Why Is Added Sugar Really Bad For Your Health?

Many diseases women and men suffer today are because of excess sugar consumption.

The added sugar used in soft drinks, energy drinks, ice creams, confectionery sweets, processed foods, etc., is a big threat to our health.

As per the recommendations of the American Heart Association, women should limit their regular ‘added sugar’ consumption to 100 calories (6 teaspoons) and 150 calories (9 teaspoons) for men. By consuming more than this added sugar daily, you are inviting severe health issues.

Even normal sugar, 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 have about nine teaspoons of added sugar. It means that just 300ml soda daily will let you cross that 100 calories of permitted ‘added sugar’ consumption daily.

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.

Sugar Leads To Insulin Resistance

Insulin is an important hormone that helps and prompts the body cells to use blood sugar or glucose to burn it to produce energy.

With the help of beta cells, the pancreas organ 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 begin 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 steadily increase blood sugar levels as the person consumes more sugar during the day.

This insulin resistance of the body cells can give rise to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and obesity.

Studies have shown that sugar consumption in a large amount causes insulin resistance. The constant efforts of the insulin hormones to use up the blood sugar make the body cells resistant to it.

Suppose the sugar consumption is at a healthy amount. In that case, there is no need for the insulin hormone to exert additional pressure on body cells to use up the extra blood glucose. So there is no possibility of cells becoming resistant to insulin.

Added Sugar Causes Type II Diabetes

More than 100 to 150 calories of added sugar daily 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 produce more insulin to keep the sugar level in the blood balanced.

But if we keep consuming more and more sugar (both natural and added sugar), insulin resistance becomes extreme, and the pancreas will fail to produce insulin.

In such a scenario, the blood sugar level skyrockets and goes much above the healthy level, and this stage are Type II Diabetes per se.

The WHO estimates that more than 83% of Type II diabetes worldwide is caused by excessive sugar consumption through sugary beverages and processed food with added sugar.

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 brain’s functioning related to appetite inducement and metabolism.

Sugar intake leads to a tremendous decrease in satiety and tenacious inducement toward food addiction. Most importantly, sugar adds up to many calories in the body that will eventually become fat storage.

Obesity and excess sugar consumption go hand in hand. You can observe in most obese people have a lot of sugar-rich diets than slim people.

Several studies 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, avoid all diets and beverages with added sugar. Especially the belly fat will begin to disappear quickly if you cut down on sugar-rich food.

Sugar Increases Bad Cholesterol

Until a few years back, most nutritionists and dietitians vehemently supported and propagated the theory that saturated fats cause heart ailments.

But then, recent studies and research have shown that the impact of saturated fats on heart diseases is very insignificant. Now it is more evident that polyunsaturated fats and sugar harm the heart more than anything else.

The erratic metabolic process in the body is initiated and aggravated by fructose. The fructose usually found in fruit juices and beverages leads to triglyceride rise (dense and oxidized LDL Cholesterol).

It is also found that fructose increases glucose levels in the blood and promotes belly fat storage.

Most observational studies have shown strong evidence of an association between sugar and the increased possibility of heart disease.

Added Sugar Can Causes Cancer

Added Sugar

Maintaining healthy levels of sugar intake is important to maintain healthy metabolism and insulin hormone production.

One of the important hormones controlling cell growth in the body is insulin. Most types of cancers are caused by uncontrolled growth or the destruction of cells.

We already know that excess sugar intake will lead to unhealthy levels of a rise in insulin hormone.

Insulin is 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.

Extra Sugar Damages The Liver

Sugar's Effect On Liver

Before entering the bloodstream, the sugar we consume is broken down into two simple sugars in the digestive tract: glucose and fructose.

The liver can only metabolize fructose in significant amounts.

The sugar in fruits and syrups is mostly fructose. The little fructose is not a problem as it will soon be 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 storage in the liver.

Fatty liver is a disease that is often caused by fructose. The other reason that causes 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 time, the increased amount of fat stored in the liver becomes a disease known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), a metabolic disease.

Most studies on NAFLD have shown that excess fructose is 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 people who live a sedentary life and follow high calories diet are at risk of fructose converting into liver fats.

Added Sugar Damages the Brain And Hormones

Sugar Causes Brain Damage

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 despite the high calorie already consumed.

On the other hand, glucose is more satiating and filling than fructose.

Sugar also causes dopamine release, which helps develop addiction habits in the brain. The more sugar you consume, the more urge for more is created again, especially at the particular time of the day when you usually have food.

Final Thought

Shall we not avoid added sugar altogether?

One of the peculiarities of sugar is the lack of any vitamins or nutrients in it. The added sugar provides us with 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 disease 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 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 enough to make you start avoiding added sugar-rich diets from now. Start drinking more water and avoid soda for better health.