In the modern world, refined sugar has become an irreplaceable part of our diet, often hiding in plain sight in various processed foods and sweet treats. For people managing diabetes, the impact of refined sugar on blood glucose levels is a significant concern.
“The pancreas plays an important part in the formation of the hormone insulin, which aids our bodies in the utilisation of glucose from food for energy. When we live a healthy and active lifestyle, this system operates well,” said Dr Mridul Malhotra, Senior Consultant and Head-Medical Oncology, Asian Hospital, Faridabad, adding as a result of an unhealthy lifestyle that includes an incorrect food and a lack of movement, high sugar in the blood can cause insulin resistance. This causes the pancreas to produce more insulin, which eventually fails to meet demand, leading to type 2 diabetes.
Spikes in Blood Sugar Levels
Refined sugar, such as the white sugar found in candies, sodas, and baked goods, causes rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. For individuals with diabetes, this can pose a serious threat, as the body struggles to regulate the sudden influx of glucose.
Prolonged consumption of refined sugar has been linked to insulin resistance, a condition where cells become less responsive to insulin, the hormone responsible for transporting glucose into cells. Insulin resistance is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes and can exacerbate the challenges of managing blood sugar levels.
Also read: High Blood Sugar Control: How Frequent You Should Test For Diabetes
Increased Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
Regular consumption of refined sugar has been associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Diabetic patients must be cautious about their sugar intake to prevent the progression of the disease and its associated complications.
Weight Gain and Obesity
Refined sugar is calorie-dense and provides little nutritional value. Excessive consumption can lead to weight gain and obesity, both of which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Managing a healthy weight is crucial for diabetes management and overall well-being.
Inflammation and Diabetes Complication
Refined sugar has been linked to chronic inflammation, which plays a role in the development of diabetes complications such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage. Controlling inflammation is essential for preventing long-term complications in diabetic patients.
Affects Lipid Profile
Diabetic individuals often need to manage their lipid profile to prevent cardiovascular issues. Refined sugar intake has been associated with adverse changes in cholesterol levels, including elevated triglycerides and decreased HDL (good) cholesterol.
Worsening Glycemic Control
Refined sugar disrupts glycemic control, making it challenging for diabetic patients to manage their blood sugar levels effectively. Consistent blood sugar fluctuations can lead to fatigue, irritability, and an increased risk of diabetic emergencies.
Empty Calories and Nutrient Deficiency
Refined sugar provides empty calories, offering sweetness without essential nutrients. Diabetic individuals must focus on nutrient-dense foods to meet their nutritional requirements. Relying on sugary foods can lead to deficiencies in vital vitamins and minerals.
Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
Diabetes is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. The negative impact of refined sugar on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation further elevates the risk of heart-related complications in diabetic patients.
Challenges in Blood Sugar Monitoring
The rapid and unpredictable effects of refined sugar on blood glucose levels can pose challenges for diabetic individuals trying to monitor and manage their condition. Consistent and controlled carbohydrate intake is crucial for effective diabetes management.
Also read: Pregnancy With Diabetes: How To Manage Blood Sugar Levels
For diabetic patients, the relationship with refined sugar is a complex and critical one. Understanding the harmful effects of excessive sugar consumption is the first step toward making informed dietary choices. By prioritising whole, nutrient-dense foods and minimising the intake of refined sugars, individuals with diabetes can better manage their condition and reduce the risk of complications associated with elevated blood sugar levels. Consultation with doctor, including dietitians and diabetes educators, can provide personalised guidance on maintaining a balanced and diabetes-friendly diet.