How did constipation ruin your life

The effect of sugar on the intestines

The effect of sugar on the intestines

Most people know that sugar has negative effects on teeth and waist circumference. However, it is rather unknown that increased consumption can be the cause of serious illnesses and digestive problems. Find out here how sugar affects the intestines!

There is sugar in it

In Western cultures, refined sugar has become a habit in the diet. Sweetened coffee, sweets as a snack and cola instead of water - this is what everyday life looks like for many people. Then there are the hidden sugar bombs in dairy products, canned goods and sauces. Salty finished products also increasingly contain industrial sugar. But sugar is often not written out as such in the list of ingredients for food. Common names are:

Type of sugarSugar nameConsists...Occurrence
Simple sugar
(Monosaccharides)
Dextrose / dextrose / glucose / glucose syrupDextrose is the most popular sugar and is known in science as glucose.In almost all foods
Mucus sugar / galactose
The difference to glucose is that galactose does not need insulin to be processed in the cell. The blood sugar stays low.
Milk and foods to which lactose has been added
Fruit sugar / fructose
Fructose is a component of fruit and provides natural sweetness. People with fructose intolerance cannot tolerate the sugar.
Fruits, honey, processed foods
Double sugar
(Disaccharides)
Table sugar / sucrose / beet sugar / cane sugar
White table sugar consists of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose. The sugar is obtained from the sugar beet.
Sweets, finished products, sweet drinks
Milk sugar / lactoseLactose consists of one molecule of glucose and one molecule of galactose.Milk and processed foods
Malt sugar / maltoseMalt sugar consists of two glucose molecules.Beer, potatoes, pasta
PolysaccharidesStrengthConsists of ten glucose molecules and more. Only tastes sweet after splitting.Potatoes, cereals, rice, corn, whole grains
Studies have shown that the average person consumes the equivalent of up to 29 sugar cubes, i.e. around 87 grams, per day. This is almost four times what the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends as a daily ration, namely 25 grams. These enormous amounts show up fast in a calorie surpluswhich creates obesity and related diseases.

How problematic is too much sugar?

Insulin resistance from too much sugar
By eating foods rich in carbohydrates, and even eating proteins, insulin is produced in the pancreas and released into the blood. The insulin ensures that the sugar gets into the cells and is used there in the form of energy. Simple sugars get into the blood and cells faster than multiple sugars. If too much simple sugar is now regularly consumed, e.g. in the form of white bread, chocolate or gummy bears, the insulin level remains constantly high, which can lead to insulin resistance. This is the precursor to diabetes.

Sugar does not contain any nutrients
Refined sugar has no vitamins, minerals, or fiber, so the body has to draw substances from its own stores. This can lead to a chronic mineral deficiency, which can lead to obesity and a multitude of diseases.

Stomach and intestinal discomfort from too much sugar
Too much sugar can disturb the delicate balance between bacteria and fungi in the intestine and lead to changes in digestion. Abdominal pain, diarrhea and flatulence are the first symptoms when the "bad" bacteria and fungi in the intestine take over. White flour, as well as single and double sugar should be reduced and instead put on whole grains, vegetables and fruits. Foods rich in sugar often have a high percentage of fat, which can exacerbate the symptoms. But it can also happen that too little fiber and fluids slow down bowel movements and cause constipation. Therefore, drink enough water, exercise and use natural laxatives such as prunes or flaxseed.

Sugar makes bad skin
The fact that sweets, for example, quickly raise blood sugar levels stimulate the skin's oil production and cause small inflammations, which can lead to blemishes and acne. In addition, excessive sugar consumption leads to a saccharification of tissue fibers, the so-called glycation, which leads to increased wrinkling.

Is sugar addicting?

That pure sugar is addicting like cocaine is not proven. In studies of sugar utilization, the brain showed a similar behavior as when consuming cocaine, but there is no food that is as addicting as a drug. To put it bluntly, there is hardly anyone who eats a bag of sugar, becomes dependent on it and thereby endangers his or her existence. The sugar only makes the person crank it up due to the high energy content, strong blood sugar fluctuations occur and headaches and gastrointestinal complaints can also occur. However, the combination of sugar and fat is more interesting. Fat is a substance that ensured our survival thousands of years ago. Nowadays there is an abundance of foods and foods rich in fat. However, the brain is still geared towards storing as much body mass as possible for bad times. Because of this combination of fat as a flavor carrier and a sure-fire survival factor and sugar, which signals to us that the food is palatable and high in energy, we often cannot stop eating after a piece of chocolate. The whole board is quickly plastered. Many describe this situation as sugar addiction and suspect that they can no longer get rid of it. However, this addiction often results from severe blood sugar fluctuations and a lack of nutrients and vitamins.

