Simply put, everyone loves sugar and some people might love it a little too much. In fact, it can become quite addictive. Believe it or not, some experts even think that sugar is as addictive as cocaine.
Although this might sound like an exaggeration, there’s a science behind the way sugar interacts with our brains and bodies. When we drink liquid sugar from a soda, for instance, it releases dopamine and opioids which makes us feel good, similar to euphoric drugs.
However, if something makes us feel good does that mean it’s something we should eat? Of course, not. Despite the good feeling that can come from eating sugar and liquid sugar, in particular, it can wreak havoc on our health.
If want to live a healthy lifestyle and stick to a diet that will make you feel good both mentally and physically, then you need to stay away from liquid sugar as much as possible. In fact, it’s best if you can cut liquid sugar out of your diet altogether.
Keep reading to learn about why you should avoid liquid sugar.
1. Popular Drinks Are High in Liquid Sugar
You might be wondering what liquid sugar is as opposed to regular sugar. Unlike the kind of sugar you find in a cake, for example, liquid sugar is found in drinks.
There are obvious drinks that are high in liquid sugar, such as Hawaiian Punch and Coca-Cola, but there are also other drinks that might surprise you.
People often consume fruit drinks as a healthier alternative to sweetened drinks but those kinds of drinks often have a lot of liquid sugar too. Even if the fruit drink doesn’t have added sugar, there could still be a surplus of sugar and calories, sometimes even more than sodas.
If you’re trying to formulate a healthy diet, then you should be mindful of both calories and sugar content. When it comes to drinks, you should pay as much attention to the nutritional label as you would with snacks and other food.
In 12 ounces, the average soda has over 50 calories and nearly 40 grams of liquid sugar. If you’re a fan of sweetened iced tea, you might be disappointed to know that it has almost 145 calories and around 35 grams of liquid sugar.
A lot of people drink orange juice with their breakfast but they would probably stop if they knew it has around 175 calories and over 30 grams of sugar. Even the average sports drink has nearly 120 calories and over 20 grams of sugar, making it a poor choice of beverage for someone who is trying to stay healthy.
2. Liquid Sugar Doesn’t Make You Full
Liquid sugar is much more deceptive than regular sugar. The reason for this is that it’s found in drinks in a concentrated form and you can consume a lot of it without even really noticing. On the other hand, if you eat a bunch of cupcakes, you’ll feel quite stuffed and may even regret it.
When it comes to eating healthy, the portion is as important as the content. The old saying “everything in moderation” can apply to many foods. While it’s important to eat a range of fruit, it’s possible to eat too much pineapple, for instance.
Of course, the same concept applies to sweetened drinks. If you aren’t paying attention, you could drink an extremely unhealthy amount of liquid sugar and calories. Although you should try to avoid liquid sugar altogether, you might not be able to quit right away. Sugar is addictive, after all, so you could try to wean yourself off of it by reducing the amount you drink over time.
On top of that, you could consume drinks that are less unhealthy but still have some sugar content. The goal, though, is to eventually cut out liquid sugar altogether. However, it’s better to do it in stages and succeed than to try to go cold turkey and fail.
All in all, the best way to maintain a healthy diet is by keeping track of what you eat and drink and how much. Luckily, there are many nifty nutritional apps that you can use to help keep you informed of your dietary habits.
3. Liquid Sugar Can Encourage Heart Disease
Did you know that almost 650,000 Americans are killed by heart disease every year? That’s a staggering statistic.
One way to avoid being a victim of heart disease is by taking liquid sugar out of your diet.
The reason for this is that consuming a lot of sweetened drinks can increase the number of fat molecules like triglycerides in your blood. The existence of excess fat molecules in your blood is one way in which your risk of heart disease can increase.
Aside from increasing the triglycerides in your blood, drinking beverages with high liquid sugar can also cause inflammation.
Even though moderation can be an effective way to begin a journey toward a healthy lifestyle, a small amount of liquid sugar is still far from ideal.
If you’re insulin resistant or overweight, then the risks associated with consuming liquid sugar are even greater. Additionally, drinking many sweetened beverages can create a cycle of addiction and obesity.
4. It Can Increase Your Risk of Developing Diabetes
As though an increased risk of heart disease wasn’t enough, drinking a lot of sweetened beverages can also cause some people to develop type 2 diabetes.
Over 30 million Americans have been afflicted with diabetes. On top of that, around 92.5% of those people have type 2 diabetes.
It might be surprising but the truth is that liquid sugar can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes partly because sweetened drinks shock your body with a large amount of liquid sugar in a quick way. It can also increase your resistance to insulin.
An analysis of over 10 studies that dealt with the habits of over 300,000 participants found a surprising result. People who drank only 1 or 2 sweetened drinks per day were over 25% more likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes than people who only drank 0 to 1 sweetened drinks on a monthly basis.
Another health issue that can be caused by insulin resistance and inflammation is fatty liver disease.
Children and young adults can also develop these health issues if they consume too much liquid sugar which is why it’s important to monitor how many cans of fruit punch they drink in a day, for instance.
5. Healthy Alternatives
With the unfortunate news that liquid sugar can destroy your health, you’re probably wondering if the only thing you can drink now is water and a few other options.
Luckily, there are many low-calorie beverages that you can still enjoy from time to time. The key is to rethink your drink.
For starters, if you’re addicted to the fizziness of soda, sparkling water is a much healthier alternative to drinks like Fanta and Pepsi. Whether you’re drinking plain water or sparkling water, you could also enhance the drinking experience with a wedge of lime or lemon.
Aside from water, unsweetened iced tea is another option, including green tea and black tea. Iced herbal teas have many flavors to choose from and also come with their own health benefits, including anti-aging effects, stress reduction, anti-inflammatory effects, lower blood pressure, and more.
Iced coffee or hot coffee with almond or soy milk is another great alternative as long as you don’t drink too many cups in one day.
6. Sports Drinks
When it comes to working out, you might be wondering what you should drink to fuel your body. In that case, water is simply the best option and should always be your first choice. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a post-workout drink.
Sports drinks with liquid sugar can cause weight gain and other health problems if you drink them while lounging on the couch. Of course, sports drinks were intended to be consumed within the context of sports.
Drinking a sports drink during a workout or after a workout, for example, will allow you to replenish your electrolytes and they won’t cancel out the calories you’ve burned.
If you want to avoid as much sugar and as many calories as possible, you can go with specialty sports drinks that are designed to be healthier.
Sports drinks like Nooma and G2 have half the sugar of regular sports drinks but the same amount of electrolytes. On top of that, they only contain about 30 calories.
Are You Ready to Replace Liquid Sugar with Healthy Drinks?
Now that you know all the reasons why you should avoid liquid sugar, you can cut it out of your diet and replace it with healthy sports drinks. Not only will your body thank you for it but you’ll certainly see a change in your overall physique. To compound the results of your enhanced diet, make sure you go to the gym on a consistent basis.
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