12+ Health Risks Linked to Excessive Sugar Consumption

If you find honey, eat just enough- too much of it, and you will vomit.” Proverbs 25:16

Everyone loves a little sugar every now and then. However in the U.S. our sugar intake has become excessive. This leads to all sorts of health risks for us. Ever wonder how sugar can hurt your health?  Let’s start with one you’ve heard all your life-

Sugar promotes tooth decay– You’ve heard it a thousand times. The more often you eat sugary foods the more energy you give the acid-forming bacteria in your mouth to form plaque. Plaque leads to tooth decay. This is caused by sugar as well as carbs.

Refined Sugar Has No Vitamins or Minerals Sugar displaces other healthier foods. People often eat sweets instead of other foods that are more nutritious and, as a result, their overall nutrition suffers.

Sugar Increases Your Risk of Western Diseases–  Excess sugar consumption has been associated with many serious diseases, including obesity, type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Sugar Harms Your Cholesterol and Triglycerides– Excess sugars gets converted to fat in your liver in the form of triglycerides. Refined sugar also lower your HDL (healthy cholesterol) Most of our cholesterol is produced in the liver. Too much of certain fats and sugar causes our liver to make too much bad cholesterol.

DSC00648

Sugar Causes Fat Deposits in the Liver– The liver turns fructose to fat. Some of the fat gets sent out, but part of it is stored in the liver. The fat builds up over time and can lead to Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. NAFLD is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in the U.S.

Added Sugar Supplies a Large Amount of Fructose– Fructose in small amounts is fine, such as in fruit,  but we are now eating it in large amounts. High fructose corn syrup is in many processed foods. Fructose is processed by the liver and the liver becomes overwhelmed. This leaded to fatty liver, insulin resistance, obesity and other conditions.

Sugar Causes insulin Resistance– Consuming large amounts of sugar will cause your blood sugar levels to spike.  This causes the pancreas to release insulin to help clear sugar from your blood into your cells. As the blood sugar levels goes down the insulin level returns to normal. However, when we eat lost of sugar, we’re constantly calling on insulin to do its job. Over time, it takes more and more insulin to get the job done and your pancreas isn’t able to keep up with the demand. Chronically high insulin causes our bodies to become less sensitive to insulin. This can lead to type 2 diabetes.

Sugar Can Be AddictiveDSC00649If you have ever tried to cut out sugar, you know this is true. Sugar triggers dopamine which controls the pleasure center in the brain. The causes people to have a sweet tooth and want more and more sugar. Addiction is evidenced in binging, withdrawal, cravings and sensitization to sugar.

Sugar Suppresses Your Immune System– When you eat a big dose of sugar you lower your immune system’s ability to respond for up to 5 hours. So if you are eating large amounts of sugar several times a day, your immune system is not functioning very well.

Sugar Promotes Inflammation, Glycation, and Aging – Because sugar has to go somewhere, it grabs on to protein molecules forming toxic molecules called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). They are found in all organs and trigger massive inflammation causing damage and premature aging.

Excess Sugar Linked to Cancer– There is disagreement as to whether sugar feeds/causes cancer. More research needs to be done. It is agreed however, that sugar causes obesity, insulin resistance, etc. which can cause certain cancers.

Slows the Brain– A steady diet high in fructose slow the brain, hampering learning and memory.

There are other risks such as adrenal fatigue causing increased stress levels, suppressing human growth hormoneyeast infections, leptin resistance and breakouts.

You get the idea. Too much sugar is bad for you!  Cut back.

But wait, how much is excessive? How much is a healthy amount? Are some sugars better than others? We’ll cover that in another post.

Resources:

Alpert and Farris. The Sugar Detox.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673600040411

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=199317

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/HealthyEating/Added-Sugars-Add-to-Your-Risk-of-Dying-from-Heart-Disease_UCM_460319_Article.jsp#.Vi0tBaJbsVU

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2673878/

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/sugar-intake-raise-cholesterol-levels-4101.html

http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/2/1/5

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/26/11/1180.abstract

http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/weight/reduce_weight_cancer_link.html

http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/this-is-your-brain-on-sugar-ucla-233992

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