It seems like sugar is such a hot topic. Health experts are constantly talking about reducing sugar intakes, switching from one form to another, and more. What’s the truth though? How can someone possibly know what to avoid when it seems like we have to avoid everything?! No wonder so many people give up trying to live healthily! It’s too confusing!
I hear ya! But I’m here to break this sugar thing down the best I can so you can know exactly how to avoid sugar and which sugars to avoid.
First off, let’s take about the negative side effects of sugar and why you don’t want to eat it in excessive amounts.
How Is Sugar Bad For You & What Does It Do To The Body?
In today’s world, it’s no surprise sugar is in everything we eat. From soda pop to fruit juices, candy bars to granola bars; there is literally 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. 
Why? Because the food industry is more concerned about making a buck than our child’s health. I mean, if your child gets sick then the medical industry will be booming. It’s a win-win for them, but a lose-lose for us.
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. However, the average can of soda contains as much as 39 grams! Yikes!
So then, realistically, how are we supposed to drink things like soda and still live a healthy lifestyle? This part sucks, but you really can’t. Products like soda have no nutritional value and are void of anything healthy. I wish these kinds of products didn’t exist, but since they do, we just have to say no.
For example, I started removing all sorts of added sugar from my diet. 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.
The good news is once you rewire your taste buds, natural foods (like fruits) will taste so much better! I mean, waaayyy better!
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Does it seem like you’ve tried everything under the sun and still cannot get that annoying 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. 
Who would’ve known the foods we eat can have such a powerful effect on our skin?
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%  Also, studies prove that diets with low-glycemic (low sugar) levels are directly connected to a lower risk of developing acne. On the other hand, high-glycemic (high sugar) diets yield a much higher risk of producing acne. 
The next time you’re about to indulge in that entire box of chocolates, ask yourself if the acne you’ll experience afterward is worth it.
Did you know? Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide.  Yup, you read that correctly. Heart disease takes more lives every year than anything else. Think about that. What are you fearful of? Sharks? Fire? Natural disasters? Heights? Trust me, there is nothing in the world that poses a bigger risk to your health than the cereal killer named heart disease.
It sucks, but high sugar diets are proven to lead to inflammation, diabetes, high blood sugar and blood pressure levels, and high triglyceride. If you don’t know what these things are, they are warning signs that scream “deadly heart disease incoming!” Every one of these are risk factors for deadly heart disease. 
In the U.S., there are about 75 million adults suffering from high blood pressure right now.
Here’s how it works: when you eat a bunch of sugar, your body produces extra insulin. However, too much insulin can do some dangerous stuff to your arteries. It causes the walls of the arteries to grow faster than normal and get stiff, which adds stress onto your heart and causes damages over time. Ultimately, this leads to strokes, heart attacks, and heart disease. Yes, too much sugar can kill you.
But you’re not helpless. You can do something with this information! By consuming less sugar, you can lower your blood pressure (a major risk factor leading to heart disease). Keep in mind that 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. Watch your sugar intake levels and cut back as much as you can.
Another scary discovery: atherosclerosis, a disease in which arteries are clogged by fatty deposits, has been linked to the consumption of too much sugar. 
High sugar consumption absolutely leads to weight gain. You cannot achieve weight loss by eating a lot of sugar. But there are dangerous reasons why this occurs. When too much fructose (a form of sugar) is consumed, it can cause leptin resistance.
Q: What the heck is leptin?
A: It’s an extremely important hormone that monitors hunger and communicates with your body to stop eating once you’re full. You can compare it to a traffic light. When it’s green, it’s sending the signal that you’re hungry. When it’s yellow, it communicates with your body to slow down your food consumption. Once you’re full, it’s in full-blown red telling you to stop eating instantly!
If a person is suffering from leptin resistance, they won’t feel full and your body will continue eating way beyond their limit. More food intake = more calories = more weight gain. Gaining weight can lead to obesity which is a risk factor for all sorts of dangerous diseases.
Eating too much sugar lowers your metabolism and piles up fat storage. Your body is trained to store sugar as glycogen, but when your body is too full of glycogen, it has no choice but to convert it to fat. Since your body does not have a limit to how much fat it will store if you continue eating high amounts of sugar, it will continue to pack on the pounds. Therefore, if you notice your body is putting on more pounds than usual, reduce the amount of sugar you are consuming.
In the last three decades, the presence of diabetes worldwide has more than doubled.  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. 
Do you know anyone who is suffering from diabetes? It can be completely life-changing. My grandma even lost her eyesight due to this horrible disease. A family friend of mine experienced a heart attack and now has to give himself insulin shots every day. You should do everything you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones from this terrible disease.
Q: How does high eating sugar cause insulin resistance that leads to diabetes?
A: Insulin regulates blood sugar levels. Therefore, exposure to high sugar consumption over an extended 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 risk for diabetes when the body becomes insulin resistant.
You are worth more than you can ever imagine. Protecting your organs and health should be on the top of your priority list because if there’s no you, you can forget about the rest!
