“The average American—this includes every man, woman, and child—consumes 42 teaspoons of sugar each day” (Thrash M.D).
Sugar appears to be the only material that consumes so much of the world’s territory while providing so little value to humans. Sugarcane is the world’s third most profitable crop after cereals and rice, occupying 26,942,686 hectares of land worldwide, according to the most recent data. Aside from economic riches, this actual product is a worldwide public health disaster that has been in the works for generations.
Sugar comes from a tropical plant that resembles bamboo, called sugar cane. This plant grows in places with tropical climates such as Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and Hawaii. Photosynthesis that occurs in the sugar cane leaves produces cane juice. Farmers extract the cane juice, then refine, filter, and crystallize it into golden, raw sugar at the facility.
Obesity, as well as ailments such as cancer, dementia, heart disease, and diabetes, has spread to every country where sugar-based carbohydrates have come to dominate the food industry.
Sugar occurs naturally in all carbohydrates, such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy. It is OK to consume complete foods that include natural sugar; because these foods are slowly digested by your body, therefore the sugar in them provides a consistent source of energy to your cells. Also, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains lowers the risk of chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and several cancers.
Adverse effects of too much sugar intake
Researchers discovered a link between a high-sugar diet and an increased risk of dying from heart disease in a 2014 research published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Over the course of the 15-year trial, people who consumed 17% to 21% of their calories as added sugar had a 38% greater chance of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar.
“The more additional sugar you consume, the greater your risk of heart disease,” Dr. Hu explains.
The exact mechanism by which sugar impacts heart health is unknown, although it appears to have multiple indirect links. High sugar levels, for example, overburden the liver. “Your liver metabolizes sugar in the same way that it metabolizes alcohol, and it transforms dietary carbs into fat,” explains Dr. Hu. This can lead to an increase in fat storage over time, which can lead to fatty liver disease, a contributor to diabetes, and an increased risk of heart disease.
Can lead to fatty liver
High fructose consumption increases the risk of fatty liver. In contrast to glucose and other sugars, fructose is almost entirely broken down by the liver. Then, the body converts fructose into energy or stores it as glycogen in the liver. However, the liver can only store so much glycogen before it converts it to fat.
Large levels of added sugar in the form of fructose overwhelm your liver, causing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a disorder marked by excessive fat deposition in the liver. Research of over 5,900 adults found that persons who consumed sugar-sweetened drinks on a regular basis had a 56% increased chance of getting NAFLD.
Can cause weight gain
Added sugar, particularly from sweetened drinks, is a major contributor to rising obesity rates. Sugar-sweetened beverages, such as sodas, juices, and sweet teas, are high in fructose, a simple sugar. Fructose, the main form of sugar found in starchy foods, boosts your appetite and desire for food more than glucose.
Excess fructose consumption may also lead to resistance to leptin, a critical hormone that controls appetite and signals your body when to stop eating. In other words, sugary beverages do not satisfy your appetite, making it easier to eat a large number of liquid calories rapidly, which results in weight gain.
It May increase your risk of depression
According to researchers, excessive sugar intake can lead to depression; this happens because of blood sugar fluctuations, neurotransmitter dysregulation, and inflammation.
A 22-year study of 8,000 participants found that males who ate 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than men who ate less than 40 grams per day.
Another research of about 69,000 women found that those who consumed the most added sugars had a considerably higher risk of depression than those who consumed the least.
May accelerate skin aging process
Wrinkles are a normal part of the aging process. They will appear regardless of your health.
Poor eating choices, can exacerbate wrinkles and hasten the aging process of the skin.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are chemicals created in your body by interactions between sugar and protein; they play an important role in skin aging. A diet heavy in refined carbohydrates and sugar promotes the creation of AGEs, which may cause your skin to age prematurely.
For instance, collagen and elastin are proteins that help the skin stretch and retain its young look. AGE’s destroy collagen and elastin, which results in the skin losing its firmness and it begins to droop.
In one research, women who consumed more carbohydrates, including added sugars, appeared wrinkled than those who followed a high-protein, low-carb diet.
Can increase cellular aging
Telomeres are structures that are present at the ends of chromosomes, which are molecules that contain some or all of your genetic information. Telomeres serve as protective caps that keep chromosomes from degrading or fusing together and normally shrink as you age, causing cells to age and malfunction.
Although telomere shortening is a natural component of aging, bad lifestyle choices can hasten the process. Sugar consumption has been proven to hasten telomere shortening, which accelerates cellular aging.
A study of 5,309 people found that drinking sugar-sweetened drinks on a frequent basis leads to lower telomere length and accelerated cellular aging. In fact, each daily 20-ounce (591-ml) serving of sugar-sweetened soda is equivalent to 4.6 more years of aging.
