Unbelievable benefits of sweets: pre-meal or post-meal?

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Benefits of sweets

Table of contents:

What are sweets composed of?

What is the difference between dessert and sweet?

Benefits of taking sweets?

Should you eat sweets before or after the meal?

What are the side effects of taking sweets?

How much a kid/infant must consume sweets/desserts?

What are the effects of sugar on the brain?

Which hormones are stimulated due to sweets?

Are sweets mandatory for a healthy body?

Can we eat sweets at night?

How many sweets should you eat per day?

Why do you eat sweets in anxiety? Eat these instead!

Why do you get a tickling sensation when you eat sweets?

How to get rid of eating sweets?

Saccharophobia: The fear of sweets

Are labels on sweet items accurate?

What is worldwide sweets consumption?

Summary

There is a human craving for sweets, spanning all races and cultures. It plays an important role in human nutrition, helping to adjust dietary behavior towards high-energy foods. Especially kids are fond of consuming sweets hence they can be used to manipulate children to perform various tasks. Below is the detailed blog post answering all your questions regarding sweets. 

What are Sweets composed of?

Any product containing sugar either free or combined with nutrients may be regarded as sweet. Sweets are generally composed of the following components [1]:

  • Sucrose: Natural sugar occurring in various plants and fruits.
  • Invert sugars: Hydrolysis of sucrose yields a 1.3 times sweeter mixture of glucose and fructose, known as invert sugar. 
  • Glucose syrups: Purified, aqueous, and concentrated solution of nutritive saccharides from starch, also known as confectioner’s starch.

What is the difference between dessert and sweet?

Derived from the French verb, “Desservir” meaning “to clear the table”, Desserts can be thought of as a more decorated sweet dish such as cakes and pastries that are eaten at the end of a meal for delight purposes. While sweet might include little sweet things such as candies and chocolates. More ingredients are used in a dessert as compared to sweets. All desserts are sweets, but all sweets are not desserts.

Benefits of taking sweets?

When we think of a sweet, we always think about teeth damage and side effects, but you don’t know the benefits of consuming sweets. There are several benefits of taking sweets as follows:

1: Dark chocolates reduce cardiovascular problems

Besides high sugar content consumption, the risk of cardiovascular disorders can be reduced if dark chocolates are taken in small amounts on daily basis. Furthermore, it can reduce LDL and cholesterol levels which causes blockage of heart arteries. [2]

2: Lowers blood pressure

Cocoa powder or dishes that are made from it are very beneficial to reduce blood pressure. These flavonoid-rich products dilate the vessels to increase blood flow. But make sure that the product you are consuming does not contain high sugar content.

3: Quick energy booster

As discussed earlier, sweet products are rich in glucose. Glucose is broken down to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy currency of the human body. Insulin produced by our pancreas binds to glucose and gets stored in the form of glycogen in our cells. Hence, consuming sweet products can help to give an energy boost instantly.

4: Enhances cognitive thinking ability

Sugar can also enhance your brain’s thinking activity. Not sugar, but glucose in sweets is beneficial in doing this. Try playing any brain game before or after consuming fruit juice.

5: Contains helpful antioxidants 

Sweet products contain antioxidants that can reduce inflammation, develop strong immunity, and maintain the health of cells. Oats, mixed nuts, barfi, strawberry pudding, coconut Ladoo, etc. are some of the sweet recipes containing a high number of antioxidants.

6: Reduces stress

Sweets/Sugar reduces stress levels through hormonal changes in the human body. Craving to eat desserts might stimulate cortisol production which may lead to stress. Hence, immediately consuming sugar may tend to decrease stress hormones.

7: Some sweets are nutritious

When we talk about sweets, it doesn’t mean we are talking about desserts or related stuff only. Nutritious sweets also exist. Yes, you heard it right. This means that you can maintain health and eat sweets too.

8: Cooking sweet dishes satisfies dessert cravings in a healthier way

If you are fond of desserts but you also want to avoid eating sweets due to the high risk of several diseases, then become a chef. Yes, cook new bakery items and desserts at home with low sugar content. This not only removes your craving but also proves to be healthy for your mood and body.

Should you eat sweets before or after the meal?

It is thought that taking sweets before a meal reduces appetite. The behavioral explanation of this thing may be that no food fits the best in front of sweets, its taste and appearance compel us to eat fewer other foods. The physiological explanation may be that eating sweets before a meal increases insulin and glucose levels, and consequently the increase in energy. These changes cause them to stop eating more. Hence If you eat sweets before the meal, you experience satiety. [3] Consuming sweets after a meal is characterized by slow digestion. Hence, eating sweet products like honey (1 tablespoon) reduces the load on the digestive system.

What are the side effects of taking sweets?

Consumption of sugar or sweets can lead to an increased risk of obesity and cardiovascular disorders including high blood pressure, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and dyslipidemia. High sugar can also lead to reducing thinking and cognitive function, and cancer. Disabled appetite control and addiction are also some main problems. [4][5][6][7][8]

How much a kid/infant must consume sweets/desserts?

