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Perils of sugar


“Sugar and spice and all things nice”. This was my first memory of sugary foods, and my personal weakness is chocolate ice cream. As kids, we love the idea (and taste) of all things sweet. However, as we grow older, we start to discover the cumulative effects of sugar to our health at all ages. Knowingly it is impossible to completely cut off sugar in our lives, but we can always start with removing the obviously bad ones.

Before the 16th century, only the rich can afford sugar. I used to work for the then largest sugar trader in the world (sell sugar globally to make rum). Whether you are eating a sweet or drinking rum, sugar’s effect is like cocaine, making you crave for more. However, there is no nutritional value in sugar, except fructose and glucose.

Glucose, which mainly comes from carbohydrates, is metabolized by our cells and turned into energy, but fructose (from fruits, honey and agave) is exclusively processed by the liver to turn to glucose before being transported into bloodstream. Sucrose, which is made up of both glucose and fructose, is basically table sugar.

The following are the key problems found with long term consumption of sugar:


  1. Weight gain – fructose generates resistance to leptin (hormone that controls hunger) and increases visceral fat (deep belly fat)
  2. Heart disease – obesity, inflammation high triglyceride, high blood sugar and body pulse, clogged arteries
  3. Acne – increased blood sugar leads to an increase in androgen production, sebum and inflammation
  4. Type 2 diabetes – long term sugar intake will lead to a resistance to insulin (produced in pancreas to regulate blood sugar)
  5. Cancer
  6. Increased risk of depression – mood swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation and inflammation
  7. Accelerates skin aging – advanced glycation end (AGE) products – compounds formed by reactions between sugar and protein which leads to damage in collagen and elastin
  8. Increased cellular aging
  9. Drains energy – fluctuations in blood sugar will deplete energy
  10. Fatty liver – too much fructose broken down by the liver, and some stored as glycogen, or fat
  11. Other issues: kidney health, dental health, gout, cognitive decline (impaired memory and increased risk of dementia).

Being an occasional baker myself, I try to find better alternatives, and I usually cut my sugar when I cook. There are many types of sugar out there, so let me try and summarise them for you:

Sugars containing fructose and glucose: blackstrap molasses, brown sugar, cane sugar, castor sugar, coconut sugar, demerara sugar, golden syrup, honey, icing sugar, maple syrup, muscovado sugar, raw sugar, treacle sugar, yellow sugar.

Sugars with glucose, or combined with non-fructose: brown rice syrup, corn syrup, dextrose, glucose, lactose, malt syrup, rice syrup.

Personally I use coconut sugar to cook and to substitute brown sugar when baking. It has the same calories as brown sugar, but a low glycemic index of 35 (half of regular sugar), which means fewer blood sugar spikes. I sometimes also use xylitol to substitute castor sugar. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol which has a glycemic of 7-13 and about 30% fewer calories to white sugar.

If you can, try to reduce fructose which has a longer term damage to your health.  However, you do not need to cut out fruits altogether, as the fibre in fruits provide other nutritional benefits. Avoid high fructose corn syrup (which is made from corn starch through industrialization process), and be aware of hidden sugar in processed foods, carbonated drinks etc.


「有糖和香料的食物是最好吃的。」這應該是不 人在第一次吃帶糖食品的感覺。小 時候,我們幾乎喜歡所有甜食,巧克力、冰淇淋、糖果…… 可是隨著年齡的增長,開 始發現和感受到從小到大的糖分積聚,對於身體健康所帶來的負面影響。儘管我們不 可能從生活中完全斷絕吸取糖分,但仍然可以減少使用有害糖品來慢慢改善。

在16世紀之前,只有富有家庭才能負擔使用「糖」,而到了現在糖已經變得十分普遍。無論是小孩子吃的糖果,還是大人喝的朗姆酒,糖的作用某程度上都有點像可卡因,讓 您沈迷下去,甚至渴望更多。可是,除了果糖和葡萄糖以外,其他糖類並沒有甚麼營養 價值。

葡萄糖主要來自碳水化合物,經過新陳代謝轉化為能量供身體使用;果糖(主要來自 水果,蜂蜜和龍舌蘭)需要先經肝臟轉化才能分解成葡萄糖,然後才被輸送到血液中;蔗糖,就是由葡萄糖和果糖合成而成的常見食用糖。


體重增加: 果糖會減弱瘦素(控制飢餓的荷爾蒙)的敏感度,並增加內臟脂肪(腹部深層脂肪)

心臟病: 癡肥、高三酸甘油酯、高血糖、高血壓、動脈阻塞

痤瘡: 血糖升高會導致雄激素生成,皮脂分泌和炎症增加

2型糖尿病: 長期攝入糖分會降低胰島素分泌(胰腺產生以調節血糖的荷爾蒙)



加速皮膚衰老: 糖化終產物(AGE)(糖和蛋白質之間反應形成的化合物),會導致膠原蛋白和彈性蛋白的破壞


消耗能量: 血糖波動會消耗能量

脂肪肝: 過多的果糖會被肝分解,部分則已肝糖或脂肪形式儲存





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