Sugar And The Body

Deadly side effects of sugar including multiple diseases and chronic pain and inflammation

What Does Sugar Do To The Body?

In today’s world, sugar is in everything we eat. From soda pop to fruit juices, candy bars to granola bars; there is sugar everywhere! About 200 years ago, the average American only consumed around 2 lbs of sugar per year. Today, our intake has increased to about 152 lbs of sugar per year. [1]

The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization recommend that adults should only consume about 5% of their total calories from sugar. For men, this can be 38 grams and for women it’s less than 25 grams of sugar daily. That can be challenging since a can of soda can have as much as 39 grams!

I started removing all sorts of added sugar from my diet. Now, I only allow myself to consume a lot of sugar in one sitting if the food is a fruit. Other than that, I don’t consume soda, juice, sweets, and the like. I haven’t felt bloated and I’ve had more energy.

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Acne Breakouts

Have you tried everything and still cannot get acne off of your face? The cure may be simpler than you think. Foods filled with sugar cause insulin and blood sugar to spike. This leads to an increase in oil production, androgen secretion, and inflammation. All of these factors greatly impact the skin and can cause acne. [2]

Don’t believe me? A study conducted with 2,300 teenagers concluded that those who constantly ate foods with added sugar had a greater risk of breaking out with acne by 30% [3] Also, studies prove that diets with low-glycemic levels are directly connected to a lower risk of developing acne. On the other hand, high-glycemic diets yield a much higher risk of producing acne. [4]

Heart Diseases

Too much sugar in the blood stream can lead to heart disease, which is the number one killer in the world.

Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide. [5] Yup, that means more people die every year from heart disease than any other thing in the world. Unfortunately, high sugar diets are proven to lead to inflammation, diabetes, high blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and high triglyceride. Every one of these are risk factors for deadly heart disease [6] In the U.S., there are about 75 million adults suffering from high blood pressure.

Atherosclerosis, a disease in which arteries are clogged by fatty deposits, has been linked to the consumption of too much sugar. [7]

When you eat a bunch of sugar, your body produces extra insulin. However, the insulin can negatively affect your arteries. Insulin causes the walls of the arteries to grow faster than normal and get stiff, which add stress onto your heart and causes damages overtime. Ultimately, this leads to strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease.

By consuming less sugar, you can lower your blood pressure which is a major risk factor leading to heart disease. Also, those who eat 25% of their calories from sugar are twice as likely to result in death from heart disease compared to those who consume less than 10% of their total calories from sugar.


 

Weight Gain

I would assume that you already know sugar leads to weight gain. Surely, no one expects to lose weight while eating chocolate bars all day. However, there are dangerous reasons why this occurs. When too much fructose (a form of sugar) is consumed, it can cause leptin resistance.

What’s leptin? Well, it’s an extremely important hormone that monitors hungers and communicates with your body to stop eating once you’re food. Therefore, leptin resistance means you won’t feel full and your body will allow you to continue eating way beyond your limit. More food intake = more calories = more weight gain. Too much weight gain will lead to obesity which is a risk factor for all sorts of diseases.

Too much sugar consumption decreases your metabolism and increases the fat stored on your body. Since your body stores sugar as glycogen, your body can become too full of glycogen. This results in the body converting sugar as fat instead. Your body does not have a limit to how much fat it will store if you continue eating high amounts of sugar. Therefore, if you notice your body is putting on more pounds then usual, reduce the amount of sugar you are consuming.

Another horrible thing about added sweeteners is that it hinders your body’s ability to recognize when it’s full. This causes us to overeat and ultimately gain weight.

Diabetes

Excess sugar in the blood stream can cause insulin resistance which ultimately leads to diabetes.

In the last three decades, the presence of diabetes worldwide has more than doubled. [8] There’s strong evidence that proves sugar is a culprit in this diabetes outbreak. The most powerful risk factor for diabetes is obesity, which is caused by high sugar consumption. [9]

Insulin regulates blood sugar levels. Therefore, exposure to high sugar intake over a prolonged period of time causes our body to stop responding properly to insulin. This results in the pancreas producing even more insulin. Eventually, the overworked pancreas breaks down. Then, blood sugars dangerously rise causing an increased risks for diabetes when the body becomes insulin resistant.

