Everything in excess is bad for your health. We recommend people to stay closer to mother nature. Eat natural food. Increase intake of foods that don’t require cooking – fruits, vegetables, and salad. So, eat natural sugar as present in natural foods. You should not eat white sugar. Because it is made in industries. Industries cannot make healthy foods; they can only make chemicals and food that should not exist. In this article, Dt. Sneha discusses the harmful effects of sugar on the body. After reading it, you might think to stop eating sugar. – Dr. Jagdev Singh
Sugar has become a crucial part of our diets and quitting it can be challenging for most of us. This sweet poison contributes to a host of negative health effects.
Today, each household kitchen has a jar of sugar without which, they cannot function. Every morning this jar is opened to sweeten a cup of tea or coffee or milk. No one remembers or even knows the taste of these beverages without sugar.
Free sugar intake of 10% of the total energy consumption is advised by the World Health Organization. But, so many people around the world cross this limit every day and continue to do so. (1)
We all know that sugar has several side effects and disadvantages and is not good for our body weight, but there are even more disadvantages of sugar on health, let’s have a look:
White Sugar May Impair Your Cognitive Health
A diet high in refined sugars can impair certain types of memory in healthy subjects, says research. It was further found that a high intake of carbohydrates in the form of refined sugar has been associated with lower cognitive function and dementia.
A high intake of refined sugar for a prolonged period of time may induce inflammation, which can impair the memory and lower cognitive performance.
Hippocampus, a part of the brain, which is involved in the formation of new memories is sensitive to inflammation. Production of pro-inflammatory markers can have a negative impact on the hippocampus and the way it functions.
Hence, kicking refined sugar out of your diet may improve your cognitive skills. (2)
Excess Sugar Causes Insulin Resistance and Diabetes
Scientific evidence suggests that excessive intake of processed foods rich in added sugar is a chief dietary factor driving the rising epidemic of diabetes.
Overeating and entry of excess calories coming from refined sugar into the system can increase the accumulation of fat in the liver and the muscles. The release of insulin signals the body to store excess calories as fat. Therefore, sugar intake causes the release of insulin in the body and hence, it promotes the accumulation of fat in the body.
This reduces insulin sensitivity and makes the cells insulin resistant. Hence, glucose cannot enter into the cells and it ends up staying in the bloodstream, thus raising the blood glucose levels. (3, 4)
Refined Sugar May Increase the Risk of Heart Diseases
Overconsumption of added sugars is undoubtedly a contributing factor to cardiovascular diseases.
Research has found that a diet containing 25% or more calories from added sugars nearly triples the risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.
Animal and human studies have found that sugar intake increases fasting insulin levels, reduces insulin sensitivity, increases blood glucose concentrations and reduces cellular insulin binding. In other words, consuming added sugars causes worsening of insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, which are the major risk factors for heart diseases.
Studies have also found that individuals with diabetes mellitus have a higher frequency of severe narrowing of the left main coronary artery. This artery supplies blood to the left side of the heart and any damage caused to this artery may affect the functioning of the heart.
Hence, sugar consumption can weaken the heart and interfere with its functionality. (5)
Sugar Intake Causes Premature Aging of The Skin
Excess intake of sugar causes a surge in the insulin levels. This increases the activity of several pro-inflammatory compounds, which raise the level of inflammation in the body.
The inflammatory compounds produce certain enzymes that breakdown collagen and elastin, which are the skin proteins responsible for strength, elasticity and firmness of the skin.
Thus, excess sugar intake may accelerate premature aging of the skin and give rise of signs of premature skin aging like dark spots, wrinkles, fine lines and pigmentation.
Besides this, insulin also boosts skin oil production and makes the skin more prone to acne. Hence, more the sugar in a person’s diet, more insulin will be produced, which will give rise to inflammation and damage the overall skin health.
In order to boost your skin health and keep acne at bay, completely avoid refined sugar and add skin-friendly foods to your diet. (6)
Sugar Intake May Hamper Your Immunity
Excess sugar intake may lower the efficiency of white blood cells and other immune cells that protect the body against foreign particles and other harmful toxins. This reduces the ability of the body to fight against infections and diseases and makes the body more prone to illnesses. (7)
Sugar Intake may Lead to Fatty Liver Disease
Excess sugar intake is the mediator of non-alcohol fatty liver disease. Studies have found that sugar stimulates the accumulation of fat in the liver.
It was further found that one can even induce fatty liver with a calorically restricted diet if the diet is high in sugar.
Research has observed that eating a diet low in added sugar reduces the activity of pro-inflammatory compounds and overall inflammation in the liver. This causes the regeneration of liver cells and reduces hardening of the liver.
Low sugar intake also improves the functionality and structure of the liver. Hence, the liver health of individuals with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease can be improved by quitting refined sugar intake. (8)
Sugar Intake May Raise the Blood Pressure
We have always blamed salt for a rise in the blood pressure, but overconsumption of sugar is also a culprit in raising the blood pressure. Here are the mechanisms via which, sugar may increase your blood pressure:
Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages for a prolonged period of time may lead to weight gain. Weight gain causes an increase in the blood volume, which increases central venous pressure and arterial pressure. This gives rise to high blood pressure.
Sugar-sweetened beverages reduce excretion of sodium, which may lead to volume expansion. Excess sodium may lead to constriction of arteries, which causes a rise in the blood pressure. (9)