How Does Excess Sugar Affect Your Body

Sugar is very much an integral part of our daily diet. Most of us take sugar in our morning tea or coffee. It is one of the major constituents in the packaged processed food we love dearly. Excess sugar is consumed every day, without the knowledge of, “How Does Excess Sugar Affect Your Body?”

We are so oblivious that we keep harming our bodies daily. It is now time that we learn to care for our bodies.

How Does Excess Sugar Affect Your Body – In Bullet Points

  • Increase in risk of Diabetes
  • May Increase The Risk Of Cancer
  • Increasing body fat
  • Skin problems and ageing
  • Frequent hunger
  • Mood Disorders
  • Increase in teeth problems
  • Addiction of Sugar

Increase In Risk Of Diabetes

When you ingest sugar in any form, it travels through your oesophagus into the stomach, leading into the intestine. During the process, sugar breaks down into glucose and later, gets absorbed into the bloodstream. This glucose is required by all the body cells to function well.

When glucose enters the bloodstream, it increases the blood sugar level. Due to which, a signal is sent to the Beta Cells of the Pancreas to release the hormone, Insulin.

Insulin is responsible for rendering your Blood Sugar to a healthier level. It also acts as a supplier of glucose to your cells.

Common Types Of Diabetes

  1. In Type 1 Diabetes, Beta Cells do not function well or cease to function. Hence, Blood Sugar Level increases due to insufficient Insulin or absence of Insulin.

  2. In Type 2 Diabetes, Insulin is present, but, it is incapable of passing Glucose through to the Cells, due to damaged Insulin Receptors or their absence.

    Insulin Receptor act like a gate to the cells and Insulin acts as a key to that gate. So, your Blood Sugar Level remains high.

In general, Diabetes can cause the following:

  • Heart-Related Problems
  • Kidney Damage
  • Nerve Damage
  • Impaired Vision
  • Pancreas Malfunction
  • Loss Of Consciousness

Evidence in Studies:

An Evidence Map of Research Linking Dietary Sugars to Potentially Related Health Outcomes

By: David J TyborAndrew R BeauchesneRuijia Niu, Marissa M Shams-White, and Mei Chung

Sugar intake is associated with progression from islet autoimmunity to type 1 diabetes: the Diabetes Autoimmunity Study in the Young

By: Molly M. LambBrittni FrederiksenJennifer A. SeifertMiranda Kroehl, Marian Rewers, and Jill M. Norris

May Increase The Risk Of Cancer

How Does Extra Sugar Affect Your Body-Cancer

Evidence is negligible in terms of the correlation between sugar and cancer. On the other hand, research does indicate, high blood sugar level and increment in Insulin due to excessive sugar intake, which is dangerous to Insulin-resistant individuals. The sudden spike in Insulin increases the Insulin-like Growth Hormones, which help cancer cell grow.

Anyhow, sugar can give rise to belly fat which can favour cancer and other diseases.
Read More Here: https://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/diet/sugar-and-cancer-risk.html

Increasing Body Fat

If you consume excessive sugar, your body is going to store the excess as body fat.

In general, Men gain fat around their bellies and chest. On the other hand, women tend to store fat around their arms, hips, and thighs.

But, excess sugar contributes to Visceral fat. Visceral fat is the fat which deposits around the vital organs such as, stomach, intestine, pancreas and liver. Visceral fat adversely increases health problems.

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Skin Problems And Ageing

How Does Extra Sugar Affect Your Body- Skin Problems

Too much sugar consumption is associated with several skin problems:

  1. Your skin may remain dry, and cracks may appear.
  2. Allergic reactions are also common.
  3. Acne seems to persist on the skin, leaving marks and blemishes.
  4. As your sugar levels are high, you are much more prone to bacterial and fungal infections.
  5. It will make you look much older than people of your age by giving you wrinkles.

Frequent Hunger

How Does Extra Sugar Affect Your Body- Hunger

Sugar has no nutritional value. It does not contain any proteins, vitamins, minerals and fibres. That is why Sugar is nothing but empty calories.

Because it does not have any nutritional values, we tend to get hungry frequently and eat more often. As a result, we only end up fat. On the other hand, it makes Leptin ineffective. Leptin is the hormone that tells our brain that our stomach is full.

So, without Leptin our desire to have more food persists.

Mood Disorders

How Does Extra Sugar Affect Your Body- Mood Disorders

If your sugar consumption is high, you might not be able to continue without sugar, and this may lead to mood disorders.