Besides the mouth, sweet taste receptors are also present in the pancreas and gut. Upon stimulation, a series of physiological mechanisms take place. These mechanisms can affect children more than other individuals. The first effect of sweets is addiction. Brain centers activated during sweet consumption are similar to those activated during alcohol and opiate consumption. Hence, children aged 4-6 years mustn’t consume more than 19 grams of sugar a day. While those aged from 7-10 years mustn’t consume more than 24 grams of sugar. [9][10]

What are the effects of sugar on the brain?

Sweets and high sugar content in sweets can affect the brain’s:

  • Cognitive & thinking ability.
  • Neurotransmission ability
  • Cellular survival due to glucose metabolizing enzyme functioning.
  • Oxygen-carrying blood vessels
  • Levels of certain brain chemicals
  • Reward brain system (mesocorticolimbic pathway)
  • Furthermore, these brain effects can lead to serious body problems. [11][12][13]

Which hormones are stimulated due to sweets?

Following hormones play the main role when stimulated due to high sugar levels: [13][14][15]

Ghrelin: Ghrelin hormone activates the reward system of the brain and affects motivated food behaviors.

Insulin: Insulin increases to create a balance between the blood glucose levels. In overweight individuals the insulin levels

Leptin: Maintains balance between food intake and energy expenditure to control hunger. It stops hunger when not enough calories are needed.

Cortisol: Cortisol regulates feeding behavior and choice, as well as binge eating. Higher levels of sweets can increase cortisol levels which can cause insulin resistance. Cortisol increases the glucose levels in the blood and brain usage of glucose.

Are sweets mandatory for a healthy body?

Glucose, a sugar that is the ultimate source of energy for the human body, is highly influenced by the sugar levels of sweets. The more we eat sweets, the more glucose is produced, hence providing more energy to the body. But excess of everything is bad. Dietary guidelines for Americans recommend that you must not consume more than 10% of added sugars, which are the sugars used during the preparation of food. Table sugar, sucrose, dextrose, etc., are an example of added sugar. Make sure that added sugar and natural sugar (found in fruits, milk, etc.) are not the same. [16]

Can we eat sweets at night?

We must avoid eating sweets at night because they can worsen glucose levels especially if eaten after dinner. Post-prandial glucose levels may rise to an extreme if sweet is consumed after dinner or the following day’s breakfast in young non-diabetic women. [17]

How many sweets should you eat per day?

The American Heart Association recommends that a female individual must take < 6 teaspoons and a male individual must take < 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day. However, the difference between the recommended and actual values may differ. [18]

Why do you eat sweets in anxiety? Eat these instead!

The human brain consumes more energy under stress conditions or those conditions in which there is a high demand for cognitive thinking. Hence, sweets, that contain high sugar content, can provide glucose for a quick energy boost.

Why do you get a tickling sensation when you eat sweets?

Mouthfeel means textural or physical sensations in the mouth caused by different types of foods. Tingling, tickling, burning, heating, etc., are some of the mouthfeel sensations. Sweets generally transduce tickling mouthfeel sensations in the nervous system due to the special receptors present on the trigeminal nerve innervating the mouth & tongue. Physiologically this thing is normal. [19]

How to get rid of eating sweets?

You can get rid of sweets or sugar consumption by following the following methods:

  • Cook less sugar-containing sweet dishes at home.
  • Remove all sources of high-added sugars from your life.
  • Consume herbal or green tea.
  • Eat dark chocolates (70% cocoa content) if you are fond of chocolates.
  • Replace the desserts with fruits and yogurt.
  • Make sure to check labels on products for high sugar content.
  • Be consistent and motivated by making goals.

Saccharophobia: The fear of sweets

If a person you may know, dislikes the sweet and is also suffering from the diabetes type 2 disease, then he/she might be a victim of saccharophobia. It is the fear of consuming sugar and foods containing sugar. People with these are generally very sensitive in case of consuming sweets because they think that it might make things worse. Saccharophobes are more likely to get hypoglycemia due to low sugar levels hence, they must be treated as soon as possible with medications, self-help, and mind therapy.

Are labels on sweet items accurate?

Nutrition labeling is an important guide for raising awareness of the energy value of food and for regulating food intake. Samples of popular snack products vary in the accuracy of the displayed calories. The calories in these snacks are higher than what is stated on the label, so the difference is relatively small. Deviations from the label are due to inaccuracies in food content and serving sizes. [20]

What is worldwide sweets consumption?

According to research in which 787 kids were used, 58.6% of those kids ate sweets with added sugar every day. The biggest sugar consumer in the world is the United States, with 126 grams of sugar intake per capita, 10 times the recommended amount i.e., 11 grams. [21][22]

Summary:

  • High-sugar-containing foods are regarded as sweets.
  • High levels of added sugars are harmful as compared to natural sugars.
  • Moderate levels of sugar can have positive effects on the human body while high levels can prove dangerous. 
  • The recommended amount of sugar per day by the dietary guidelines of Americans must be followed.

References:

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