Drains your energy
Products high in sugar but low in protein, fiber, or fat provide a transient energy spike followed by a significant drop in blood sugar, sometimes referred to as a crash. Choose carbohydrate sources that are low in added sugar and high in fiber to prevent this energy-draining loop.
Another wonderful strategy to keep your blood sugar and energy levels constant is to combine carbohydrates with protein or fat.
It May increase your risk of cancer
Excess sugar consumption may raise your chance of acquiring some cancers. For starters, a diet high in sugary foods and beverages can lead to obesity, which increases your risk of cancer dramatically. Furthermore, high-sugar diets create inflammation in the body and may lead to insulin resistance, both of which raise the risk of cancer.
A vast study of 430,000 adults revealed that added sugar consumption increased an individual’s risk of developing esophageal cancer, pleural cancer, and small intestine cancer.
According to another study, women who ate sweet buns and cookies more than three times per week were 1.42 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women who ate similar items fewer than 0.5 times per week.
Increases your risk of type 2 diabetes
Over the last 30 years, the global prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled. There is a definite correlation between excessive sugar consumption and diabetes risk. Furthermore, long-term high-sugar consumption leads to insulin resistance, a pancreatic hormone that controls blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance raises blood sugar levels, increasing your risk of diabetes significantly. Population research including over 175 nations discovered that for every 150 calories of sugar ingested per day, or roughly one can of soda, the chance of getting diabetes increased by 1.1 percent.
Increase the risk of kidney disease
High blood sugar levels might cause these arteries to constrict and clot over time. When there is insufficient blood, the kidneys suffer damage, and albumin (a form of protein) gets through these filters and ends up in the urine, where it should not be.
Can negatively impact dental health
Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sobrinus are two forms of harmful bacteria found in the mouth. Both forms of bacteria feed on sugar and build plaque. If it is not removed from your teeth by brushing or saliva, it will ultimately turn acidic and eat away at the enamel of your teeth.
Sugar, which also produces enamel-eating acids, attracts the microscopic bacteria that cause gingivitis and gum disease. These conditions can cause your gums to recede away from your teeth and ruin the protective tissues that keep your teeth in place.
Can accelerate cognitive decline
According to some studies, excessive sugar consumption increases inflammation in the brain, resulting in memory problems. The good news is that the inflammatory damage caused by sugar may not be permanent. Furthermore, a 2015 study published in the journal Nutrients discovered that limiting sugar consumption and supplementing with omega-3 fatty acids and curcumin enhances working memory.
Can compromise your immune system
Sugar surges inhibit your immune system, individuals with impaired immune systems become ill more often. If you consume a lot of sugary or refined carbs, which the body converts to sugar, you may be weakening your body’s capacity to fight disease.
Can cause acne
A diet heavy in refined carbohydrates, especially sugary meals and drinks, increases your risk of acne development. Sugary diets rapidly raise blood sugar and insulin levels, resulting in increased androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which contribute to acne formation.
A study of 2,300 teenagers, for example, found that those who often drank additional sugar had a 30 percent higher chance of getting acne. Furthermore, several demographic studies have indicated that rural groups who eat traditional, unprocessed foods have no acne as compared to more urban, high-income areas.
These data support the idea that diets heavy in processed, sugary foods lead to acne development.
What is the source of your additional sugar?
Below is a list that shows where individuals get most of their sugar from. The table was created based on data obtained by the Central Disease Center (CDC) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 2005 and 2006.
|Proportion of average intake
How to eliminate sugar
Reading food labels is one of the most effective methods to keep track of your sugar intake. Look for the following names for added sugar and attempt to avoid or reduce the quantity or frequency with which they are found:
- brown sugar
- corn sweetener
- corn syrup
- fruit juice concentrates
- high-fructose corn syrup
- invert sugar
- malt sugar
- syrup sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose).
Total sugar, including added sugar, is frequently stated in grams. Keep track of the sugar grams per serving as well as the overall number of servings. The package may indicate 5 grams of sugar per serving, but if the average quantity is three or four portions, you can ingest 20 grams of sugar and hence a substantial amount of added sugar.
Also, keep note of how much sugar you put in your food or beverages. Beverages, such as coffee and tea, account for over half of all added sugar. According to research published in May 2017, almost two-thirds of coffee drinkers and one-third of tea drinkers use sugar or sweet flavorings in their beverages.
Eating too much added sugar can have many harmful health consequences. Excessive consumption of sweetened foods and drinks can result in weight gain, blood sugar issues, and an increased risk of heart disease, among other severe illnesses. For these reasons, added sugar should be avoided whenever feasible, which is simple when you follow a whole-food-based diet.