Too much sugar may cause you to be angry and irritable. Only when you have sugar in any form, you feel the sense of pleasure, or happiness, otherwise, you get cranky.

Eating more sugar makes you fat, and you are debilitated physically. This debilitation, coupled with sugar addiction makes your mood swing frequently.

Increase In Teeth Problems

Devouring too much sugar can erode your teeth and cause cavities. Tooth decay can manifest itself due to the acids produced by the bacteria present in the mouth by feeding on sugar.

Evidence In Studies

The Association between Diabetes, Sugar Sweetened Beverages and Tooth Loss in Adults: Evidence from 18 States

By: R. Constance Wiener, MA, DMD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Chan Shen, PhD, Assistant Professor, Patricia A. Findley, DrPH, Associate Professor, Usha Sambamoorthi, PhD, Professor, and Xi Tan, PhD, Assistant Professor

Association between added sugar intake and dental caries in Yup’ik children using a novel hair biomarker

By: Donald L. Chi, Scarlett HopkinsDiane O’BrienLloyd ManclEliza Orr,and Dane Lenaker

Addiction Of Sugar

How Does Extra Sugar Affect Your Body- Adddiction

Sugar is addictive. Studies show that the effect on the brain to sugar is similar to street drugs. That is why some people have sugar cravings, repeatedly within a brief period of time. The ingestion of sugar makes behavioural changes.

To know about such studies click below:

Sugar Addiction: From Evolution to Revolution
By David A. Wiss, Nicole Avena, and Pedro Rada

Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake
By Nicole M. AvenaPedro Rada, and Bartley G. Hoebel

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So, How Much Sugar Is Healthy?

WHO Guideline On Sugar Intake
Sugars intake for adults and children
Guideline

Authors:
World Health Organization


According to WHO recommendations,  adults and children should reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.

Free sugars refer to monosaccharides (such as glucose, fructose) and disaccharides (such as sucrose or table sugar) added to foods and drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.

What Are Hidden Sugars?

We consume many things in our lives daily. Many people have made a regular habit of ingesting sweet tasty things A few of those things are :

  • Fruit Juice/Carbonated Soft Drinks
  • Chocolates/Candies/Biscuits/Cakes/Sweets/Ice Cremes
  • Packaged Cereals/Tomato Ketchup/Health Drinks

These are the things we consume daily. But, often we tend to have them multiple times a day. Normal ketchup consists of about 30% sugar that is 500gm pack will consist of 150gm sugar. A 300 ml Soft Drink bottle contains 30-35 gms of sugar. Health Drinks meant to be consumed with water or milk contain 30-40gms of sugar per 100gms, in some cases even more.

An average packaged fruit juice contains 150gms sugar per Litre. Packaged cereals also contain 18-25% sugar.

Names of sugars we need to be aware of:

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS): Combination of fructose and glucose is called High Fructose Corn Syrup. It is a product of corn.
  • Sucrose: Glucose and Fructose are combined to make Sucrose. It is another name of table sugar.
  • Fructose: It is a naturally occurring sugar in fruits, honey, sugarcane and a few vegetables.
  • Glucose/Dextrose: It is commonly formed in plants by photosynthesis. Most carbohydrates consumed by us are broken down into the simple sugar Glucose. It circulates through our bloodstreams.
  • Lactose: Lactose is the sugar present in milk. It is composed of Glucose and Galactose.
  • Maltose: Combination of two Glucose molecules is Maltose. It is present in many beverages, candies and milkshakes.

Consumption of sugar in excess amounts is bad for your health. More importantly, the type of sugar is very critical to your body. The worst kind of sugar is High Fructose Corn Syrup(HFCS), which is cheaper and sweeter than the white table sugar. It is the combination of Fructose, the sweetest of all sugars with Glucose.

In many countries, labels of content on packaged food and drinks do not specify the type of sugars. For better health, consumption of Natural Sweeteners like Stevia and Honey is encouraged.

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Conclusion

So, now we know that extra sugar affects your body in various adverse ways. WHO also recognises the issue and the health complications related to it. We should restrict our sugar intake and also the hidden sugars contained in the packaged food and drinks. We should read the contents label of the processed packaged food and drinks, and know about the amount of sugar in them before we buy them.

Diabetes control by the regulation of sugar intake alone is not possible. Consumption of Carbohydrate must be controlled. Adequate exercise and a healthy lifestyle is the key to a prosperous long life.

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