Consuming sugar puts the body at higher risk for more than just gaining weight. Too much sugar damages the body in ways that can contribute to the development of heart disease, pre-diabetes, cancer, kidney, and liver diseases, and can even accelerate aging.
The United States ranks as having the highest average daily sugar consumption per person. About 90% of individuals in the U.S. eat more than the government’s 10% healthy guideline on a daily basis. The current average sugar consumption per day is 25.28 teaspoons, nearly 12 teaspoons more than recommended.
Sugary drinks are among the biggest culprits. Many people think that just means soft drinks, but did you know that energy drinks contain far more sugar? A 20 oz. serving of Coke contains about 16 teaspoons of high fructose corn syrup. In comparison, the average 20 oz. energy drinks can contain 54 to 62 grams of high fructose corn syrup!
Given the severity of long-term damage caused by sugar on the body’s entire health system, we want to wrap up National Nutrition Month (March) by sharing some hard facts about sugar’s dangerous impact.
How Does Sugar Affect Your Health?
So, how can sugar affect your health? Here is our round-up of 14 surprising ways sugar affects all systems of the body:
- A large number of clinical studies have found consistent data that changes in body weight correlate directly with increasing or decreasing our sugar intake.
- Fructose is known to induce leptin resistance. Leptin plays an important role in regulating hunger and appetite. Suppressing leptin release can produce a “bottomless” eating problem, and increase the risk of developing obesity.
- A 15-year longitudinal study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that individuals had more than twice the risk of dying from heart disease if they consumed 25% or more of their total daily calories from sugar.
- Fructose is known to increase uric acid buildup in the body. Research studies have shown that men who drink two or more servings of soft drinks a day are 69% more likely to develop gout than men who drink 5 to 6 servings a week.
- High sugar intake can lead to chromium deficiency. Because chromium is an important mineral that helps regulating blood sugar level, the deficiency increases the chance of individuals to suffer from hyperglycemia and even develop pre-diabetes symptoms. Research studies have shown that high sugar diets can increase urinary Chromium loss by as much as 300 percent.
- Sugar is known to suppress the immune system. Just consuming 100 grams of sugar (similar to the amount found in a medium soft drink) can suppress the functioning of white blood cells by 40% for at least five hours.
- Sugar accelerates the cellular aging process. By measuring cell telomere lengths, scientists can find out the aging speed of an individual. In a study of 5,309 individuals, those who drank sugary drinks on a regular basis were shown to have much shorter telomere lengths than individuals who do not drink sugary drinks.
- Glucose is known to amplify cortisol secretion during a psychological stress event. Researchers have been able to test and measure the cortisol level before and after a stressful exercise. Unlike protein and fat, glucose increased cortisol levels by almost 4 times from 5 nmol/l to 23nmol/l.
- High fructose consumption is linked to non-alcoholic liver disease. Longitudinal studies have found that daily fructose consumption is directly related to increased risk of liver inflammation in individuals that are already suffering from fatty liver disease.
- High intake of fructose is linked to a significant increased risk of developing certain types of cancer such as brain cancer, pancreatic cancer (up to 53% increased risk), oral cancer (increased 10 to 15%), and prostate cancer (increased 33% risk).
- Scientific research shows that 50 grams of fructose (approximately the amount of fructose in a single 24 oz. soda) is able to drain the liver ATP that is responsible for metabolism, turning nutrients into usable energy for the body, and detoxifying the body of waste products. Consequently, without the needed ATP, the liver cannot process the nutrients in food, and the body becomes devoid of vitamins and minerals. Sensing the lack of energy, the body will increase hunger signals and stimulate appetite for the intake of more calories.
- Clinical research studies have found that as much as 50% of the American population is unable to digest 25g of pure fructose. The resulting symptoms are diarrhea, bloating, indigestion, and damage to the stomach and intestinal lining causing poor absorption of nutrients.
- Different types of sugar have different effects on diabetes risks. Studies have shown that sucrose, lactose, and maltose were not associated with diabetes, whereas glucose and fructose were the main risk concerns. In a 12 year longitudinal study, the combination of the two increase the risk by as much as 86 percent.
- Having consistently high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels in your kidneys. This can lead to an increased risk of kidney disease.
How Can You Stop Cravings and Curb Sugar Addiction?
The supplement we suggest most often for various addictions, including food and sugar, is Crave Control. In addicted individuals, brain neurotransmitter levels may be so depleted that diet alone cannot provide the amino acids necessary to restore balance.
Crave Control contains key amino acids and precursors (5-HTP, Glutamine, Tyrosine and dl- Phenylalanine) plus vitamins B6 and C to help convert those amino acids into the brain neurotransmitters involved with mood, energy levels, appetite modulation, and cravings.
It also contains key “neuro-nutrients” that supply the brain with raw materials needed for normal neurotransmitter production. With neurotransmitters at normal levels, cravings become fewer and weaker, thinking is clearer, and feelings are more positive and focused. Sleep also often improves.
Crave Control contains targeted amino acids specifically needed by the body to manufacture dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. By providing nutrients for replenishing neurotransmitter stores, Crave Control helps restore brain chemistry balance and related feelings of well-being and satisfaction. Chromium picolinate is also present to aid in blood glucose management.