Sugar in small quantities is fine for you, but excessive sugar can cause weight gain, acne, and type 2 diabetes. It can also increase your risk of serious medical conditions.
Additive sugar is found in a wide variety of products, from peanut butter to marinara sauce.
Most people depend on processed food for their meals and snacks. These products are often sweetened, and sugar is a major part of the daily caloric intake.
The average American adult consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar added each day. This is 14% of the total calories consumed by adults on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Experts say that sugar is the main cause of obesity, and other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetics.
Dietary guidelines recommend limiting the calories added from sugar to 10% of your daily calories.
Here are 11 reasons why sugar consumption is harmful to your health.
1. You can gain weight by eating certain foods
Evidence suggests that sugary drinks are a major cause of obesity.
Drinks sweetened with sugar, such as sodas, juices, and sweet teas, are high in fructose. This is a simple sugar.
The main sugar in starchy foods, glucose, increases hunger and cravings for food.
Animal studies have shown that an excessive intake of fructose can cause resistance to leptin. This important hormone regulates appetite and tells the body to stop eating.
Sugary drinks do not suppress your appetite, so it is easy to consume enormous amounts of liquid calories. This can cause weight gain.
Sugary drinks are associated with increased weight and type 2 diabetes.
Drinking a lot of sugar-sweetened drinks is also linked to increased visceral (deep belly) fat. This fat is associated with diabetes and heart diseases.
Sugary drinks, in particular, can increase your weight gain risk and cause visceral fat to accumulate.
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2. Heart disease: How to Reduce Your Risk
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world.
High sugar eating habits can cause obesity, inflammation, high blood sugar and blood pressure, as well as triglycerides and triglycerides. These are all risk factors for heart diseases.
Consuming too much sugar – especially in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages – has also been linked to atherosclerosis. This disease is characterized by fatty deposits that clog arteries.
In a study of over 25,877 adults, it was found that those who consume more added sugar are at a higher risk for heart disease and coronary complications than those who consume less added sugar.
Sugar intake can increase stroke risk as well.
The same study found that drinking more than 8 sugar-sweetened drinks per week was associated with an increased stroke risk.
One 12-ounce (473 ml) soda can contain 39 grams sugar. This is equivalent to 8% of your daily calories, based upon a diet of 2,000 calories.
One sugary beverage a day will bring you awfully close to the daily recommended limit of added sugar.
Sugar consumption is linked to heart disease risk factors, such as obesity and high blood pressure. A high-sugar intake has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. Sugar is linked to acne
Acne is associated with diets high in refined carbohydrates, such as sugary food and drinks.
Foods that have a high glycemic index, like processed sweets and sugary drinks, will raise your blood glucose more quickly than those with a low glycemic index.
Sugary foods may cause an increase in insulin and blood sugar levels. This can lead to a rise in androgen production, oil production and inflammation, all of which are factors in acne.
Low-glycemic foods are associated with reduced acne risks, while high glycemic foods are linked with an increased acne risk.
A study of 24452 participants, for example, found that consumption of sugary drinks, milk, and fatty products was linked to acne among adults.
Many studies show that rural areas that eat traditional, unprocessed food have lower acne rates than urban high-income areas that rely on processed foods as part of their diet.
The findings are consistent with the theory that a diet high in sugar and processed foods can lead to acne.
Acne can be caused by a high-sugar intake, which increases androgen production, oil production and inflammation.
4. You are at greater Risk of Type 2 Diabetic Diabetes
Diabetes is the leading cause of death and reduced life expectancy. The prevalence of diabetes has increased by more than two-thirds in the last 30 years.
Sugar consumption is associated with diabetes.
Although no studies have proven that sugar intake causes diabetes, there is a strong connection.
Sugar consumption can increase diabetes risk indirectly by increasing weight and body fat.
Diabetes is thought to be most likely caused by obesity, often caused by sugar consumption.
The pancreas produces insulin to regulate blood sugar.
Insulin resistance increases blood sugar levels and your risk of developing diabetes.
Research has also shown that those who consume sugar-sweetened drinks are more susceptible to developing diabetes.
In a study of individuals who consumed sugary drinks over a four-year period, it was found that a higher type 2 diabetes risk is associated with increased consumption. This includes soft drinks and 100% juice.
High-sugar foods can lead to obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
5. Can Increase Your Cancer Risk
Sugar consumption can increase the risk of certain cancers.
A diet high in sugary food and drinks can cause obesity, which increases your cancer risk.
Sugar-rich diets can also increase insulin resistance and inflammation, which both increase the risk of cancer.
In two out of five studies, the higher sugar intake was associated with a cancer risk between 60% and 95%.
In 8 of 15 studies, an increased cancer risk between 23% and 200% was found with higher sugary beverage consumption.
Sugar consumption has been linked to certain types of cancer in other studies.
In a study of over 22,720 men over a period of 9 years, it was found that sugar intake from sugar-sweetened drinks is associated with an increased risk for prostate cancer.
A second study showed that increased consumption of table sugar and sweetened drinks and desserts was linked to esophageal carcinoma.
