Sugar in moderation can be beneficial, but too much can lead to weight gain, acne, type 2 diabetes and an increased likelihood of several serious medical conditions.
1. ) Sugar Can Cause Weight Gain
Obesity rates worldwide are on the rise, and research suggests that added sugar – often from sweetened beverages – plays a significant role in this epidemic. Sugary beverages like sodas, juices and sweet teas often contain fructose – a type of simple sugar. Consuming fructose, the main type of sugar found in starchy foods, increases hunger and craving for food more than glucose does. Animal studies suggest that excessive fructose consumption could potentially impair leptin, the hormone which regulates hunger and signals your body when to stop eating. Sugary beverages do not satisfy hunger, making it easy to consume an abundance of liquid calories quickly – which could ultimately lead to weight gain. Studies have demonstrated a connection between drinking sugary beverages and weight gain as well as an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Drinking excessive amounts of sugar-sweetened beverages has been linked to an increased amount of visceral fat, the type of deep belly fat associated with conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
2. ) Sugar May Increase Your Risk for Heart Disease
According to studies, high-sugar diets have been linked with an increased risk of many diseases, including heart disease – the leading cause of death worldwide. Evidence indicates that high-sugar diets can contribute to obesity and inflammation as well as elevated triglycerides, blood sugar, and blood pressure – all of which are risk factors for heart disease. Additionally, excessive sugar intake – particularly from sugar-sweetened beverages – has been linked to atherosclerosis, a disease marked by fatty deposits on artery walls. A study of over 25,877 adults revealed that those who consumed more added sugar had an increased risk of developing heart disease and coronary complications compared to those who consumed less added sugar. Increased sugar intake not only puts you at greater cardiovascular risk, but it may also raise your stroke vulnerability. According to the same study, more than eight servings per week of sugar-sweetened beverages were linked with increased stroke risk. One 12-ounce 473ml can of soda contains 39 grams of sugar, or 8% your daily caloric intake based on a 2,000-calorie diet. One sugary beverage per day can bring you close to exceeding the recommended daily limit for added sugar intake.
3.) Sugar Correlates with Acne
A diet high in refined carbs, particularly sugary foods and drinks, has been linked to an increased risk of developing acne. Foods with a higher glycemic index, such as processed sweets, cause your blood sugar level to rise more quickly than those with a lower index. Consuming sugary foods can cause a surge in blood sugar and insulin levels, increasing androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation – all of which play a role in acne development. Studies have demonstrated that low-glycemic diets are linked to a reduced acne risk, while high-glycemic diets increase this vulnerability.
4.) Sugar Can Increase Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a leading cause of mortality and reduced life expectancies. Its prevalence has more than doubled in 30 years, and projections indicate its burden will continue to increase. Excess sugar consumption has long been linked to an increased risk of diabetes. Although no definitive proof exists that sugar consumption causes diabetes, there is evidence to support its association. Consuming excessive sugar can indirectly increase diabetes risks by contributing to weight gain and increased body fat – both of which are known to be risk factors for developing the condition. Obesity, which is often caused by excessive sugar consumption, is considered the strongest risk factor for developing diabetes. Furthermore, chronically high-sugar consumption causes resistance to insulin – a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood glucose levels – an important regulator. Insulin resistance can lead to elevated blood sugar levels and an increased risk of diabetes. Research has also demonstrated that people who consume sugar-sweetened beverages are significantly more likely to develop diabetes.
5.) Sugar May Increase Cancer Risk
Eating excessive amounts of sugar may increase your risk for certain cancers. First and foremost, a diet high in sugary foods and beverages can lead to obesity, which greatly increases your risk for cancer. Consuming a diet high in sugar can increase inflammation in your body and may lead to insulin resistance, both of which have been linked to an increased cancer risk. A systematic review of 37 prospective cohort studies found that added sugar increased cancer risk between 60%-95%, as evidenced by two out of five studies examining it. According to a review of 15 studies on sugary foods and beverages, 8 of 15 showed an increased cancer risk associated with greater consumption of these drinks. Other studies have discovered a causal connection between sugar intake and certain types of cancer. A study of over 22,720 men over 9 years revealed that increased sugar consumption from sweetened beverages was linked to an increased risk of prostate cancer. Another study discovered esophageal cancer to be significantly linked to increased consumption of sucrose (table sugar) and sweetened desserts and beverages.
