Food & Nutrition Science

What Sugar Does To Your Body


What Sugar Does To Your Body

As Appeared in the AFPA ENews 2/12/14

Too much sugar in your diet is not the best thing when it comes to eating (and living) healthy. We all know that, yet somehow saturated and trans fats, sodium or total calories get more of our attention. Of course, none of us are taking in sugar in the moderate amounts the experts recommend. Instead we’re consuming 500 added calories a day from sugar. That’s about what you’d need to take in to gain about a pound per week.

It’s important to understand that simple sugars (lactose) don’t have the same negative health benefits as sugar. Sugar from fruit also is of less concern since this comes with lost of diseases fighting compound and beneficial fiber as well.

Here are ten more things that will surprise you about sugar…

1. Sugar can hurt your heart. We know that extra sugar can up the risk of heart disease, but a 2013 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association finds strong evidence that sugar can actually affect the pumping mechanism of the heart and up the chances of heart failure. The research pinpointed a molecule from sugar that was responsible for the change in the muscle protein of the heart itself.

2. Sugar promotes belly fat. Fat appears to accumulate in the trunk area, and one cause may be the intake of fructose laden drinks. A 2010 study in kids found that excess fructose intake actually caused visceral fat cells to mature, setting the stage for a big belly, plus an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.

3. Sugar is a silent killer. In fact, a 2008 study found that excess fructose consumption was associated with an increase in leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that signals you’ve had enough food, but we often ignore the signal. For some this signal just doesn’t work. This all happens without a sign or symptom. If you’ve gained weight in the last year, and are wondering why, it may be your fructose intake that’s to blame.

4. Sugar may be linked to cancer production, effect survival. It’s hard to talk sugar without mentioning insulin. Too much sugar causes the body to revolt. One of the most well documented is the association between insulin resistance and cancer. A 2013 study found that sugars in the intestine triggered forming a hormone called GIP that in turn ups insulin released by the pancreas. The researchers found that this may affect cells susceptible to forming cancer. Other studies have shown negative links between high sugar (or starch) intake and breast and colon cancer survival rates.


5. Sugar addiction may be genetic. A recent study of 579 people found those who had genetic changes in ghrelin ate more sugar (and alcohol) than those that had no variation in the genes. Ghrelin is the substance that tells the brain you are hungry.

6. Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic liver effects. A paper published in 2012 in the journal Nature raised the idea that warnings should be put on sugar just like they are on alcohol. The team found evidence that fructose and glucose in excess could have the same impact on the liver, as the metabolism of ethanol had close similarities to the paths that fructose takes. What’s more, sugar ups the risk of several of the same chronic conditions that alcohol does. And liver damage can happen without excess calories or weight gain.

7. Sugar can slow your brain. A 2009 study found a positive relationship between consumption of glucose and the aging of cells. This can be the cause of simple signs like wrinkles to the more dangerous ones like a chronic disease. Sugar might advance the aging of your brain according to 2012 research, excess consumption was associated with deficiencies in memory and overall brain health.

8. Sugar hides in many “non sugar” foods. While people can try to stay away from the sugar culprits we know, we often find some of our favorites also have lots of sugar. Tomato sauce, fat free salad dressing, tonic water, marinates, crackers and even some bread.

9. An overload of sugar in drinks can shorten your life. The U.S. had an estimated 25,000 deaths (180,000 deaths worldwide) attributed to sweetened drink consumption according to a 2013 research project. The authors believe the deaths happened because of the link with sugar sweetened drinks and risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

10. Sugar is making us fat. It’s an obvious one, but it bears repeating. You need to understand that the lack of other nutrients of value in sugar makes it much easier to eat tons of it. Foods that have lots of fiber, fat and protein make you feel full. Sugar gives you calories but not the feeling that you’re satisfied.

To your good health,

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Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2014, at 11:20 am. Filed under Aging, Brain Power, Cancer, Heart Disease, Weight Loss. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments here with the RSS feed. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback.



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