Excessive intake of added sugar can lead to cardiovascular disease. Read on here how too much sugar can impact your body & health.
Sugar is naturally present in all foods that have carbohydrates, like fruits and vegetables, grains, and dairy.
But eating whole foods that contain natural sugar is okay. Because besides sugar – plant foods also contain significant amounts of fiber, essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants and dairy foods contain protein and calcium. As your body digests these natural foods slowly, the sugar in them offers a steady source of energy to your body cells. A high intake of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains also has been shown to lower the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.
What Is Added Sugar?
When I talk here sugar in context of your health, I am not talking about sugar that occurs naturally in foods – generally speaking that’s not the real problem.
The real problem is refined sugar and added sugar that manufacturers add in various foods during the production process – such as to enhance their flavor, sweeten them or extend their shelf life. Also bad is table sugar, wherefrom you get a dose of sugar in its pure form.
Top Sources Of Added Sugar
Some examples are soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cookies, cakes, candy, and most other processed foods. However, added sugar is also found in other items that you may not think of as sweetened, like bread, soups, ketchup and cured meats.
The result: you intake way too much of added sugar.
Why Eating Too Much Sugar Is Bad For Your Health?
Mostly people link excessive sugar intake with obesity and diabetes, but one area that may surprise you is how sugar can have a serious impact on your heart health.
Impact On Your Weight
Added sugar, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages, is believed to be one of the main causes for obesity.
Sugary drinks such as sodas, juices and sweet teas contain substantial amount fructose, a type of simple sugar.
Fructose present in theses processed products enhances your hunger and desire for food much more than the natural sugar.
Furthermore, excessive consumption of fructose can make you resistant to leptin, an essential hormone that regulates your hunger and tells your body when to stop eating.
In other words, sugary drinks are unable to regulate your hunger, making it easy to intake a high number of liquid calories quickly – resulting into weight gain and obesity
Many studies have shown that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages, like soft drinks, soda and canned juice, weigh more than people who don’t.
Moreover, drinking a lot of sugary beverages is associated with an increased amount of visceral fat, a kind of deep belly fat linked with conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Impact On Your Heart
High-sugar diets have been found to be associated with an enhanced risk of heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide.
There are a large number of studies to show that high-sugar diets can cause obesity, inflammation, excessive triglycerides, fatty liver disease, high blood pressure levels and increased blood sugar— all risk factors for heart attack and stroke.
Moreover, intake of too much sugar, particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages, has been found to be associated with atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by fatty, artery-clogging deposits.
Too much sugar intake can lead to obesity, which is considered a major risk for type 2 diabetes.
Further more, prolonged high-sugar diet makes you resistant to insulin, a hormone produced by your pancreas that regulates your blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance causes increased blood sugar levels, strongly enhances your risk of diabetes.
A population study involving over 175 countries observed that the risk of developing diabetes increased by 1.1% for every 150 calories of sugar, or about one can of soda, consumed a day (Source 1).
A diet rich in sugary foods and beverages may raise your risk of developing certain cancers.
First, a high sugar diet can cause obesity, which considerably increases your risk of cancer (Source 4).
Moreover, high sugar diets enhance inflammation in your body and may lead to insulin resistance, both of which raise cancer risk ( Source 5).
A study involving over 430,000 people showed that added sugar intake was certainly linked to an enhanced risk of esophageal cancer, pleural cancer and cancer of the small intestine (Source 6).
Another study observed that women who eat cookies and sweet buns more than 3 times a week were 1.42 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women who eat these foods less than 0.5 times a week (Source 7).
Research on the connection between added sugar consumption and cancer is still ongoing, and more studies are needed to fully understand this complex relationship.
Excessive Intake Of Fructose Can Cause Fatty Liver
A high consumption of fructose (a type of sugar) has been consistently found to be linked with an enhanced risk of fatty liver.
In your liver, fructose is converted into energy or stored as glycogen. But the liver can only store so much glycogen before excess amounts get converted into fat.
So, if you intake large amounts of added sugar in the form of fructose – it can overload your liver leading to excessive fat buildup in your liver causing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (Source 8).
A study involving over 5,900 adults found that people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages daily had a 56% higher risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, compared to people who did not (Source 9).
Sugar is one of the main reasons for tooth decay.
To prevent tooth decay, cut down the amount of drinks and food that have free/added sugars – such as sweets, cakes, biscuits, jams, sugary breakfast cereals, chocolates, honey and fruit smoothies.
The sugars contained naturally in fruit and vegetables are less likely to damage your teeth, as they’re contained within the structure.
But when fruit and vegetables are juiced or blended into a smoothie, the sugars are released. Once released, these sugars can cause tooth decay.
Squashes sweetened with sugar, fizzy drinks, soft drinks and juice drinks have no place in a child’s daily diet.
A very useful video explaining how to lower your Bad Cholesterol (LDL):
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me age is just a number!”