Harmful effects of Sugar on the Body
Latest researches and WHO findings have shown that sugar poses far greater harmful effect on the body than just cavities and love handles; it is a toxin that harms our organs and affects the body’s usual hormonal system.
WHO recommends around 5 grams (1 teaspoon) of sugar a day. Anything more and it can lead to major Health issues.
Much of the sugars consumed today are “hidden” in processed foods that are not usually seen as sweets. For example, 1 tablespoon of ketchup contains around 4 grams (around 1 teaspoon) of free sugars. A single can of sugar-sweetened soda contains up to 40 grams (around 10 teaspoons) of free sugars.
What is artificially added Sugar?
Foods like milk, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts have natural sugar in it. These foods also provide vitamin, minerals and fibers, so consuming natural sugar is not a matter of concern. Artificially added Sugar is…
1 :: Artificially added Sugar is a carbohydrate, which gives energy to the body. It provides, what nutritionist call empty calories, which means it has no nutritional benefits.
2 :: It is the added sugar, the one that is present in desserts, snacks, processed cereals, sweet beverages, energy drinks and sweetened fruit juices, that is the main culprit as it inundates the body with far more sugar than what can be metabolized efficiently.
3 :: Added sugar can be in the form of glucose, fructose, dextrose, sucrose, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup, maple syrup, molasses, fruit puree and fruit extracts. They sound healthy but are basically just sugar.
4 :: Most of us are consuming excessive sugar in the form of High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which is a highly processed form of sugar. It is cheaper yet 20% sweeter than regular sugar. That is why most of the food manufactures use it in their products. HFCS is regarded as a hepatotoxic and it metabolises into fat AND is known to be one of the biggest cause of all the new age Health issues.
A few harmful effects of Sugar on the Body
1: Cardiovascular complications
It is seen that Added sugar can initiate inflammation of the arterial walls by impairing insulin regulation. Altered insulin sensitivity can ravage the endothelial lining of the blood vessels. With damaged endothelial lining, all the multitude of heart diseases swarm into the scene.
Overindulgence of artificial sweeteners is also associated with dyslipidemia i.e. higher levels of triglycerides and lower level of HDL (good fats) – a strong risk factor for heart disease.
A 2014 National Health and Nutrition examination survey published in JAMA internal medicine, found that people who consumed more added sugar i.e. more than 25% of daily calorie intake were 3-times more likely to die from cardiovascular diseases than those consuming less than 10 % of daily calorie intake. While people consuming intermediate levels of added sugar had one-third higher risk, on an average.
A 2014 prospective cohort study published in the journal of nutrition, followed 68,000 healthy Swedish people (age group 45-83) for 10 years, and found that people who consumed more than 2 cups/d of sweetened beverages such as soft drinks, are having 20% higher risk of cerebral infarction than those who consumed rarely.
3: Hypertension (Elevated Blood Pressure)
A systematic review and meta-analysis of data from 12 clinical trials, published in the American journal of clinical nutrition 2014, researchers from New Zealand found that people who consumed relatively high amounts of sugar are having elevated blood pressure by 6-8 points. Another review paper in the journal open heart claimed that sugar probably contributes more to elevated blood pressure than sodium does.
4: Blood Cholesterol
A 2015 study published in American journal of clinical nutrition, found that sweetened beverages particularly containing high-fructose corn syrup significantly raised LDL cholesterol in young adults in just 10 days. A previous analysis of 30 clinical trials also concluded that sugar consumption is inversely associated with HDL level, independent of body weight.
A recent review of clinical trials in Mayo Clinic proceedings 2015, have confirmed that sweetened beverages containing added fructose is the “principal driver” of type 2 diabetes mellitus, as prolong usage of high fructose beverages contributes to metabolic problems including insulin resistance.
Moreover, it is estimated that every serving of sweetened beverages consumed daily for a considerable amount of time, increases the risk of type2 diabetes incidence by 22%, according to a 2015 study published in European journal Diabetologia.
Over consumption of sugar affects hormones and brain and is considered a perfect recipe for fat gain disaster. It is seen that fructose stimulates production of hormone Ghrelin, a hormone that keeps us hungry. It makes people addicted to sweetened food items and encourages people to eat more than required.
Fructose makes our Brain leptin resistant. Leptin is a hormone releases by fat cells and it gives signal to brain about fat deposition in body. When brain becomes leptin resistant then it doesn’t see stored fat and thinks that body is starving. This causes a powerful drive to keep eating even when we don’t want to.
Further, over consumption of sugar chronically elevates blood insulin level, which selectively deposits energy from food into fat cells and affects fats metabolism.
Added sugar is 11 times more potent at causing diabetes than general calories.
Total number of calories consumed is irrelevant. It’s the specific calories that count. When people ate 150 calories more every day, the rate of diabetes went up 0.1 per cent. But if those 150 calories came from a can of fizzy drink, the rate went up 1.1 per cent.
Sugar can even contribute to the loss of elasticity in body tissues, which causes sagging of skin. It does so by attaching itself with proteins by the process called glycation, and forming a new molecular structure contributing to loss of elasticity of skin, organs and arteries.
Studies have proved that excessive sugar intake can shorten telomere lengths.
Telomeres are the DNA caps present at chromosomal ends that protect DNA from damage. Shortened telomeres are associated with cellular aging, behavioral changes, stress, and chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and even cancer, as reported by a 2014 study published in American journal of public health.
8: Early Menstruation
A 2015 study of girls ages 9-14, published in human reproduction, found that girls who drank at least 18 ounces/day of soft drinks had their first periods almost 3 months earlier than those who rarely consumed it. Researchers controlled other contributing factors like weight, calorie intake, dietary patterns and exercise level.
Early menstruation is linked with high incidence of breast and endometrial cancer later in life.
9: Sperm count
Sugar sweetened beverages are related to low sperm counts, as stated by a 2014 study published in human reproduction. Study authors have attributed lower sperm count to excess body weight, dysregulated adipokine secretion, insulin resistance and increased systemic inflammation caused by sugar.
10: Tooth Decay
With all other life-threatening effects of sugar, we generally overlook the most basic damage it does to your teeth. Sugar is particularly very bad for teeth, as it provides easily digestible energy to bacteria residing in our mouth and creates decay and cavities more efficiently than any other food.
According to National institute of Dental and craniofacial research, when oral bacteria feed on sugar you eat, it by-producing acids can destroy tooth enamel, which if not checked can cause pain and tooth loss.
If you are addicted to sugar, don’t try to eliminate all at once, try to incorporate a healthy diet consisting of whole grains, fruits, vegetables etc. to overcome harmful effects of sugar on the body.