The darkness of the night closes in day by day, as the aroma of pumpkins and all things spiced fill the air. Leaves crunch below as you walk home in the eerie light of the moon, with the faintness of streetlights peering through the deepness of the fog, hitting your chilled, pale skin. It’s nearing the end of October and that can mean only one thing… Sugar Awareness Week is upon us. Oh, and Halloween!
The aim of Sugar Awareness Week is to inform and educate people around the globe of dangers and harm done by added sugar. Though most people understand the general concept that sugar is bad, many don’t know the differences between fructose and glucose, and just how scary things can get. So, it almost being Halloween, it’s a perfect time to scare you with some terrifying facts about excess sugar consumption!
6 Spooky Sugar Facts
This one may sound a little obvious, but the science that makes it a reality is what makes it so spooky… See, (like noodles) not all calories are created equal, and different foods have different effects on our brains and hormones that control food intake and how the body stores fat. There’s plenty of studies out there that show fructose (added sugar) doesn’t have same effect on feeling satisfied as glucose (natural sugar, created by the body and found natural foods).
The low levels of satiety found in fructose lead to hormones being emitted, encouraging you to eat more, translating into an increased calorie intake. Studies also show that excess fructose is far more prone to be converted into fat than glucose – Scary, right?
Have you ever started a packet of sweets with the honest intention of ‘only eating a couple’, to then find five minutes later the packet is gone? Well, as you can probably imagine, you’re not alone, but there is a reason as to why it’s just so tempting to keep eating. Just like alcohol or abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the brain’s reward centre, meaning for those with even the smallest addictive personality it becomes very hard to stop.
As more sugar is consumed, the body’s threshold for releasing dopamine increases, meaning over time the amount of sugar needed to achieve the same level of satisfaction is increased. As with most things in life, it’s “everything in moderation”, but for those with highly addictive personalities may opt to completely abstain from sugar… Very spooky!
As scary as ghouls, witches and monsters of all shapes and sizes are, it’s heart disease that is perhaps the scariest of all. Put lightly, it’s the number one cause of death across the globe, and has often been blamed on saturated fat.
New evidence, however, shows that is not fat that is the leading cause of heart disease, but instead sugar that is the leading driver of the disease. It’s the harmful effects of fructose on metabolism (as previously explained) that raise insulin levels and increase abdominal obesity in as little as 10 weeks of high consumption.
Though the studies are not yet fully complete, there is significant thinking that excess consumption of fructose is responsible for the increase in globally suppressed immune response. Much more research is needed to fully understand how exactly this occurs, though we do know that bacteria and yeast feed on sugar and that when these organisms get out of balance within the body, infections and illness are far more likely.
One Australian studies showed a direct correlation with children gaining Asthma-like symptoms after high consumption of sugar, which would account for the severe increase of auto-immune disease over the past 20 years.
All you vampires and werewolves out there will hate this one, but as much as you’ve heard it a million times before, it’s worth repeating: sugar really is awful for your teeth. High fructose foods provide easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth, which in turn are fully fuelled up to then attack your teeth. Just to think, all of those creepy crawlies wandering around your mouth causing tooth decay… If that’s not truly horrific, we don’t know what is….
After hitting your bloodstream, some of the sugar you consume ends up attaching itself to proteins in a spooky process named glycation. These new creepy molecular structures are responsible for the loss of elasticity in ageing body tissues. From your skin to your organs, the more sugar circulating in your blood, the faster the damage is done, and the more wrinkles you’ll find developing around your body.
Is it really all tricks and no treat?
Not at all, you don’t have to give up all things sweet, it’s just being better informed as to the right things to eat, and how many of them. There are plenty of food items, including sweets, lining the shelves across the world that are more than fine to eat in reasonable quantity. Whereas fructose should be avoided, glucose is needed for the body to correctly operate and can be found in all sorts of foods. For those who are loco for coconuts, coconut-based snacks and sweets are packed full of natural sweetness, with the energy released being perfectly healthy (in a balanced diet) for the body.
However, it’s not just obviously sweet food items that are packed full of sugar. Most convenience foods, including noodles, are packed full of the stuff, and it’s important to make sure to search for the sugar values on the ingredients label. Though perhaps obvious, another crucial tip for reducing the sugar intake in your diet is by simply never adding it at home. If you need a teaspoon of sugar in your tea and coffee, you don’t have to worry! You can still enjoy the contrast between the bitterness and sweetness, just swap out the sugar for honey, and enjoy a newly transformed hot beverage.
We’ve taken exactly this approach with our noodles. Mr Lee’s are the only instant noodle certified low in sugar by Sugarwise, with each cup containing less than 0.7g per 100g, compared to the next lowest competitors’ averaging around 1.3g. We use both coconut and orange blossom honey, as well as a wide variety of other ingredients, to guarantee our 100% tasty, 0% nasty noodles. All are available for purchase right here on our website.