Whether it’s gummy bears or chocolate, sweets are on the menu for many people as a daily snack. And this is despite the fact that treats contain large amounts of sugar, which can have a negative impact on our health. But what exactly happens?
Sugar: This is how it causes flatulence, diarrhea and abdominal pain
Too much sugar can upset the delicate balance between bacteria and fungi in the gut, leading to impaired digestion. Stomach pain, diarrhea and flatulence are the first symptoms when the “bad” bacteria and fungi in the gut take over. White flour, in addition to simple and double sugars, should be reduced and instead we recommend using whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Foods rich in sugar also often have a high fat content, which can increase symptoms. But it can also happen that an insufficient amount of fiber and fluids slow down bowel movement and cause constipation. Therefore, drink enough water, exercise, and use natural laxatives such as prunes or flax seeds.
Here’s how each type of sugar affects your gut:
If pure glucose enters the stomach, it no longer needs to be broken down there. Sugar enters the small intestine, where it passes through the intestinal mucosa into the blood. Blood sugar rises and the pancreas releases insulin to carry sugar into cells where it is used for energy. Too much pure glucose affects the gut and the body’s sugar metabolism. Too much sugar in the intestines can lead to flatulence 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. Also, the high only lasts for a short time after consumption, followed by a low in concentration and performance.
This sugar behaves similarly to glucose but is not broken down in the body with insulin. It is very well tolerated and has no negative effects on the intestine. However, if it is dosed too high in its pure form or if you eat too many galactose-containing foods, this can lead to diarrhea. In the case of an inherited metabolic disease, those affected lack the alpha-galactosidase enzyme, so the body cannot process galactose. Those affected can develop jaundice, apathy, and liver dysfunction from childhood.
In normal quantities, fructose is well tolerated by most people. In people with fructose intolerance, absorption in the intestine is disturbed, as a result of which fructose can no longer be digested properly. Flatulence and diarrhea are the result of fructose intolerance. But even in healthy people, excessive consumption of fructose can lead to symptoms of this type. It therefore makes sense to rely on low-sugar fruits and avoid ready-made foods that often contain cheap fructose. The latter also because too much fructose can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Since conventional table sugar consists of glucose and fructose, it also affects the intestines in large quantities, as already mentioned above for glucose and fructose. However, in the case of intolerance to table sugar or sucrose, abdominal pain, stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting occur. Those affected lack the enzyme sucrase-isomaltase, which breaks down sugar in the small intestine.
In its original form, lactose cannot be absorbed by the intestinal mucosa. Lactose is broken down with the help of the enzyme lactase, which is produced by the mucous cells of the small intestine. This does not cause any problems in healthy people. The case of lactose intolerance is different: the enzyme can no longer be formed sufficiently, so that the lactose reaches the large intestine unaltered. There it serves as food for bacteria. Waste products cause symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and flatulence. A lactose-free diet or lactase tablets containing the enzyme help against sugar intolerance.
There are no known metabolic disturbances or gut effects of maltose. Sugar is found in few foods and is only produced in small quantities when starch is digested.
Where is sugar found?
In Western cultures, refined sugar has become a dietary habit. Sweet coffee, sweets as a snack and cola instead of water – this is what everyday life looks like for many people. Added to this are the sugar bombs hidden in dairy products, preserves and sauces. Savory ready-made products also contain more and more industrial sugar. However, sugar is often not listed as such in the food ingredient list. Common designations are:
|type of sugar||sugar name||Consists…||To happen|
|Dextrose / Dextrose / Glucose / Glucose syrup||Dextrose is the best known sugar and is referred to in science as glucose.||In almost all foods|
|Slime / galactose sugar||
The difference from glucose is that galactose does not need insulin to be processed in the cell. Your blood sugar remains 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 sugar.
|fruit, honey, processed foods|
|Table sugar / sucrose / beet sugar / cane sugar||
White table sugar consists of one glucose molecule and one fructose molecule. Sugar is obtained from sugar beet.
|Sweets, ready-made products, sweet drinks|
|milk sugar / lactose||Milk sugar consists of one glucose molecule and one galactose molecule.||milk and processed foods|
|Malt sugar / Maltose||Malt sugar is made up of two glucose molecules.||Beer, potatoes, pasta|
|Multiple sugars (polysaccharides)||Force||It consists of ten glucose molecules and more. It tastes sweet only after splitting.||Potatoes, cereals, rice, corn, whole grains|
Other harmful consequences of sugar consumption
Insulin resistance from too much sugar
By eating foods rich in carbohydrates and even proteins, insulin is produced in the pancreas and released into the blood. Insulin ensures that sugar enters cells and is used in the form of energy. Simple sugars enter the blood and cells faster than polysaccharides. If you regularly consume too much plain sugar, for example in the form of white bread, chocolate, or gummy bears, your insulin level remains consistently high, which can cause insulin resistance. This is the precursor of diabetes.
Sugar promotes obesity and disease
Refined sugar has no vitamins, minerals or fiber, so the body must draw from its own reserves. This can lead to chronic mineral deficiency, which can promote obesity and thus a variety of diseases.
Sugar causes ugly skin
Because sweets, for example, quickly raise blood sugar levels, the skin’s oil production is stimulated and small inflammations develop, which can lead to blemishes and acne. Additionally, excessive sugar consumption causes tissue fibers to become saccharified, known as glycation, which results in increased wrinkles.
Sugar has a negative effect on our brain
Excessive sugar consumption not only harms our physical health, sugar can also have a negative impact on our brain and psyche. A British study found that people who consumed more than 67 grams of sugar per day had a higher risk of mental illnesses such as anxiety disorders or depression.