6.) Increase Your Risk of Depression Through Sugar Consumption
Eating healthy can help lift your spirits, but a diet high in added sugar and processed foods may contribute to changes in mood and emotions. Your anxiety could even increase your likelihood of experiencing depression. High sugar intake has been linked to cognitive impairments, memory problems, and emotional disorders like anxiety or depression. Researchers speculate that chronic systemic inflammation, insulin resistance and a disrupted dopaminergic reward signaling system – all of which can be caused by increased sugar consumption – may be at the root of sugar’s detrimental effect on mental health. A study of 8,000 participants revealed that men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than those who consumed less than 40 grams daily.
7.) Sugar May Accelerate the Skin Aging Process
Wrinkles are a universal sign of skin aging, regardless of age or health status. However, poor food choices can exacerbate wrinkles and accelerate skin aging. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are chemicals produced when sugar and protein interact in your body. They have been suspected to play an important role in skin aging processes. Eating a diet rich in refined carbs and sugar can increase the production of AGEs, potentially leading to premature skin aging. Aging causes damage to collagen and elastin, proteins that give skin its stretchiness and youthful appearance. Collagen and elastin damage can cause the skin to lose its firmness, leading to sagging at the edges.
8.) Sugar Can Accelerate Cellular Aging
Telomeres are structures found at the ends of chromosomes, molecules which contain part or all of your genetic information. Telomeres act as protective caps, shielding chromosomes from decay or fusion. As we age, telomeres naturally shorten, leading to cells that become aged and dysfunction. Telomere shortening is an inevitable part of aging, but certain lifestyle choices can accelerate this natural occurrence. Studies have indicated that eating an abundance of sugar can accelerate telomere shortening, leading to increased cellular aging.
9.) Sugar Depletes Your Energy Supplies
Foods high in added sugar can quickly raise blood glucose and insulin levels, providing a surge of energy. However, this boost of energy levels is only temporary. Products that are high in sugar but lacking protein, fiber or fat provide a brief energy boost that’s quickly followed by an abrupt drop in blood sugar – commonly referred to as “crashing.” Constant fluctuations in blood sugar can have major repercussions for energy levels. A meta-analysis investigating sugar’s impact on mood found that carbohydrate consumption, particularly sugar, reduces alertness within 60 minutes of consumption and increases fatigue within 30 minutes following ingestion. To break free of this energy-sapping cycle, opt for carb sources that are low in added sugar and high in fiber. Combining carbs with protein or fat is another effective way to maintain your blood sugar and energy levels. For instance, eating an apple and a handful of almonds is an ideal snack to maintain sustained energy levels.
10.) Sugar Can Lead to Fatty Liver
Frequent studies have linked an excessive intake of fructose to an increased risk for fatty liver. Fructose is a widely-used sugar, with one major source being high fructose corn syrup. This sweetener can be found in soda, candy, baked goods, cereals and more – perfect for adding sweetness to beverages like soda or candy. Contrary to glucose and other types of sugar, which are absorbed by multiple cells throughout the body, fructose is almost exclusively broken down by the liver. Fructose is converted to energy or stored as glycogen in the liver. However, the liver can only store so much glycogen before it turns into fat. Large amounts of added sugar in the form of fructose can put undue strain on your liver, leading to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition marked by excessive fat buildup within it.
Consuming too much added sugar, especially from sweet beverages, increases your risk for weight gain and visceral fat accumulation. Studies have linked sugar consumption to an increased risk of heart disease, including obesity, high blood pressure and inflammation. A high-sugar diet has been specifically linked to this increased vulnerability. High sugar diets can stimulate androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation within the body – all of which could put you at greater risk for developing acne. A high-sugar diet may lead to obesity and insulin resistance, both of which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Excess sugar consumption can lead to obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation – all of which are known risk factors for cancer. A diet high in added sugar and ultra-processed foods may increase depression risk for both men and women. Sugary foods may accelerate the production of advanced glycation end products, leading to faster skin aging and wrinkle formation. Eating too much sugar can hasten the telomere shortening process, leading to increased cellular aging. High-sugar foods can have a detrimental effect on your energy levels by causing an abrupt spike in blood sugar followed by an abrupt crash. Eating too much sugar may cause NAFLD, a condition in which excessive fat accumulates in the liver.