Sugar is a broad term that is used a lot in daily rituals. We are consuming sugar in large amounts, which is present in almost all food items. Fruits, vegetables, sugary drinks, candies, and all sorts of food items are packed with sugar. Some have minimal sugar, while others are loaded heavily with this component. Sugar is present in natural and artificial forms in food items. Natural sources of sugar, such as fruits and dairy products, have less detrimental effects on the body than the artificial sugars from beverages, sodas, and desserts. So the question arises: What are the dangers of eating sugar, and how can we deal with them?
The alarming statistics on sugar consumption and the effects of sugar claim that unacceptable levels of sugar in the body could disrupt the metabolic, hormonal, and physiological conditions of the body leading to the initiation of various ailments, including:
- Heart diseases
- Type-2 diabetes
- Inflammatory and autoimmune diseases
The term ‘natural sugar’ does not mean that it is overall a healthy item for our health. Raw sugar is present in all the food items we consume daily, including high-carb meals and high-glycemic-index foods that can cause sudden blood sugar spikes. Other than this, there are hidden sugars in packaged and processed foods that should be considered. All the names mentioned on packaged items like brown sugar, corn sweetener, cane sugar, lactose, rice sugar, molasses, maple syrup, and others are the hidden forms of sugar that leave the same effect on the body. We should keep an eye on our daily sugar intake for our body.
Sometimes the sugar levels are high in the body, and we cannot figure out the exact issue, so various tests are available to detect the root cause of symptoms. There are many dangers of consuming too much sugar. HbA1c is a test in which the amount of glucose attached to the hemoglobin (red blood cell) is checked.
- Eye disorders
- Hypertension and raised blood glucose can lead to:
- Hyper and hypoglycemia
The Carbohydrate model of Sugar & Metabolic syndrome
The carbohydrate model is related to sugar addiction and the increased urge to consume sugar in the body. Our 80% of food items are loaded with sugars in different forms like lactose, sucrose, glucose, galactose, etc. Processed foods include artificial conditions of sugar that can raise blood sugar levels. The number of carbohydrates we consume in the body is directly associated with the levels of blood sugars in the body.
The end-product of carbohydrates is glucose which is also called simple sugar. Simple sugar is responsible for raising blood sugar levels in the body. The higher levels of blood sugar in the body are managed by the hormone insulin, which converts the excess sugar into fat and drives the glucose in cells. This whole mechanism does not provide a feeling of fullness, and the person feels less satiated, which triggers the hunger hormone, and the person ends up attaining pleasure from sweet tastes.
The beginning of metabolic syndrome
We consume carbohydrates in more amounts than other food groups as our central calorie intake revolves around this macronutrient for energy production. The end product of carbohydrates that is glucose, is managed by insulin that forces extra sugar to be converted into body fat for later use. Over the years, when we keep adding sugar and excess carbohydrates through carbohydrate loading in the body, our cells lose the ability to use the sugar for energy through the mitochondrial process.
It raises the sugar level in the bloodstream to a toxic level and leads to glycation, inflammation, and associated disorders. This overcompensation of compounds causes insulin resistance in the body that leads to the provocation of various metabolic diseases like:
- Increase levels of fasting blood sugar
- Excess levels of insulin
- High levels of triglycerides
- Lower levels of HDL and higher levels of LDL
- High blood pressure
- INCREASE RISK OF TYPE-2 DIABETES
It is seen that the endurance of diabetes has widely prevailed all around the globe in the past few years. It is considered the cancer danger of sugar. Although there are many different reasons for diabetes in human beings, it is scientifically proven that excessive sugar intake in the body leads to diabetes. Again, obesity is a widely spreading disease caused due to excessive intake of sugar, and it leads to the occurrence of diabetes in human beings. Also, it is seen that with increased intake, sugar causes resistance in the working pattern of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the human body, produced in the pancreas and works to regulate the blood sugar level in the human body. With resistance in the work pattern on the insulin hormone, the blood sugar level in the body rises and increases the risk for diabetes.
- EXCESSIVE SUGAR INTAKE LEADS TO OBESITY
It is seen all over the globe that obesity is considered an alarming problem not only in adults but in people of all age groups, from children to people of older ages. One of the main factors which play a vital role in obesity is soft drinks. Different researches are conducted all over the globe which proves that people who love to drink fizzy drinks and other drinks which contain added sugar in them are seen to be suffering from obesity at a very high rate, as compared to other people who don’t tend to take soft drinks much often. The reason for this is that sweetened drinks are rich in a nutrient which is called fructose. The main function of fructose when it enters the human body is that it increases the urge to hunger, leading to an increase in appetite, eventually leading to obesity.
- INCREASES THE RISK OF CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASES
High sugar intake is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases. The reason is that it has been proved by several medical science researchers that high sugar intake causes obesity, which eventually leads to inflammation of the arteries and blood vessels, which further leads to chronic heart diseases that can cause the death of a person. Also, it has been seen that consuming too much sugar in diets and sweetened drinks can lead to a disease called atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by fatty, artery-clogging deposits. In short, diets rich in high sugar can cause a person to develop heart disease, which can eventually lead to the death of a person.
- LINKED TO ACNE
The leading cause of acne and breakouts on our skin is a diet rich in sugar and sweets. The raised level of blood sugar and insulin triggers the release of androgens which increases oil production and excretion of sebum on the skin, causing acne. Can you be allergic to sugar? Yes, you can be allergic to sugar leading to a disastrous form of acne.
Sugar is available in various forms in almost all types of foods. The difference between low and high glycemic index foods helps people keep their quantity in moderation. There are fewer chances of development of acne if a diet revolves around low glycemic index foods.
Research has proved that a diet low in glycemic index foods helps the person maintain the sugar and carbohydrate levels in the body and improves the acne. Acne, breakouts, and increased sebum and oil production in the skin are more due to intake of oily foods, refined carbohydrates, and high-sugar beverages and sodas.
- IT MIGHT INCREASE THE RISK OF CANCER
Eating meals rich in sugar significantly increases the risk of cancer in people. The reason for this is that, again, eating a diet that is high in sugar increases obesity in people, which eventually disturbs the mechanism of the overall human body, which can then lead to fatal diseases such as cancer.
- CONTRIBUTES TO THE ACCELERATION OF THE AGING PROCESS
Wrinkles are a natural process that appears on the skin of human beings, which shows that the person’s age is increasing with time. Although it is a natural process, some factors either accelerate or decelerate the aging process. Consuming too much sugar or eating food that contains excessive sugar in them accelerates the aging process a lot. The mechanism for this is that a diet rich in sugar causes significant damage to elastin and collagen, due to which the skin loses its firmness; hence, wrinkles are produced on the face and skin.
Dn.Zainab Naeem is Hosting and Content Writing Head of SDNO. She is a freelance nutritionist and writer, and also a self-taught calligrapher, artist and chef. She can be reached at @xayni_de_artista.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is not intended as sound medical advice for your particular illness; rather, it is meant to increase awareness of common health issues. Before implementing any recommendations made in this article or choosing a treatment plan based on its contents, you should always speak with a qualified healthcare professional.