Simple sugars are called monosaccharides and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose , and galactose .
The "table sugar" or "granulated sugar" most customarily used as food is sucrose, a disaccharide of glucose and fructose. Sugar is used in prepared foods.
The World Health Organization recommends that both adults and children reduce the intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake.
A reduction to below 5% of total energy intake brings additional health benefits, especially in what regards dental caries (cavities in the teeth).
These recommendations were based on the totality of available evidence reviewed regarding the relationship between free sugars intake and body weight and dental caries.
Free sugars include monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods and beverages by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
So how do you know if you're eating too much sugar? Here are red flags your body is sending you that it's time to cut the sugar:
1. You feel sluggish throughout the day:
What goes up must come down. After sugar causes an initial spike of insulin and that "high" feeling, it causes an inevitable crash.
Energy is most stable when blood sugar is stable, so when you’re consuming too much sugar, the highs and lows of your blood sugar lead to highs and lows of energy.
Eating a lot of sugar also means it's likely you're not eating enough protein and fiber, both important nutrients for sustained energy .
2. You're way moodier than usual.
The blood sugar crash that happens when you're coming off a sugar high can cause mood swings and leave you feeling crabby.
Not to mention, if your energy is also tanking, that just contributes to a bad attitude.
3. You've been putting on some weight.
Excess sugar is excess calories, and since it has no protein or fiber , it doesn't fill you up (so you just keep eating it).
It also triggers the release of insulin, a hormone that plays a big role in weight gain.
When we eat sugar, the pancreas releases insulin, which carries sugar to our organs so it can be used for energy.
When you load up on sugar, your body is told to produce more insulin—over time, that excessive output can lead to insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance means our bodies can't respond to normal amounts of insulin properly and therefore can't use sugar the right way.
The initial weight gain from simply eating too many calories from sugar is being compounded by the disruption to your normal insulin response (there’s a link between insulin resistance and obesity).
What’s more, when the pancreas works in overdrive for too long you can develop diabetes.
4. You've been getting more cavities.
When bacteria chow down on food particles in between the teeth, acid is produced, which causes tooth decay.
Our saliva maintains a healthy balance of bacteria on its own, but eating sugar can impact the pH and throw off the natural ecosystem.
This gives the bacteria a chance to thrive and multiply, leading to cavities.
5. Your brain tends to get foggy, especially after a meal.
This fog is a common symptom of low blood sugar . When you eat a lot of sugar, your blood sugar levels rapidly rise and fall instead of gradually doing so.
Poor blood sugar control is a major risk for cognitive issues and impairment.
6. You constantly crave sugary things:
The more sugar you eat, the more you'll crave it. More cravings then equal consuming more sugar—it becomes a vicious and addictive cycle.
This isn't just because your taste buds have adapted and left you needing more and more to get that same taste, but also because of how sugar gives you a high followed by a crash, just like an actual drug.
By eating a high sugar diet, you cause a hormonal response in your body that’s like a wave, it brings you up and then you crash down and it triggers your body to want more sugar.