There was a study conducted over 175 countries. It found that the risk of developing diabetes increased by 1.1% for every 150 calories of sugar ingested per day. [10] That’s only about one can of soda! I know some people who can drink a whole 2-liter by themselves. Click here to find out more about the negative affects of soda.

Other conducted studies show that those who consume sugar-sweetened beverages are more at risks for developing diabetes. [11] This may be due to the fact that high fructose corn syrup is present in almost all drinks.

Click here to learn which foods and drinks do not contain high fructose corn syrup.

Cancer

Sugar is proven to cause cancer when eaten in excess amounts

It’s unfortunate that too much sugar in a diet can cause obesity, which greatly raises your risk of developing cancer. [12] Also, high sugar diets increase inflammation throughout the body and can result in insulin resistance. Both of these factors increase the risk of cancer. [13]

A study involving 430,000 people found that consumption of added sugar was absolutely connected to an increased risk of pleural cancer, esophageal cancer, and cancer of the small intestine. [14]

Another study concluded that women who ate sweet buns and cookies as often as three times a week or more were 1.42 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer compared to those who ate those sweets less that .5 times per week. [15]

Depression

Our diet is direct associated with how we feel. A healthy diet promotes healthy brain function and improved moods, while a diet full of processed foods and sugar (such as cakes, sugary drinks, and cookies) can increase your risk of developing depression. [16]

There many reasons researchers believe sugar negatively impacts mental health including: neurotransmitter dysregulation, inflammation, and blood sugar swings. [17]

An extensive study that was done over a time period of 22 years involving 8,000 people showed that men who consumed 67 grams of sugar a day or more were 23% more likely to suffer from depression than those who consumed less than 40 grams per day. [18]

Another study including over 69,000 women showed that those with the most added sugar intake had a way higher risk of depression than those with the lowest. [19]

Fatty Liver Disease

Since fructose is usually broken down in the liver, it has been linked to fatty liver disease. The liver converts the fructose into energy or stores it as glycogen. However, the liver has a limited amount of space to hold glycogen before it turns to fat. Fatty Liver disease occurs when too much fructose overloads the liver and causes excessive fat buildup.

A study involving more than 5,900 adults showed those who drank sugar-sweetened beverages every day had an increased risk of developing fatty liver disease by 56% than those who did not drink those beverages. [20]


 

Reduced Energy Levels

Foods full of sugar, but lacking in fiber, protein, or fat lead to a short energy boost. However, that boost of energy is followed by a quick drop in blood sugar, otherwise known as a crash. Consistent spikes and drops in blood sugar lead to fluctuations in energy levels and negatively impacts mental health.

If you want to avoid this cycle that leaves you drained of energy, eat carbs that are rich in fiber and low in added sugars.

Kidney Disease

Unfortunately, having too much sugar in your blood can damage the blood vessels in your kidneys. This can increase your risk of developing kidney disease. [21]

Also, if you already have diabetes then too much sugar can cause kidney damage. Once insulin stops working, the body (out of desperation) attempts to flush the sugar out through the kidneys. Since sugar isn’t supposed to pass through the kidneys, it damages them. By damaging the kidneys, they can no longer do their job and filter out waste from your blood and results in kidney failure.

Please beware of soda. People who drink one or more sodas on a daily basis have a 23% higher chance of developing kidney stones compared to those who drink only one per week.

Joint Pain

Sweets with added sugar has been proven to worsen joint pain because it causes inflammation. Also, high sugar consumption can increase your risk for rheumatoid arthritis.

Arthritis can decrease your joint mobility and results in limited ability to do the necessary tasks of daily living.

Reduces Cognitive Functions

Too much sugar in the diet can hinder your ability to learn new things. This can severe consequences including getting in the way of your career goals.

Many children who have excess sugar in their diets can have behavioral issues including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Tooth Decay

Massive amounts of sugar in the diet is associated with the development of cavities. The bacteria found in the mouth feed on the sugar and release acid byproducts. This causes tooth demineralization. [22] It eats away at your enamel and leaves your teeth vulnerable to cavity formation.

Lowered Immune System

We already covered the increase of inflammation in the body due to high sugar levels. However, this inflammation can affect your immune system and cause it to decline in function. If you are sick often or constantly getting catching the common cold, consider high sugar consumption a culprit.

