In 2003 the World Health Organization advocated eating less refined sugar to fight obesity, by limiting daily consumption to 10% of total calories. A high intake of refined sugar is associated with overweight, obesity, high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels, inflammation and other risk factors associated with heart disease and stroke.
People consume, on average, about 22.2 teaspoons of added sugars per day. A “prudent” daily upper limit should be just over six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men. Drinking just one 12-ounce can of non-diet soda puts a woman over the recommended limit. About 75-80% of supermarket foods contain added sugars. It is important to read labels and know the various names of refined sugars.
Your body can tell the difference between nutritionally empty refined sugars and naturally occurring sugars in whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains and milk which come with numerous nutrients and other factors all working synergistically that help metabolize their sugars. The effect of a sugar separated out and heavily processed in no way resembles the effects of an undivided, unaltered complete food.
When refined sugars are consumed, especially in large amounts, nutrients needed to metabolize or process the sugars have to be taken from the body's reserves. Eventually the body becomes deficient. Refined sugars are stripped of essential food contents.
In areas where modern refined/processed foods took over and traditional diets were discarded, health has deteriorated. Restoration of native foods improve people's health.
Are refined sugars addictive? Some doctors say no, but many say either yes or, as it may not entirely fit the official definition of addiction (craving, tolerance and withdrawal), there is dependency in some people. Refined sweeteners cause a sharp rise in blood sugar, which quickly plummets, leading to lowered energy and mood with a craving for sweets to bring the blood sugar back up.
Like heroin, alcohol, and morphine, refined sugars activate beta-endorphin to give a euphoric feeling. Refined sugars cause release of opioids and dopamine; so they may be expected to have addictive potential. And one addiction can easily substitute for another.
Nutrient deficiencies have been noted to contribute to sugar dependency. Among them are B vitamins, numerous minerals, trace elements, amino acids, and fatty acids. People on low-fat diets frequently crave sweets. Improving nutritional levels help sugar cravings and its detrimental effects.
Although many dieticians assert that all sweeteners are the same and don't provide significant nutrition, the objective in using natural, unrefined sweeteners is not for their nutritional content. Rather, it's because they contain factors needed to process their sugars and they don't cause the biochemical disturbances, nutritional depletions or toxic reactions that refined, over-processed, chemicalized sweeteners do.
Source Judith A. DeCava, CNC, LNC Nutrition News and Views