As per the recommendations of the American Heart Association, women should limit the regular ‘added sugar’ consumption to 100 calories (6 teaspoons) and 150 calories (9 teaspoons) for men. You are inviting severe health issues for yourself by consuming more than this amount of added sugar per day.
Even the normal sugar, which is usually found in grains, fruits, milk, etc., is bad for health if consumed excessively. It can lead to the development of diabetes or aggravate the diabetes conditions already existing.
Most of us simply gulp down a lot of soda without knowing that just 9 ounces of soda has about nine teaspoons of added sugar. It means that just 300ml soda a day will let you cross that 100 calories of permitted ‘added sugar’ consumption per day.
Added sugar is one of the worst food ingredients in today’s diet. Several fatal diseases are developed due to the excess consumption of sugar.
Let us have a brief examination of the major health issues arising out of excessive sugar consumption.
Extra Sugar Leads To Insulin Resistance
Insulin is an important hormone that helps and prompts the body cells to use blood sugar or glucose for burning it to produce energy.
Pancreas organ, with the help of beta cells, produces the right amount of insulin that efficiently functions to burn up the excess sugar from the blood in the body cells or else the extra sugar in the blood becomes toxic and causes diabetes.
The body cells may develop a syndrome where they began to resist the insulin at a normal level. Thus, the pancreas produces more quantity of insulin to overcome this resistance.
But if the resistance becomes more and more persistent, it will be beyond the capacity of the pancreas to produce more insulin. This will lead to a steady rise in blood sugar levels as the person keeps on consuming more sugar during the day.
Studies have shown that sugar consumption in a large amount causes insulin resistance. It is the constant efforts of the insulin hormones to use up the blood sugar that makes the body cells resistant to it.
If the sugar consumption is at a healthy amount, there is no need for the insulin hormone to exert additional pressures on body cells to use up the extra blood glucose and so there is no possibility of cells becoming resistant to insulin.[6,7]
Added Sugar Causes Type II Diabetes
More than 100 to 150 calories of added sugar intake per day can lead to insulin resistance. The beta cells in the pancreas produce more insulin when our body cells become resistant to insulin.
The increasing insulin resistance makes the pancreas to produce more insulin to keep the sugar level in the blood balanced.
But if we keep on consuming more and more sugar (both natural and added sugar), the insulin resistance becomes extreme, and the pancreas will fail to produce insulin beyond its capacity.
Added Sugar Causes Obesity
Every dietitian agrees that high calories contained in sugar are the major cause that accounts for obesity issues in most individuals.
It is scientifically proven that increased sugar consumption destabilizes the hormone balance in the body and the functioning of the brain related to appetite inducement and metabolism.
A lot of sugar intake leads to a tremendous decrease in satiety and tenacious inducement towards food addiction. Most importantly, sugar adds up a lot of calories into the body that will eventually turn into fat storages.
Obesity and excess sugar consumption go hand in hand. You can observe in most of the obese people that they have a lot of sugar-rich diets than slim people.
In several studies, it was proved that over 60% of obesity issues in children are because of sweetened beverages and sugar candies they consume.
If you are obese and want to shed a few kilos, start avoiding all diets and beverages with added sugar. Especially the belly fats will begin to disappear quickly if you cut down on sugar-rich food.[10,11,12]
Sugar Increases Bad Cholesterol And Causes Heart Diseases
Till a few years back, most of the nutritionists and dietitians vehemently supported and propagated the theory that saturated fats are the cause of heart ailments.
But the recent studies and researches have shown that the impact of saturated fats on heart diseases is very insignificant. Now it is more evident and clear that polyunsaturated fats and sugar do the most harm to the heart than anything else.
The erratic metabolic process in the body is initiated and aggravated by the fructose. The fructose usually found in fruit juices and beverages leads to the rise of triglycerides (dense and oxidized LDL Cholesterol).
It is also found that fructose increases glucose levels in the blood and promotes belly fat storage.
Added Sugar Can Causes Cancer
It is important to maintain healthy levels of sugar intake to maintain healthy metabolism and insulin hormone production.
One of the important hormones that control the growth of cells in the body is insulin. Most types of cancers are caused by uncontrolled growth or destruction of cells.
We already know that excess amounts of sugar intake will lead to the unhealthy levels of a rise in insulin hormone.
Insulin being a prime agent that contributes to the growth of cells if insulin levels remain high for a long period, it may lead to massive multiplication and growth of cells in certain areas of the body that will become a lump like a cancerous growth.
Added sugar consumption beyond 100 to 150 calories per day will also lead to an erratic metabolic process in the body which can cause cellular inflammation that can potentially help in the development of certain cancers.[17,18]
Extra Sugar Damages The Liver
Before entering the bloodstream, the sugar we consume is broken down into two simple sugars in the digestive tract, namely glucose and fructose.
The liver can only metabolize the fructose in any significant amounts.
The sugar in fruits and syrups is mostly fructose. The little amount of fructose is not a problem as it will be soon burned off or turned into glycogen to be stored in the liver.
But if the liver already has optimum glycogen storage, then the excess amount of fructose will be converted into fat storages in the liver.
Fatty liver is a disease that is often caused by fructose. The other reason that causes the fatty liver is alcoholic drinks.
The unused fructose turns into fat storage within the liver and, later on, some part of it will turn into VLDL cholesterol that will get added to the bloodstream. The rest that remains in the liver becomes solid fat deposits in the liver.
Over a period, the increased amount of fat storage in the liver turn into a disease knows as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), which is a metabolic disease.
Most of the studies on NAFLD have shown that excess fructose as one of the primary reasons for this disease.
Fructose is not a problem for people who live a very active life as most of the fructose will be burned off immediately. But for people who live a sedentary life and follow high calories diet is at risk of fructose converting into liver fats.[20,21]
Added Sugar Damages The Healthy Functioning Of Brain And Hormones
The glucose and fructose from the sugar affect the functioning of the brain and hormones differently.
The beverage that comes with fructose-rich added sugar does not affect the satiety centers in the brain. Fructose does not suppress the appetite either (ghrelin or peptide YY hormones not affected).
The whole lot of calories that the body receives through fructose is not filling. This is why a person drinking beverages will keep on drinking more and more without getting satiated in spite of high calorie that is already consumed.
On the other hand, glucose is more satiating and filling than the fructose.
The sugar also causes the release of dopamine that helps in developing addiction habits in the brain. The more sugar you consume, the urge for more is created again, especially at the particular time of the day when you usually have food.
Conclusion: Should We Not Avoid Added Sugar All Together?
One of the peculiarities of the sugar is a lack of any vitamins or nutrients in it. The added sugar provides us only empty calories that contain pure energy.
If more than 20% of your diet consists of added sugar-rich foods, then there is a strong possibility of vitamin and nutrition deficiency that you might suffer.
Studies have proven that people who have more than 25% calories as sugar in their daily diet are twice more likely to die of heart diseases than those on a normal diet.
The added sugar diet is extremely bad for metabolism and causes several fatal diseases; including cancer, cardiovascular ailments, and diabetes.
Most of the obesity issues, especially obesity in children, can be easily avoided if added sugar-rich diets and beverages are strictly avoided.
If you are sincerely ashamed of your bulging belly fat, start trimming your bulging belly by avoiding sugary diets.
All these reasons are more than enough to make you start avoiding added sugar-rich diets from right now. Start drinking more water and avoid soda for better health.