It is now known and researchers agree that sugar is bad for us. So many chronic diseases affecting the developed world are related to our high sugar and carbohydrate diets. Insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and fatty liver disease just to name a few.
BUT sugar consumption is BIG BUSINESS. I love how Helen Sanders, chief editor at Health Ambition phrases her thoughts on the issue.
“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. And, don’t believe everything you were taught growing up. When you start to research sugar, and it’s real effects on your body and your health, you will uncover some shocking facts.” – Helen
Here are my top 22 reasons why sugar is bad for us. I hope this is enough to convince you to finally ditch the sugar for food.
If this isn’t enough to convince you read why sugar is so addicting and my tips to kick the cravings to the curb.
The original 10 Reasons To Quit Sugar infographic can be found at http://www.thecandidadiet.com/10-reasons-to-quit-sugar-infographic/.
20 REASONS WHY SUGAR IS BAD FOR US
- Sugar increases risk of heart disease. Too much sugar has been shown to increase your risk of death from cardiovascular disease. Here’s the crazy part. This association was even seen in those who were not obese. Sugar makes us sick, regardless if you are thin or overweight.
- Sugar, alters our cholesterol panel – a high sugar diet not only increases your risk of insulin resistance but also negatively affects your cholesterol panel leaving you at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Sugar and carbs lowers your HDL (the good cholesterol) and causes the LDL (bad cholesterol) to become more dangerous by becoming smaller, oxidized and more dense. A high sugar diet will also raise your triglycerides which is a predictor of heart disease. Click here to check your 10 year risk score of cardiovascular disease.
- Sugar causes cavities – sugar, carbs and starchy vegetables feeds the bacteria in your mouth. If you consume soda & juice the acid adds fuel to the fire by breaking down enamel.
- Fructose is linked to non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – Firstly the American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition states that there is “no biological need for fructose.” Fructose is half glucose and can be found in, fruits as well as high fructose corn syrup. Fructose is metabolized by the liver where it is turned into fat. Fructose is broken down into glucose and stored as glycogen. When our glycogen stores are overflowing, fatty liver results. You will do your liver a favour by reducing sugar and the amount of dangerous visceral (belly fat) you have. An interesting piece of research shows that a high intake of sugar is associated with an increased risk of NAFLD, independently of age, gender, BMI and total calories.
- Sugar prevents us from feeling satisfied – the more sugar we consume the higher our insulin levels are. Over time high levels of insulin blocks leptin. Leptin is our hunger hormone . If our bodies are not producing leptin our brain cannot recognize this and so you remain hungry. New research is developing looking into this new concept of “leptin resistance.”
- Sugar may suppress your immune system – According to Dr.Sears “Excess sugar depresses immunity. Studies have shown that downing 75 to 100 grams of a sugar solution (about 20 teaspoons of sugar, or the amount that is contained in two average 12-ounce sodas) can suppress the body’s immune responses.” One way sugar may reduce your ability to fight infections is because it depletes your body of nutrients that are essential for a optimally functioning immune system.
- Sugar alters your mood – research demonstrates a direct link between blood sugar and mood. The more dramatic your blood sugar spikes and lows the more uneven your mood. In addition by consuming a high sugar, low nutrient diet your body lacks the essential vitamins and minerals required for proper mood support.
- Sugar may change your gut flora – The gut microbiome is becoming a fascinating new area of research. We know the gut plays a role in our immune system, serotonin (happy hormone), bowel function, allergies, mood, metabolism etc. While we do not fully understand the role of the gut, most functional medicine doctors agree taking care of your gut flora should be a top priority. It is only a matter of time until we have sound evidence to support our gut floras impact on many areas of our health and wellbeing.
- Sugar may predispose you to mineral deficiencies – chromium, copper, zinc and magnesium are all depleted through the metabolism of sugar.
- Sugar increases low grade inflammation – low grade inflammation is involved in arthritis, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, atherosclerosis, and vascular dementia.
