Sean Van Staden
4 minute read
29 May 2019
12:00 pm

Why is sugar bad for you?

Sean Van Staden

Do we know how much sugar our children are eating on a daily basis? And just how bad is this for them?

If your child came up to you and said: “Mommy, Mommy, can I please have some cocaine for breakfast?” what do you think your reaction would be?

The real question you should be asking yourself, why is it really bad?

The obvious answer is that it is a drug. But in a more medical sense, and according to research, in the short term cocaine use tends to decrease fatigue, increase alertness, inflate self-esteem, and places you in a state of euphoria. The more worrying side effects are that cocaine is highly addictive, it can cause psychological and mood disorders, it damages cognitive functioning, causes respiratory complications, and can cause heart attacks and damage essential organs.

Parents fear the negative side effects of cocaine and will do anything to protect their loved one from this dangerous substance. Sugar, which has no actual nutritional value other than it being a simple carbohydrate, is also a highly addictive substance and researchers believe it acts in many similar ways to that of cocaine by stimulating the brain receptors for a short-term high before the crash.

Why do parents allow kids to eat so much sugar then? Could it be that they are not aware of what foods have sugar in them? Could they not understand how much sugar their child is allowed in a day?

Maximum allowed RDA
4 – 6 years 19g (5 teaspoons)
7-10 years 24g (6 teaspoons)
11 years+ 30g (7 teaspoons)

Here is what happens
You eat chocolate and sugar is released into your bloodstream. Your pancreas detects a flurry of sugar and releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin sends the troops in to regulate the sugar by storing it as glucose in the liver and muscles and any excess sugar is stored in the fat cells. The more sugar you eat, the more insulin is released. When the body battles to regulate the sugar by releasing too much insulin too fast, you tend to get a drop in blood sugar levels and then you get the crash called hypoglycaemia. That point of no return where you can barely keep your eyes open any more. You feel like you just need to have a power nap.

5 Reasons why Sugar is Bad for you.

1. Inflammation

Increased intake of refined sugar places the body in a constant state of low-grade inflammation. Released insulin causes the body to be out of homeostasis. The body works twice as hard to bring itself back into optimal functioning. Long term chronic inflammation is linked to arthritis, joint pain, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

2. Increased risk of diabetes

When you ingest too much sugar for a long period of time, your body actually becomes insulin resistant, which means it becomes even harder for your body t0 process the sugars, thus increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Most foods you eat will contain hidden sugars and that is why you need to be vigilant with what you eat and the quantity of food you eat.

3. Wasted Calories

There is no nutritional value found in refined sugars. It contains no minerals, fibre or vitamins unlike if you eat an orange, for example. Sure, you are still consuming fructose, but you are also adding all the other goodness to your natural sugar intake. Nutrition should be about serving a purpose of giving you the right nutrients to function and perform at your peak. Wasted calories are simply a waste of time and energy!

4. It’s making you fat

The calories from sugar or food that you eat cannot simply be burnt off with exercise. Over time, your body refuses to take storage fat and convert it into energy for the body. Instead, your body tells you that you are still hungry, and more food is ingested, and more is stored as fat. This is one reason why obesity is on the rise.

5. Increased risk of heart disease

Too much sugar can increase your blood pressure, which is a pathological pathway to heart disease. Also, excess sugar and the various types of sugars you ingest – like high fructose corn syrup (which is found in juices, soda and fast foods) – tend to be stored as fat around your organs. Even though your friend might have good skinny “sixpack” genes, there could be a likelihood of high fatty deposits around his organs.

Nutritional Pro Tip:

Anything that ends in “OSE” is more than likely a sugar

Agave nectar
Brown sugar
Cane crystals
Cane sugar
Corn sweetener
Corn syrup
Crystalline fructose
Evaporated cane juice
Organic evaporated cane juice
Fruit juice concentrates
High-fructose corn syrup
Invert sugar
Malt syrup
Raw sugar

Sean Van Staden

Sean Van Staden is the proud husband of an amazing woman and mom and the ‘Daddy Pig’ – (thank you Pepper Pig for brainwashing my children, in a good way) – of two little Gremlins, Jordan and Haylee, who are fast approaching three and four years of age.  In his quest to give his children the tools to succeed, Sean’s blog tackles topics of nutrition, physical development, exercise, mental toughness, building confidence, self-esteem, sport, wellness and just about anything that will help his children, and hopefully yours, grow in the right direction.

You can find Sean at ASP – Sports Science


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