Everybody love sweets! But did you know that too much sugar can cause your body to age faster?
According to the 2005-2010 NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey), American consume too many calories from sugar. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), free sugars are defined as “all monosaccharides and disaccharides added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices.” In 2015, WHO changed the recommendation for daily free sugar intake from 10% to 5%.
“We have solid evidence that keeping intake of free sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake reduces the risk of overweight, obesity and tooth decay,” says Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development. (Source from WHO March 4th, 2015 Press Release)
In addition to tooth decay and obesity, too much sugar can also lead to higher levels of triglyceride in the blood, which increases the risk for cardiovascular disease.
But there’s more…
Consuming too much sugar can cause advanced glycation end products (AGEs) to occur in our body. AGEs can come from several sources; too much sugar consumption is one of the main causes.
AGEs can speed up the aging process. They cause wrinkles, sagging skin, and many chronic diseases. When the AGEs attach to the skin, they break down collagen which in turn causes wrinkles and sagging skin. When AGEs occur in the blood vessels, they can cause atherosclerosis. When occuring in the eye, they can lead to glaucoma. The list goes on and on…
So, no matter if it’s from sugary drinks such as bubble tea, carbonated beverages (like Coke, Mountain Dew, Sprite or even sweet iced coffee or tea), ice cream, cookies, cakes, or candies, humans love sweets and sugary drinks.
By cutting down sugar consumption, you can reduce excess empty calorie intake (meaning calories with few or no nutrients), reducing the risks of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Reducing sugar intake can also reduce the amount of AGEs and slow down aging.
Some people might found it hard to completely avoid sweets, but even reducing some amount of the free sugars in our diet can help reduce our risk for chronic illness and help us keep our youthful appearance a little bit longer.
Strawberries/Cherries Covered with Dark Chocolate
Chocolate and fruit can satisfy some of our sweet teeth, and at the same time, fruits have loads of good nutrients: antioxidants, fibers, and natural sweetness. It is a better choice than eating candies.
The following dessert is a healthier choice compares to regular sweets, but one still should consume it in moderation. Although fruits are a healthier option, too many fruits can still lead to too many calories and other complications too!
- strawberries or cherries
- ½ bag of semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips or about 6 ounces
- Wash the cherries or strawberries thoroughly and let dry completely
- Microwave the semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips for 1 minute or until melted, stirring constantly to avoid burning
- Using a large pot filled halfway with water, place a smaller pot or container filled with chocolate chips in the center and heat, stirring constantly to avoid burning. Remove from heat once chocolate is melted.
- Dip the strawberries or cherries into the melted chocolate. Dip in half way and be sure all sides of strawberries or cherries are covered with chocolate.
- Drop off the excess chocolate and place the strawberries/cherries on wax paper.
- Let the strawberries/cherries cool for 15 minutes. Then put it in the refrigerator. Depending on one’s taste, they can be eaten after a few hours or immediately.
Next month, we will discuss more nutrition tips. Please stay tuned!