in order to transport it and move it to lower your blood sugar to a safer level. 

A couple of things can happen here. One, this glucose is going to be moved into our fat cells. So we continue to gain weight.

However, if you stay in a state of excess glucose, your insulin is constantly being produced but cannot keep up with this excess glucose. And this is what leads people into what's known as type two diabetes. And we know this has a lot of health risks.

How does your brain handle sugar? 

On top of all of that information, we have studies to show your brain highlights its reward system the same as someone who does drugs like cocaine when it's consuming sugar. Meaning it's highly addictive. So not does it only damage our body and our health, but we also become more addicted to it and become more tolerant, meaning we want more and more to meet those earlier gratifications when consuming sugar.

So a lot of dangers here. You really want to start paying attention to where these foods are coming from, learn how to read your food labels, and recognize what added sugars are. This is a great opportunity to work one-on-one with your health coach so that you can really dive in and get more information, as this is a lot of knowledge to wrap your head around. So start paying attention to where your sugars are coming from.

How much sugar is too much sugar? 

In the meantime, as you are starting to learn a little bit more about sugars, how much is a good thing? How much is a bad thing?

First of all, we really want to limit as much as possible. But we do have some guidelines to go by.

The max recommended for a female is 25 grams of added sugar, and that's about six teaspoons. This also applies to your children. For males, it's about 35 grams of added sugar, which is about nine teaspoons. If you're having weight issues or a type two diabetic, this is something you want to really be paying attention to. And if you are just wanting to eat healthily, and live a healthier lifestyle, you want to be monitoring these foods as they are quite dangerous for our bodies.

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Jaime Monsen, Certified Health Coach