How different types of sugar affect digestion

glucose
Once the pure grape sugar reaches the stomach, it no longer has to be broken down there. The sugar reaches the small intestine, where it passes through the intestinal mucosa into the blood. The blood sugar rises and the pancreas releases insulin so that the sugar gets into the cells and serves as an energy supply. Too much pure glucose affects the intestines and the sugar metabolism in the body. Too much sugar in the intestines can lead to gas and diarrhea. It also ensures that the mucous membranes are no longer adequately protected. If there is too much sugar in the blood, the pancreas is overwhelmed with insulin production, which can lead to insulin resistance, the precursor to diabetes. In addition, the high lasts only briefly after consumption, which is followed by a concentration and performance low.

Galactose
This sugar behaves similarly to glucose, but is not broken down with insulin in the body. It is very well tolerated and does not have a negative effect on the intestines. However, if it is dosed too high in its pure form or if too many foods containing galactose are eaten, this can lead to diarrhea. In the case of a hereditary metabolic disease, those affected lack the enzyme alpha-galactosidase, so that the body cannot process galactose. Affected people can develop jaundice, apathy and liver dysfunction as an infant.

Fructose
Most people tolerate fructose in normal amounts. In people with a fructose intolerance, absorption in the intestine is disturbed so that the fructose can no longer be digested properly. Flatulence and diarrhea are the result. In healthy people too high fructose consumption can lead to this. It then makes sense to rely on low-sugar fruit and avoid convenience foods, which often contain cheap fructose. The latter also because too much fructose can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver.

Table sugar
Since conventional table sugar consists of glucose and fructose, it affects the intestine in large quantities, as described above for glucose and fructose. However, if you are intolerant of sugar to table sugar or sucrose, you may experience abdominal pain, stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Those affected lack the enzyme sucrase isomaltase, which breaks down the sugar in the small intestine.

Lactose
The milk sugar in its original form cannot be absorbed by the intestinal mucosa. With the help of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the mucous cells of the small intestine, the milk sugar is broken down. This does not cause any problems in healthy people. It is different in the case of lactose intolerance: the enzyme can no longer be sufficiently formed so that the lactose reaches the large intestine unchanged. There it serves bacteria as food. The waste products trigger symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain and flatulence. A lactose-free diet or lactase tablets that contain the enzyme help against sugar intolerance.

Malt sugar
So far, no metabolic disorders or effects on the intestine are known about maltose. Sugar is found in few foods and is only produced in small quantities during the digestion of starch.

How does sugar affect the intestinal bacteria?

White table sugar, which, like fructose and lactose, is often added to foods, often leads to diarrhea, gas, or constipation. If the sugar consumption is too high, the sugar-processing intestinal bacteria and intestinal fungi take over and weaken the good bacteria, so to speak, so that the delicate balance of the digestive system is disturbed.

Sugar consumption - it's the amount that counts

The German Nutrition Society recommends approx. 50 g of free sugar per day with a daily calorie intake of 2000 kcal. These include mono- and disaccharides that manufacturers or consumers add to food. This also includes honey, syrup, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

To consume less sugar, it makes sense to cut down on high-sugar and highly processed foods. These include:

  • Sweets
  • Fast and junk food
  • sweetened drinks
  • Pastries
  • processed foods
  • Ready-made sauces and dips
  • fruit yoghurt
Instead, rely on:
  • low-sugar fruit such as berries, e.g. B. raspberries or strawberries
  • complex carbohydrates such as B. in whole grains, oatmeal, potatoes and legumes
  • vegetables

In addition, a food diary can help you uncover possible sugar traps.

Advantages and disadvantages of alternative sweeteners

For many, it is difficult to completely do without sweets. In order to be able to continue enjoying coffee and Co. with the desired sweetness, we have selected five alternative sweeteners that support your health and are less clogging for your body than household sugar.

Stevia: Even with small amounts you can achieve the same sweetness as table sugar, which is why stevia is a popular plant-based sugar substitute. At the same time, the blood sugar level is not changed, which means that no insulin has to be released. This can prevent chronic inflammatory diseases.

Xylitol: Xylitol, or birch sugar, is made from a purely vegetable raw material. This sweetener also does not raise blood sugar or insulin levels. In addition, xylitol has a particularly positive effect on dental health. However, large amounts of this substitute have a negative effect on digestion. If consumed in excess, it can have a laxative effect, which is why the individually tolerable amount must be approached slowly.

Maple syrup: Although maple syrup has an effect on blood sugar levels, it is much less than normal table sugar, which is why it serves as a good substitute. However, the syrup has a malt-like taste of its own, which is why it cannot be used as a sugar substitute in all foods.

honey: Honey consists of approx. 80% a mixture of glucose and fructose. The rest is water and various minerals such as potassium and magnesium, as well as B and C vitamins. For a health benefit, however, the honey would have to be consumed in large quantities. However, it is advantageous that honey has approx. 300 kcal per 100 g, whereas household sugar has 400 kcal.

Aspartame: Aspartame is about 200 times more sweet than sugar and is therefore practically calorie-free. The fact that aspartame is harmful has been refuted, so that everyone can use it to sweeten food and drinks. With a balanced diet, it is practically impossible to exceed the maximum amount.

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