- Sugar can affect children’s IQ – The Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health published an interesting study that showed a poor diet high in processed foods in early childhood may be associated with lower IQs. Diets high in nutrient rich foods were found to be associated with small increases in IQ.
- Sugar increases risk of metabolic syndrome – Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions occurring at the same time including; hypertension, obesity, dislipidaemia and insulin resistance. Metabolic syndrome increases your level of inflammation and puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and death. Metabolic syndrome is also associated with PCOS, gallstones, fatty liver, protein in the urine, sleep apnea.
- Sugar increases oxidative stress and free radical production – Extensive research over the past 2 decades has concluded that persistent oxidative stress can lead to chronic inflammation. Overtime this inflammation may be the underlying cause of most chronic diseases including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular, neurological, and pulmonary diseases.Oxidation is sort of like rusting of our insides. Cutting back on sugars and eating a diet full of nutrients and anti oxidants may help to meditate some of the negative effects of oxidative stress.
- Sugar may promote acne – for some sugar increases sebum (oil) on the face, sugar promotes inflammation, and aggravates hormonal acne. According to a 2009 systematic review, the evidence suggests that components of Western diets, particularly dairy products, may be associated with acne. The hormonal effects of dietary components, such as glycemic index levels or fat or fiber intake, may mediate the effect of diet on acne risk. So your skin will pay the price of a high sugar (glycemic index), high dairy diet.
- Sugar can aggravate atopic disease – often a poor diet that is nutrient devoid can create inflammation, lower immunity, and cause disruptions in the gut. A 2012 study showed an increased risk of severe asthma in adolescents and children who consumed fast food ≥3 times per week as well as an increased risk of severe rhinoconjunctivitis and severe eczema. This research is suggesting an inappropriate diet may aggravate even cause eczema and other atopic conditions.
- Sugar can impact fertility – For those suffering with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) infertility is associated with ovulation issues. It has been noted that PCOS is closely linked with insulin resistance and hormone imbalances.Women with PCOS often have insulin resistance which may be improved on a low sugar diet.
- Sugar can tank the male mojo – sorry guys, but it is true. A high sugar diet over time causes microvascular damage. The penis needs adequate blood flow to get and maintain an erection. Since sugar affects blood flow, as well as nerves and hormone it absolutely can contribute to erectile dysfunction. Even more alarming is erectile dysfunction may be the first sign of something more serious, such as heart disease or other circulatory problems. If this is you, it is time to go for a thorough examination by your doctor.
- Sugar competes with nutritious foods – sugar is nothing but empty calories but this isn’t the whole story. Not only does sugar provide zero nutrients, by eating high sugar, high carb junk food, we reduce our intake of healthy nutrient dense foods. This has become a huge problem. We are the most overfed YET undernourished generation in history.
- Sugar is the direct cause of insulin resistance – Like number 1 above says a diet high in sugar causes insulin resistance. When we consume glucose (sugar) our insulin levels rise so that glucose can enter into our cells. Glucose provides fuel for our bodies although too much causes insulin to spike consistently. Over time if we raise our insulin too much our tissues start to ignore the signal. This leads to insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, and type 2 diabetes.
- Sugar causes obesity – We learnt above that sugar raises insulin. The more we drive our insulin levels up the more our bodies are singled to store fat. Don’t think that artificial sweeteners are any better. They also cause insulin levels to spike. Fructose (half glucose) is the worst because it raises insulin without affecting our satiety. The result is we do not receive the signal that we are full so we continue to eat beyond what is required. Fructose is also highly addictive– a recipe for weight gain.
So if you give up the sugar is it guaranteed you will prevent or reverse all of the above? Probably not…BUT while there is no guarantees in life, personally I want to change my modifiable risk factors and reduce my risk as much as possible.
Eliminating sugar is something I can control and there really is no downsides or negative effects of giving up sugar.Click here for some tips on how to curb the sugar cravings for good.
Health is largely determined by personal responsibility, what will be your choice?
References: Please click on the links following each statement to be directed straight to the research study.