Gout

Gout is a condition that causes inflammation and extreme pain in the joints. Added sugars found in foods can raise uric acid levels and increase the risk of worsening or developing gout. [23]

Faster Aging Symptoms

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are formed by reactions between protein and sugar in your body. They play a key role in skin aging. By consuming a high sugar diet, your skin will age prematurely. [24] This is because AGEs damage elastin and collagen. These proteins help your skin stretch and continue to look young. When these become damaged, the skin decreases in firmness and sagging begins.

A study done showed women who ate more carbs with added sugars achieved a more wrinkled appearance than those who had a diet rich in protein and low in carbs. [25]

Inflammation

When your body triggers an inflammatory response, it can lead to increased anxiety, stress, and depression. Also, sugar causes inflammation in the brain which can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Lack Of Nutrients

Foods high in sugar typically are low in nutrient density. They don’t benefit the body much. On the other hand, foods low in sugar are usually high in nutrients. Therefore, you can end up without the essentials your body needs to function if you constantly consume foods that are high in sugar.

Increased Headaches

Are you suffering from headaches or migraines more than once per month? Consider too much sugar as a possible reason.

Forgetfulness

Diets high in sugar can cause impaired memory and are associated with an increased risk of developing dementia. [25] This is because sugar-rich diets are directly connected with how our brain retains short and long-term memories. [26]

Conclusion

Added sugars can cause a wide array of negative health effects including:

  • Acne
  • Heart Diseases
  • Weight Gain
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Fatty Liver Disease
  • Reduced Energy Levels
  • Kidney Disease
  • Joint Pain
  • Reduced Cognitive Function
  • Tooth Decay
  • Lowered Immune System
  • Gout
  • Faster Aging Symptoms
  • Inflammation
  • Nutrient Deficiency
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Forgetfulness

Removing excess sugar from your diet is a great way to promote health and live a better life. While reading this list, did you realize you have any of these symptoms from added sugar consumption? Please share any comments or questions below. Also, feel free to share to anyone you think would benefits from reading this article. Thank you so much!

References:

  1. https://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nhp/documents/sugar.pdf 
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4884775/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22070422
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17448569
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3712514/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4856550/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22291727
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21705069
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4166864/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3584048/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3969361/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3773450/
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3595327/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3494407/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21765006
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24743309
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3903110/
  18. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28751637/
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26109579
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26055949
  21. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439375
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3893787/
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25928993
  24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28420091
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17921406
  26. https://today.oregonstate.edu/archives/2015/jun/fat-sugar-cause-bacterial-changes-may-relate-loss-cognitive-function


 

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4 thoughts on “Sugar And The Body

  1. This is great information! I recently had most of my pancreas removed, and as a result, I have pre-diabetes and eating sugar makes me terribly ill. I have been researching sugar a lot more now and been very interested in the effects it has on the body. It’s crazy to me how sick it makes me now that my pancreas is less capable of digesting sugars. Just out of complete curiosity… eating table sugar makes me really sick almost instantly. Cookies, cakes, ice cream, chocolate, sweetbreads, etc. I cannot have more than a bite or two. Fruit is totally fine. I can have as much as I want. Then there’s Soda and coffee creamer, which only make me sick after I have far too much (like when I just keep sipping without paying attention)… but Soda and Coffee with creamer have been the thing I go to when I really have a hankering for something sugary. I’m assuming it has to do with the fact that the sugar is high fructose corn syrup instead of granulated sugar? Would you have any idea why this doesn’t affect my pancreas the same way? No problem if you don’t have an answer, but you seem to know a lot about the subject and I’m curious 🙂 Thanks!

    1. You may be right. High fructose corn syrup is created in such a way that there is not digestion needed. It absorbs directly to the blood stream and the fructose go straight to the liver. Because of this, it may take your pancreas longer to react to it. I’m not 100% sure, but I think you should try experimenting with other types of sweeteners like acesulfame potassium and stevia. Hopefully they will help you enjoy foods without feeling incredibly sick.

      If you want to know more about high fructose corn syrup, click here: https://arielshanelle.com/dangerous-high-fructose-corn-syrup/
      If you want to know about how soda impacts the body click here: https://arielshanelle.com/reasons-you-should-quit-soda-today/

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