How Sugar and Processed Foods Are Affecting Your Health
In addition to causing obesity and diabetes, eating too much sugar and processed foods can also lead to serious health problems. Read on to learn how they’re affecting your body and what you can do about it.
Ultra-processed foods, such as those that don’t resemble whole food and pack extract fats and synthetic ingredients, have been linked to higher risks of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases. Minimally processed foods, on the other hand, are associated with a lower risk. Nutrition Advisor suggests minimizing intake of processed foods and start taking supplements to improve your health.
Obesity is more than just extra weight or a high body mass index (BMI) — it’s a condition that can cause serious health problems. It’s a chronic disease that can increase your risk for many conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, certain cancers, and osteoarthritis.
A person’s obesity can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, lifestyle choices, and some medical conditions or medications. Some people may be able to counteract their obesity by changing their eating habits and exercising more.
Most people are at least a little overweight, but they can lose excess weight and keep it off by making healthy choices about their diet and exercise. These changes will help prevent or slow the development of more serious health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease.
But a large part of the problem is what’s being eaten. Processed foods, sugary drinks and other unhealthy foods contribute to obesity worldwide. The typical Western diet consists of frequent, large meals with lots of refined grains, red meat and processed fats. It’s also low in fruits, vegetables and other nutritious food.
These unhealthy foods are often high in calories, fat and sugar. Eating too many of these types of foods can lead to obesity and can increase your risk for serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Some other risk factors for obesity include lack of physical activity, poor sleeping habits, and being a part of a sedentary family. Having a difficult time managing stress can also contribute to weight gain.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has become an epidemic in the United States. Nearly 3 in 4 adults and almost one in five children and teens ages 2 to 19 are obese.
The condition is linked to a number of diseases and health problems, including heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, gallstones and some cancers. In addition, obesity is associated with a lower quality of life.
Obesity is a leading cause of preventable health problems and death. It is second only to tobacco in terms of the number of deaths each year in the U.S. It can be treated with medication, behavioral interventions, or surgery. It is important that you talk with your health care provider about the full range of evidence-based obesity treatment options.
Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) disease that affects how your body turns food into energy. It happens when your body can’t make or use the hormone insulin properly, which acts as a key to let sugar (glucose) from the food you eat into your cells for use as energy.
Insulin is made by special cells in your pancreas called islets. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin.
It’s important to control your glucose levels, as too high a level can lead to health problems, including damage to large and small blood vessels, heart disease, and kidney disease. Your doctor can help you manage your diabetes, which can reduce the risk of complications.
Your diet is one of the most important ways to manage your diabetes and lower your risk. Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Eating less sugar and processed foods is also important.
Regular exercise, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are also important. In addition, your doctor may recommend screenings and other tests to detect diabetes early on.
The condition can be controlled by taking medications, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough physical activity. Talk to your doctor about what medications are right for you.
Over time, diabetes can damage blood vessels in your eyes, kidneys and nerves. It can also affect the way your body uses and processes food, which can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.
When your blood flow to the brain is affected, you’re more likely to lose memory and concentration. This can make it harder to learn new things or complete daily tasks.
Your feet and hands are also at risk of developing problems because of poor circulation. Infections or ulcers can form in the feet, and you might experience pain when walking. The narrowed blood vessels can also cause nerve damage, which makes it harder to feel heat or cold and may prevent you from noticing a wound.
You can also develop a condition called peripheral neuropathy, which causes decreased sensation in the hands and feet. This can also increase your risk of amputation.
3. Heart Disease
Heart disease affects people of all ages, and can lead to complications such as high blood pressure, heart attacks and strokes. Some of these problems can be prevented by eating a healthy diet, exercising and keeping your weight under control.
Your risk of developing heart disease may be higher if you’re overweight, have diabetes or have a family history of heart disease. Some people develop heart disease when the walls, valves or blood vessels in their hearts don’t work properly. These are called congenital heart defects and can be life-threatening if they’re not treated.
One of the main things that can cause heart disease is the buildup of plaque in your arteries, which reduces blood flow to your heart. This can lead to heart attack, chest pain (angina) and stroke.
This happens because cholesterol builds up inside the lining of the arteries, creating fatty deposits that narrow and stiffen the blood vessel wall. This reduces the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle and other parts of your body, causing damage.
You can improve your heart health by cutting down on your intake of sugar, which is found naturally in many foods and in added sugars in processed foods. Avoiding added sugars is important for your health, because consuming too much of them can increase your risk of developing obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
The average American gets about 10 percent of their calories from added sugar, which is found in processed foods and drinks, such as sodas, sweetened tea and juices, ice cream, yogurts and candy. Consuming a diet with 25 percent or more of your total calories from added sugars increases your risk for obesity, dental problems and insulin resistance, a condition that raises your risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
You can lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes by avoiding added sugars and cutting back on other unhealthy foods, such as fast food and junk food. These are often loaded with fat, salt and preservatives that can also be bad for your health. Choosing healthier options such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help you cut down on the amount of added sugar in your diet.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed by a range of emotions. It can make you feel like your life has changed forever. Your hopes and dreams for your future may change too, which can cause feelings of sadness or anger. You might wonder what will happen if the disease spreads to your other organs, or if you’ll ever be able to do things you used to love to do with friends and family members.
You might also worry about dying or what will happen if you don’t get treatment. This can make you feel anxious and sad, and it’s important to talk to your doctor or a counselor about these fears.
Sugar and processed foods can also cause chronic inflammation in the body. This type of inflammation is linked to a number of health conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Reducing your intake of added sugars and consuming more fruit, vegetables and whole grains can help reduce inflammation and lower your risk for developing these diseases.
When you eat too much sugar, it can trigger an unhealthy response in your body that can lead to problems such as obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure. This is why the American Heart Association recommends limiting your daily intake to less than six teaspoons of sugar for women and nine teaspoons for men.
While it may be tempting to consume more sugar because it tastes good, you can keep it in check by sticking to healthy whole foods. Try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and low-fat dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, which provide vitamins and minerals that can strengthen your immune system.
You can also cut down on the amount of added sugar you consume by reading food labels and making better choices at the grocery store. For example, avoid processed foods that have labeled added sugars, such as cookies, ice cream, cake, candy and pastries.
Choosing more “non-sugary” sweeteners, such as honey, maple syrup and agave nectar can also reduce your intake of added sugars. These sweeteners can also be a helpful source of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that can help support your health.