10 Bad Effects of Sugar to Your Body
July 10, 2017
1. Overloads Your Liver.
The fructose—a component of table sugar. All the fructose you eat gets shuttled to the only organ that has the transporter for it: your liver. This severely taxes and overloads the organ, leading to potential liver damage or to a condition known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
2. Damages Your Kidneys
If you have diabetes, too much sugar can lead to kidney damage. The kidneys play an important role in filtering your blood sugar. Once blood sugar levels reach a certain amount, the kidneys start to let excess sugar into your urine. If left uncontrolled, diabetes can damage the kidneys, which prevents them from doing their job in filtering out waste in your blood. This can lead to kidney failure.
3. It Hammers Your Heart
Added sugars cause excess insulin in the bloodstream, which takes its toll on your body’s circulatory highway system, your arteries. Chronic high insulin levels cause the smooth muscle cells around each blood vessel to grow faster than normal and get tense, which adds stress to your heart and damages it over time. This can lead to heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.
Research also suggests that eating less sugar can help lower blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease. Plus, people who eat a lot of added sugar (where at least 25% of their calories comes from added sugar) are twice as likely to die of heart disease as those whose diets include less than 10% of total calories from added sugar.
4. Your Teeth
You probably rolled your eyes at age 12, but your mother was right: Candy can rot your teeth. Certain harmful bacteria love nothing more than to feed on the sugar you just ate, creating acids which destroy the enamel on your teeth. You need your enamel, as the hard, shiny coating protects your teeth. However, once the acids start to eat away at it you will begin to get cavities in your teeth. If left untreated, the cavities will progress through the enamel and into the sensitive deeper layers of the teeth, causing pain and ultimately even tooth loss.
5. Primes Your Body For Diabetes
Insulin is a very important hormone in the body. It allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells from the bloodstream and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. But having too much glucose in the blood is very harmful and one of the reasons for complications of diabetes.
Insulin stops working as it should. The cells become “resistant” to it. This is also known as insulin resistance, which is believed to be a leading driver of many diseases. Many studies show that sugar consumption is associated with insulin resistance, especially when it is consumed in large amounts
6. Promotes Cholesterol Chaos
There is an unsettling connection between sugar and cholesterol. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, after excluding people with high cholesterol and/or diabetes and people who were highly overweight, those who ate the highest levels of added sugars experienced the biggest spike in bad cholesterol levels and dangerous triglyceride blood fats, and the lowest good (HDL) cholesterol levels. One theory? Sugar overload could spark your liver to churn out more bad cholesterol while also inhibiting your body’s ability to clear it out.
7. Sugar Turns You Into a Junkie
Eating sugar gives your brain a huge surge of a feel-good chemical called dopamine, which explains why you’re more likely to crave a candy bar at 3 p.m. than an apple or a carrot. Because whole foods like fruits and veggies don’t cause the brain to release as much dopamine, your brain starts to need more and more sugar to get that same feeling of pleasure. This causes those “gotta-have-it” feelings for your after-dinner ice cream that are so hard to tame.
For this reason, people who have a susceptibility to addiction can become strongly addicted to sugar. While, those who avoid sugar often report having little or no cravings for sugary things and feeling emotionally balanced and energized.
8. Your Mood
The occasional candy or cookie can give you a quick burst of energy or “sugar high” by raising your blood sugar levels fast. When your levels drop as your cells absorb the sugar, you may feel jittery and anxious the “sugar crash”. Studies have linked a high sugar intake to a greater risk of depression in adults.
9. Contributor to Obesity
It tricks your body into gaining weight and affects leptin signaling. The way sugar affects hormones and the brain is a recipe for fat gain disaster. Fructose fools your metabolism by turning off your body’s appetite-control system. It fails to stimulate insulin, which in turn fails to suppress ghrelin, or “the hunger hormone,” which then fails to stimulate leptin or “the satiety hormone.” This causes you to eat more.
Research shows that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages tend to weigh more than those who don’t. One study even found that people who increased their sugar intake gained about 1.7 pounds in less than 2 months.
10. Sugar Can Give You Cancer
Insulin is one of the key hormones in regulating this sort of growth. For this reason, many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin can contribute to cancer. In addition, the metabolic problems associated with sugar consumption are a known driver of inflammation, another potential cause of cancer.
One study found that fructose is readily used by cancer cells to increase their proliferation – it “feeds” the cancer cells, promoting cell division and speeding their growth, which allow the cancer to spread faster. Multiple studies show that people who eat a lot of sugar are at a much higher risk of getting cancer
What is a Safe Amount of Sugar to Eat Per Day?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Some people can eat some sugar without harm, while others should avoid it as much as possible. The World Health Organization recommends we aim to consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day.
To put that into perspective, one 12oz can of coke contains 140 calories from sugar, while a regular sized snickers bar contains 120 calories from sugar. If you are healthy, lean and active, these seem like reasonable amounts. You’ll probably burn off these small amounts of sugar without them causing you much harm.
Now that you know the negative impacts refined sugar can have on your body and mind, you’ll want to be more careful about the foods you choose. And the first step is getting educated about where sugar lurks. When it comes to convenience and packaged foods, let the ingredients label be your guide, and be aware that just because something boasts that it is low in carbs or a “diet” food, doesn’t mean it’s free of sugar. Low-Fat or Diet Foods, foods that have had the fat removed from them are often very high in sugar.
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