Sugar Health Effects : what you need to know

Too much of something is dangerous. This expression is too cliché that hearing it once more might make it meaningless. However, in the case of sugar, it really is dangerous when taken constantly in excessive amount.

Most of the food and beverages produced today contain added sugar. Sugars in our daily diet can be seen in many names as recognized by the FDA. Excessive intake of these can cause some metabolic problems and is contributory to the development of all sorts of diseases. The American Heart Association suggests that the daily intake of sugar should not exceed 150 calories for men and 100 calories for women.    

While sugar gives a more desirable taste to our food, it brings more perils than benefits to our health.

Sugar is High in Fructose

Added sugar has little or no essential nutrients and has high fructose content. Fructose as compared to glucose is only metabolized by the liver. There is no problem taking fructose in small amounts. However, too much of it may disable the liver to convert fructose into glycogen and may be forced to produce fat instead. Repeated excessive intake of fructose may cause a serious problem of developing a non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Current observational studies debunk the beliefs that saturated fat is the main reason of developing a heart disease. Studies show that too much amount of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense and oxidized LDL, glucose and insulin levels in just ten weeks. All of these are major factors for heart disease. After all, the culprit is sugar not fat.

Sugar Triggers Diabetes Development

Glucose is considered as the brain fuel – providing energy to the brain, neurons and developing red blood cells. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the body’s glucose and fat use. Most of the body cells rely on insulin to take glucose for energy. Too much glucose in the blood is toxic in the body. When insulin fails to do its normal job, it drives the development of many diseases such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome and type II diabetes.

Sugar is addictive and makes you crave more

Sugar can be addictive and makes you crave more. In a study where two groups were observed, one group with fructose-sweetened drink and the other with glucose-sweetened drink, fructose drinkers were observed to have felt hungrier.

Another study showed that sugar stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as cocaine and heroin. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that controls the brain’s reward and pleasure center. As sugar causes the release of dopamine, too much sugar means too much production of dopamine. Too much presence of dopamine in the brain causes addiction in a lot of people.

Sugar can cause cancer

 The insulin’s failure to perform its job leads to the progression of cancer cells metastatic process. Some studies support that people with high sugar intake are more likely to develop cancer. Continuing studies are being conducted and yet to pin down sugar as a culprit to cancer development. However, scientists suggest that people who eat more sugary foods have high risk of getting cancer.

Everything we eat should be in moderation. While sugar is sweet, too much of it is dangerous.


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