Adding sugar to your foods is one of the worst health decisions you’ll ever make.
It is simply the unhealthiest ingredient in our meals.
There are virtually no health benefits of sugar, and it can raise your risk of several diseases significantly.
This article examines 10 of the most harmful effects of sugar and why it is bad for you.
1. Added Sugar is a Key Factor in Obesity
Research suggests that sugar may be the main driver of childhood obesity in the world. This is one of the main reasons why sugar is bad for you.
This may be due to the effects of sugar on the brain and hormones in the body.
Sugar is a highly addictive substance, which leaves you craving more of it. When you consume sugary foods, you may feel full initially, but after a very short period, you start to feel intense hunger.
This is because sugar is basically an empty calorie. It does not contain many essential nutrients.
Several studies suggest that you are at a much greater risk of becoming overweight or obese if you consume too much sugar.
There are numerous studies on the link between obesity and sugar. Some studies have found that sugar plays a significant role in obesity (a).
In one study, researchers suggest that the effect is strongest in children. Feeding your children sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks each day can a 60% increase in the risk of obesity (b).
If your goal is to lose weight, one of the best things to do is to cut sugar out of your diet completely.
Conclusion: Research suggests that sugar may be one of the biggest causes of obesity, especially in children.
2. Sugar May Cause Tooth Decay
Studies show that sugar may contribute to tooth decay. It acts as easy food for bacteria in the mouth that cause tooth decay (c).
Another reason sugar is bad for you is that it can lead to nutrient deficiency if you consume too much of it. Sugar is a refined carbohydrate, which is considered a bad carb in the good carbs vs. bad carbs battle.
It does not contain fiber, essential fats, protein, minerals or vitamins.
Sugar makes the bacteria in your mouth very active, causing tooth decay and bad breath.
Conclusion: Sugar is a high-calorie ingredient, with no beneficial nutrient. Sugar can cause tooth decay and bath breath.
3. Added Sugar May Be Bad For Your Liver
A good understanding of the constituents of sugar may shed some light on why it is so bad for you.
The primary constituents of sugar are fructose and glucose.
· Glucose: You’ll find glucose in all living organisms. Glucose is naturally present in the human body.
· Fructose: Unlike glucose, fructose serves no useful purpose in our body. Hence, our body does not produce it in large quantities.
When you eat large amounts sugar, only the liver can metabolize fructose in significant quantities.
There’s no issue with eating small quantities of sugar. The liver can handle that. Also, sugar may not be an issue when you consume it during exercise. This is because the body converts the sugar into glycogen, which it stores in the liver for use as energy in the future (d).
Too much glycogen in the liver is bad. When this happens, the liver converts excess glucose into fats (e).
Continuous consumption of high levels of sugar can result in fatty liver and other adverse health issues (f).
Eating fructose from fruit does not have the same effect because it’s virtually impossible to eat that level of fructose from fruits.
Also, the effect varies in different types of people. Highly active individuals can cope with the consumption of high levels of sugar without many health issues. However, if you don’t exercise or perform other physically demanding tasks, and you eat mainly junk food, then your risk of sugar-related health issues is much higher.
Conclusion: If you are an inactive person who eats meals with high amounts of sugar, you are at an increased risk of fatty liver disease and other adverse health issues.
4. Sugar May Cause Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
The fructose in sugar is bad for your liver. It may be converted to fats in the liver, which is then transported to other parts of the body as “very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL). VLDL is a type of cholesterol.
However, some of the fats remain in the liver.
This may cause a condition known as Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) to develop. Studies link NAFLD to some digestive illnesses (g).
Conclusion: Some of the fats produced in the liver does not leave the liver, which can cause a condition known as NAFLD.
5. Added Sugar May Lead to Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
Another reason sugar is bad for you is its link to insulin resistance, a risk factor for several diseases like diabetes and metabolic syndrome.
Insulin plays an important role in our bodies.
It helps regulate blood sugar and informs the body to burn glucose, instead of fats, for energy.
Elevated levels of blood sugar are bad. It is a major contributor to some diabetes complications, such as blindness.
When you eat high-carb, high-sugar diets, it can lead to what is known as insulin resistance. When this happens, insulin in the body doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to work.
Insulin resistance is a major risk factor for several chronic diseases like obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. It is the main cause of type-2 diabetes (j).
Conclusion: Excess sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance, which is a major risk factor for several serious illnesses. This is one of the reasons you should avoid adding sugar to your meals.
6. Sugar is a Major Contributor to Type 2 Diabetes
Our bodies produce excess insulin when we develop insulin resistance. This is important because it helps to keep blood sugar levels low.
But as you consume more sugar, insulin resistance gets to a stage where the pancreas just can’t produce enough insulin to counter the rising blood sugar levels.
This leads to extremely high levels of blood sugar, which leads to type 2 diabetes diagnosis.
Conclusion: Research shows that excess sugar consumption is the main driver of type 2 diabetes in the western world.
7. Sugar May Cause Cancer
Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the world. Cancer involves the abnormal growth of cells, which can spread very quickly to other cells in the body.
One of the hormones that help regulate cell growth is insulin.
Some researchers believe that elevated levels of insulin may be a factor in the development of cancer (o).
Conclusion: Some scientific evidence suggests that the high consumption of sugar may put you at a greater risk of cancer.
8. Sugar May Be As Addictive is Some banned Drugs
Most people don’t know just how addictive sugar is. They subconsciously crave sugar just as a heroin addict needs their fix.
Sugar has a similar effect on the brain as some illegal drugs. It causes the body to produce elevated levels of the hormone dopamine (t).
The level of dopamine produced from the consumption of sugar is much higher than what other foods may produce (u).
And because dopamine controls the brains reward and pleasure centers, we easily get addicted to sugar. This is more the case in people who are already susceptible to addiction (v).
Once you become addicted to sugar, it becomes very difficult to moderate your intake. The only way you can manage it is to stop taking sugar completely.
There are even centers that cater to rehabilitating sugar addicts.
This potential addiction is one of the reasons why sugar is bad for you.
Conclusion: People, particularly those predisposed to addiction, can get addicted to sugar, which makes it very difficult for them to moderate their intake. This puts them at a higher risk of sugar-related illnesses.
9. The Effects of Sugar Can Promote The Accumulation of Fat
Different foods can affect our brains and food-intake regulating hormones different (w).
Research suggests that fructose affects satiety differently to glucose.
One study looked at the effect of both substances on satiety. One group was given drinks with added fructose, and another group was given drinks with added glucose.
Researchers observed that participants in the fructose group felt hungrier after a short period (x).
In a different study, researchers found that glucose caused a bigger fall in the levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin than fructose (y).
Conclusion: When you get a large proportion of your calories from refined sugar, you will end up eating more calories throughout the day because of increased hunger. This can cause fat to build up.
Sugar may be sweet and help us to enjoy some of our foods better, but fundamentally sugar is one of the worst nutrients to put in your body.
Unless it’s for therapeutic purposes, or you are a highly active person, sugar is bad for you.
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