The biggest dangers of the “sweet drug”

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From: Isabel Wetzel

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Sugar gives us energy and makes us happy, but in large amounts, this sweet sin can also be dangerous. This is how the sugar detox diet succeeds.

Frankfurt – Word has spread that too much sugar is unhealthy. However, people in Germany consume on average four times more sugar than nutritionists recommend, and this can have serious long-term health consequences. It’s not so easy to completely avoid sugar in your daily diet.

On the one hand, because there is sugar hidden in many products in which we do not expect it, and on the other hand, because we are very used to the “sweet drug”. Here you get an overview of the dangers of excessive sugar consumption and how the sugar detox works.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults consume no more than 25 grams of sugar per day. A value that is quickly exceeded if you do not pay close attention to what you eat and drink. Beverages like soft drinks and fruit juices in particular contain a lot of sugar. A glass of cola with 250 milliliters, for example, already contains 27 grams of sugar. The situation is similar with lemonade and the maximum value is already reached with five pieces of chocolate. However, most people are aware that these products contain a lot of sugar. Much more dangerous, therefore, is hidden industrial sugar, which is used to make finished products, such as canned ravioli, frozen pizza, or prepared vegetables, more durable.

In addition to its pure form, we also consume sugar in many foods where we don’t expect it. © Jens Kalaene/dpa

Sugar Detox: The Biggest Dangers of Too Much Sugar

Basically, sugar is one of the normal components of the diet. In the form of glucose, it is an important provider of energy, enhances the flavor of food and stimulates the reward system in the brain, explains the Federal Ministry of Health on its website. But: The sweet substance is also high in calories and increases the risk of numerous serious diseases.

Due to the strong fluctuation of the blood sugar level, the increased consumption of sugar can also be responsible for making us feel tired and exhausted, unfocused and moody. Therefore, it may be worthwhile to largely avoid sugar in your diet. Here are the key health effects of excess sugar:

  • Sugar increases the risk of overweight and obesity
  • It can lead to metabolic diseases like diabetes.
  • It increases the risk of several types of cancer and cardiovascular problems.
  • Damages healthy teeth (a cause of cavities)
  • Source: Federal Ministry of Health

Sugar Free Diet: Overcoming Sugar Addiction

Many people therefore want to reduce their consumption or even do without isolated sugar altogether. At first, many take advantage of the Lenten period before Easter to give up sugar for a certain period of time. However, for a real and positive effect on health, it is important to change your diet in the long term and reduce sugar consumption as much as possible. But since most people are now addicted to sugar, it’s not that easy.

The biggest problem: Receptors in the brain that react to sugar and trigger a brief feeling of happiness are downregulated as obesity increases. Before that warns Dr. Mark Hyman of the Cleveland Clinic in the USA in a clinic health podcast. So you need more and more sugar to stimulate the pleasure center and get caught in a vicious cycle. If you suddenly leave sugar out, the body goes through a little withdrawal.

Sugar Detox Diet: What’s the Point of Giving Up Sugar?

Participants in an experiment on the WDR Markt program also reported negative effects of sugar withdrawal. They completely gave up sugar for four weeks, and withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, tiredness, difficulty concentrating and mood swings predominated in the first few days. However, once this phase is overcome, the positive effects of sugar detoxification begin. Participants felt more comfortable, had more energy, and had fewer food cravings. Dr Hyman also confirmed that dietary changes have a huge impact on our performance, mood and behavior.

A study from the University of California, San Francisco also showed that avoiding fructose in particular improves the health of overweight people. And because? Because free fructose that is not bound to glucose immediately attacks the organs. It is the most common cause of fatty liver and draws energy from the gut, increasing the risk of leaks, which can lead to more inflammation and complications. Within the nine-day fructose-free study period, study participants already showed better insulin metabolism and less abdominal and liver fat. And weight loss is also a result of long-term sugar avoidance.