More studies are needed in order to fully understand the complex relationship between sugar and cancer.
Sugar can cause obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation. These are all risk factors for cancer.
6. You May Be More Depressed
A healthy diet may improve your mood. However, a diet that is high in sugar or processed foods can also affect mood and emotions.
You may even be at increased risk of depression.
Sugar consumption is linked to memory impairment, anxiety, and depression.
Researchers think that increased sugar consumption can cause chronic systemic inflammation and insulin resistance. They also believe that a disruption of the dopaminergic rewards system, which is caused by sugar, may have a negative impact on mental health.
A study of 8,000 men found that men who ate more than 40 grams of sugar per day had a 23% higher risk of depression.
A study of over 69,000 women found that those who consumed the most added sugars were at a higher risk of depression than those who consumed the least.
Both men and women may be more susceptible to depression if they consume a diet high in sugar and processed foods.
7. Can accelerate the skin aging process
Wrinkles on the skin are a sign of aging. They will appear regardless of how healthy you are.
Poor food choices, however, can worsen wrinkles.
The body produces Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs), which are compounds that result from the reaction between sugar and proteins. It is suspected that they play a significant role in the aging of skin.
A diet rich in refined carbohydrates and sugar can cause premature aging of your skin.
Collagen and elastin are proteins that stretch the skin and help it maintain its youthful appearance.
Skin loses firmness when collagen and elastin are damaged.
It is important to continue research in order to understand the relationship between sugar and changes in skin.
Sugary foods may increase the production AGEs which accelerate skin aging.
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8. Cellular Aging
Telomeres can be found at the ends of chromosomes. These are molecules which contain part or all your genetic information.
Telomeres are protective caps that prevent chromosomes from deteriorating and fusing.
Telomeres shorten as you age, causing cells to age and malfunction.
While the shortening of telomeres is a normal part of ageing, certain lifestyle choices may speed up the process.
Sugar consumption can accelerate the shortening of telomeres, which in turn increases cell aging.
In a pilot study of 61 children aged between 3 and 5 years, the study found that sugar-sweetened drinks were associated with a shorter telomere. This is a sign of cellular ageing.
Sugar consumption can cause telomeres to shorten faster, increasing cellular age.
9. Drains Your Energy
Sugar-rich foods spike insulin and blood sugar levels quickly, leading to an increase in energy.
This increase in energy is only temporary.
Sugary products that lack protein, fiber or fat can lead to an energy boost followed by a rapid drop in blood sugar. This is often called a crash.
Constant blood sugar swings may cause major fluctuations in your energy level.
In a meta-analysis of sugar’s effects on mood, it was found that sugar consumption, in particular, reduces alertness and fatigue within 60 minutes.
Choose carbs that are rich in fiber and low in sugar.
Another great way to stabilize your blood sugar is by combining carbs with fat or protein.
A snack consisting of an apple and a handful of almonds, for example, is a fantastic way to maintain optimum energy levels.
Sugary foods can have a negative impact on your energy level by causing an increase in blood sugar, followed by a crash.
10. Fatty Liver
High intakes of fructose have been linked with an increased risk of developing fatty liver.
High fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), a type of sugar that is commonly used, is one source. It can be found in soda, candy, and baked goods.
The liver is the only organ that can break down fructose, unlike glucose and other sugars, which are absorbed by many different cells in the body.
In the liver fructose can be converted to energy or stored in glycogen.
The liver can only store a certain amount of glycogen before it turns into fat.
The addition of substantial amounts of sugar, in the form fructose, can overload your liver and cause nonalcoholic fatty hepatitis (NAFLD), which is characterized by an excessive buildup of fat in the liver.
A study on mice found that feeding them on a high fructose diet over a prolonged period of time caused intestinal damage, liver inflammation, liver tumors and signs of fatty hepatitis compared to a group of control mice.
In the same study, it was found that the same amount fructose consumed as beverages instead of food and in one dose is more likely than several smaller doses over a longer period of time to cause fatty hepatitis.
In a study of over 5,900 adults, people who drink sugar-sweetened drinks daily have a 56% greater risk of developing NAFLD compared to those who do not.
A diet high in sugar can lead to NAFLD (a condition where excessive fat accumulates in the liver).
11. Other Health Risks
Sugar can also harm your body, in ways that are not listed here.
Too much sugar in the diet can cause:
Increased risk of kidney disease: Fructose increases serum concentrations of the urate molecule, which can lead to kidney disease. High blood sugar can damage kidney blood vessels, increasing your risk of kidney diseases.
Too much sugar is bad for your teeth. Sugar is a food source for bacteria in the mouth, and they release acids that cause demineralization of teeth.
Gout is a painful inflammatory condition that affects the joints. Sugars increase uric acids in the blood and can worsen or cause gout.
Increased cognitive decline: A high-sugar intake can cause impaired memory, as well as an increased risk for dementia, Alzheimer’s, and stroke.
New discoveries about the health effects of sugar are being made all the time.
Sugar consumption can worsen cognitive decline and increase the risk of gout, kidney damage, and cavities.