Humans have evolved in seeking for food source that provides source of energy for them. This is one of the main reason we seek out for sugar rich food to get instant energy.
In early human days, sugar rich food were very hard to come by. Primarily, the natural source of them were fruits. The ability which we have to perceive, the smell and taste the plants rich in nutrient (with sugar), activates the reward centre in the brain which further generates craving for more sugary food.
In a body, sugars are broken down to a basic form known as glucose. Glucose is a source of energy for the cellular activities, and is required for normal cell function. It is circulated throughout the body via blood in the circulatory system. This ensures that every cell has access to nutrients, oxygen and sugar. When blood glucose is high in the body, the excess sugar gets stored in the form of fat cells.
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During the evolutionary phase of human beings, this storage of energy in the form of fat was crucial. This is because our ancestors used to have longer breaks between their food in-take. Hence, they had to rely on fat cells to provide the energy. However, in modern times though, our craving for sugar and the body’s ability to store them can be problematic given the prevalence of sugar in processed foods.
High levels of glucose in the blood for an extended period of time can damage blood vessels and lead to diabetes.
The sugar and sweet food stuff throughout human evolution is seen as a sign of reward. The human beings in the past, relied on fruits for sugar, the glucose and energy which gives a sense of satisfaction to our brain.
Our ability to digest sugar is limited genetically because sugar was hard to come by before. But, with the emergence of sugar rich food items, the human body has started to ingest huge amount even if it is not required. This creates a surplus of glucose in human body. Though, genetically we are not adapted to digest excessive sugary stuff. The craving and satisfaction it provides forces us to seek for more of it.
The companies which produces sugar based snacks and food items have calculated that the addiction or craving for sugar by human body is more severe to that of say, cocaine. Hence, if a body gets addicted to sugar, it is very hard to abstain itself from it. The intake has risen sharply in the previous two centuries.
Stats Pack for Sugar intakes: –
Back in 1700, the average person consumed approximately 4.9 grams of sugar each day (1.81 kg per year). Moving ahead to 1800, the average person consumed approximately 22.4 grams of sugar each day (10.2 kg per year). In 1900, the average person consumed approximately 112 grams of sugar each day (40.8 kg per year). But, in 2009, 50 per cent of Americans consumed approximately 227 grams of sugar each day – equating to 81.6 kg per year, which is a high rate.
The increase in sugar intake has caused increase in diabetes and other related diseases. Hence, the intake of sugar must be minimized to exactly the amount needed for the body because as we mentioned earlier in this article, our body is not designed to digest sugary food in huge amount.
Therefore, it is always better to take natural sugar rather than ingesting extra in form of other food substances.
Article by Mushir,
Twitter – @mush112