A study conducted over 175 countries found that the risk of developing diabetes increased by 1.1% for every 150 calories of sugar ingested per day.  That’s only about one can of soda! I know some people who can drink a whole 2-liter alone.
Other conducted studies show that those who consume sugar-sweetened beverages are more at risks for developing diabetes.  This may be due to the fact that high fructose corn syrup is present in almost all drinks.
Yes, sugar can cause cancer too. Unfortunately, too much sugar in a diet can cause obesity, which greatly raises your risk of developing cancer.  High sugar diets increase inflammation throughout the body and can result in insulin resistance. Both of these factors increase the risk of cancer. 
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. 
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 than .5 times per week. 
There are some things in this world we simply have no control over, but we do have control over what we put into our mouths. Please do the necessary research to ensure you and your children are eating the best foods possible.
Depression too? This is one of those things I wish I knew when I was suffering from depression. Our diet is directly associated with how we feel. While a healthy diet promotes healthy brain function and improved moods, a diet full of processed foods and sugar (such as cakes, sugary drinks, and cookies) can increase your risk of developing depression. 
Something to try: Go through your cabinets and take a look at the nutrition label on some of the products in there. Keep in mind that the daily recommended intake levels for men are under 38 grams per day and women are 25g. Some foods that are extremely high in sugar are fruit snacks, granola bars, honey buns, donuts, cookies, cupcakes, fruit juices, sodas, and cereals.
There are many reasons researchers believe sugar negatively impacts mental health including neurotransmitter dysregulation, inflammation, and blood sugar swings. 
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. 
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. 
Fatty Liver Disease
Since fructose is 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 converts it 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.  Yup, another reason to stay away from fruit juices and soda.
Reduced Energy Levels
Are you tired of feeling tired all the time? Have you ever drank an ‘energy drink’ just to feel super tired again shortly after? There’s a reason for that!
Foods full of sugar, but lacking in fiber, protein, or fat can lead to a short energy boost. But 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.
Too much sugar in your blood can damage the blood vessels in your kidneys. This can increase your risk of developing kidney disease. 
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.
Sweets with added sugar have been proven to worsen joint pain because it causes inflammation. Also, high sugar consumption can increase your risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
Arthritis can decrease your joint mobility and results in limited ability to do the necessary tasks of daily living. If you’ve been experiencing a lot of joint pain, consider eating a low sugar diet to see if that helps.
Reduces Cognitive Functions
Too much sugar in the diet can hinder your ability to learn new things. Say whaattt? The foods we eat literally touch every part of your body. These awful side effects can ruin your career or school goals.
Many children who have excess sugar in their diets can have behavioral issues including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). If your child is suffering from this, remove the extra sugar from their diet and see if that helps them improve. It’s worth a shot, right?
Cavities are no fun! They hurt and they force us to go to the dentist! Since high sugar amounts cause cavities, I make sure to stay away from it! I really don’t like getting my tooth drilled! The bacteria found in the mouth feed on the sugar and release acid byproducts that cause tooth demineralization.  It eats away at your enamel and leaves your teeth vulnerable to cavity formation.
If you want a beautiful smile, be mindful of what you put in your mouth.
Lowered Immune System
We already covered the deadly inflammation caused by high sugar levels. But did you know this inflammation can affect your immune system and cause it to decline? If you are sick often or constantly getting catching a common cold, consider high sugar consumption a culprit.
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. 
Faster Aging Symptoms
Uh oh! No one wants to look old and wrinkly at a young age (or ever)! 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.  This is because of 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. 
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.
Alzheimer’s Disease, AKA Type 3 Diabetes, is an extremely sad disease. It’s one that took the mind of two of my grandparents. I’m incredibly saddened that sugar can leave the victim unable to recognize their own children. When will this madness stop?
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. By eating foods that are high in sugar, you can end up without the essentials your body needs to function.
Are you suffering from headaches or migraines more than once per month? Consider too much sugar as a possible reason.
My husband used to constantly suffer from migraines every week. They were so painful that he couldn’t be around any lights or sounds. Once we began eating healthier and exercises, the migraines naturally went away.
Diets high in sugar can cause impaired memory and are associated with an increased risk of developing dementia.  This is because sugar-rich diets are directly connected with how our brain retains short and long-term memories.  Again, this relates to the fact that sugar causes Alzheimer’s Disease.
Added sugars can cause a wide array of negative health effects including:
- Heart Diseases
- Weight Gain
- Fatty Liver Disease
- Reduced Energy Levels
- Kidney Disease
- Joint Pain
- Reduced Cognitive Function
- Tooth Decay
- Lowered Immune System
- Faster Aging Symptoms
- Nutrient Deficiency
- Headaches or migraines
There are too many negative side effects of eating high amounts of sugar to continue doing it any longer. What are you going to do about it? Are you going to let the food industry destroy you and your family’s health? Or are you going to say, “No more” and go to war by purchasing better quality foods?
Think about it: If consumers stopped purchasing unhealthy foods, the food industry would have no choice but to stop making them. They’ll end up losing money if they continued to pump out products no one wanted.
And although we can’t change the world by ourselves, we can change our family tree, which is exactly what I intend to do.
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