Sugar Detox Diet: Lose Weight Easier Without Sugar

There are numerous diets and miracle cures on the market, but studies show that cutting out sugar is the best way to lose weight. In one study, researchers at the Stanford School of Medicine compared completely different forms of nutrition. The one thing in common: Both groups should avoid white bread and sugar and eat as many vegetables as possible instead. After one year, both the low-carb (low-carb) and low-fat (low-fat) diet groups had lost an average of almost 6 kilograms.

The scientists concluded that the lowest possible sugar content and sufficient vegetables are important for successful weight loss, but not the ratio of fat to carbohydrates in the diet.

Sugar-free diet: With these tricks it works

So the positive effects are clear. But how is it possible to reduce harmful sugar in the diet in the long term?

  1. Ban household isolated sugar
  2. Recognize and avoid hidden sugar
  3. Conscious shopping and fresh cooking
  4. Eat a diet rich in protein and complex carbohydrates.
  5. Drink water and tea instead of sodas and juices.
  6. Healthy snacks instead of sweets
  7. At least 30 minutes a day outdoors.
  8. enough sleep

An important first step is cleaning out your own stash. Table sugar and candy should be banned from the home so you don’t get tempted in the first place. The next time you go shopping, be careful: make a shopping list, pay attention to nutrients, and stock up on low-sugar foods and snacks.

Hidden sugar: You should pay attention to these designations in the table of nutritional values

In order not to fall for hidden sugar, you should pay close attention to the information in the table of nutritional values ​​of the products when you buy. These tables provide reliable information on the sugar content of foods. Since 2016, the table of nutritional values ​​is anchored by law in Germany and is therefore mandatory for manufacturers. But beware: it doesn’t always say “sugar” where there is sugar. Because sugar has many names. These are the possible designations:

glucose or galactose glucose
fructose fructose
lactose milk sugar
raffinose Vegetable sugar (composed of glucose, fructose and galactose)
maltodextrin, dextrin, wheat dextrin Obtained from wheat, potato or corn starch
maltose Crystalline white double sugar
sweet whey powder Occurs during cheese production, contains up to 75 percent lactose
barley malt extract) Sprouted grain, dried and processed into flour (sugar content up to 20 percent)
saccharose Table sugar (composed of glucose and fructose)
isoglucose Made from corn starch, can contain up to 90 percent fructose
glucose and fructose syrup Fructose content up to 50 percent
glucose and fructose syrup Fructose content between 50 and 90 percent
Syrup types (for example, caramel syrup or malt extract) thick sugar concentrate

In total, there are more than a hundred names for sugar. dr The Cleveland Clinic’s Hyman explains that it’s often healthy-sounding things, like coconut sugar or barley malt, that actually act like sugar in the body.

Nutritional value tables have been mandatory in food in Germany since 2016: this ketchup contains 22.8 grams of sugar per 100 milliliters.
Nutritional value tables have been mandatory in food in Germany since 2016: this ketchup contains 22.8 grams of sugar per 100 milliliters. © STPP/Imago

Sugar-free diets: these are good alternatives

Complex carbohydrates fill you up for longer than simple sugars. They are found, for example, in wholemeal pasta, legumes or potatoes. These carbohydrates must first be broken down by the body, they do not raise blood sugar as quickly, and they give the body constant energy over a longer period of time.

Instead of popcorn and whole milk chocolate, you should have nuts, berries or vegetable sticks between meals or at night in front of the TV, and dark chocolate can also be a good alternative. Over time, your taste buds will also respond to the change in diet, suddenly tasting much sweeter than plain foods. In addition to the diet itself, simple new habits can also help with the sugar detox diet. Get fresh air every day to regulate your blood sugar levels and make sure you get enough sleep. (I we)

The information provided in this article is not a substitute for a visit to a doctor. Only experts can make the correct diagnosis and initiate the appropriate therapy. The intake of medications or dietary supplements should be discussed with a doctor beforehand.

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