Everyone’s got their poison, and sugar tops the list for most. While all of us are working to boost our immunity, and want to strive to be in the best shape ever - are you cutting your sugar intake? Many ask - how much sugar is too much sugar? Why am I addicted? Well - don’t be surprised here that a high-sugar diet is as addictive as alcohol and drugs. Nope, the word addiction is not an exaggeration because it does increase dopamine levels.
While all of us love our midnight sweet cravings, it’s time we bid adieu to sugar. Sigh.
Where There Is Too Much Sugar, There Will Be…
1. Weight Gain
Rates of obesity are increasing worldwide, especially in India. Packaged food and beverages are the biggest culprits. Drinking a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to conditions like a sudden increase in weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.
Sugar is a type of carbohydrate which provides energy to the body. Considering the difference between how much sugar we should be eating and how much we’re actually eating, that excess sugar consumption might be one of the key factors in the rise in obesity levels. Research suggests that, if the recommended amount of sugar is at most 150 calories each day and the average adult is consuming more than double this value.
The effective ways of cutting out sugar would be to replace beverages with water, be mindful of sugar substitutes, avoid fruit juices, limit fruits as well, be mindful of the snacks you eat, and be mindful of alcohol.
2. Increases your Risk of Type-2 Diabetes
Did you know that there is an increase in Diabetes worldwide by 30% each year? An appaling fact, isn't it?
High-sugar consumption drives resistance to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels which then increases the risk of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition, which causes a person’s immune system to attack the cells that produce insulin. Damage to these cells undermines the body’s ability to manage blood glucose.Once a person has diabetes, eating too much sugar can make symptoms worse, as diabetes makes it more difficult for the body to manage blood sugar levels. People with type 1 diabetes still need to be careful about sugar intake. Insulin sensitivity shapes how effectively cells use glucose, removing it from the bloodstream. When this decreases, blood sugar can become persistently high, potentially leading to type 2 diabetes.
3. Skin Issues like Acne
High-sugar diets have been associated with an increased risk of many diseases, including heart disease. You will be surprised to know that it is the number one cause of death in the world. So, are we ready to risk this over sugar?
Added sugar can influence insulin production, causing increased oil production and acne appearance. Excess sugar in your diet makes it more likely that you'll develop insulin resistance, which can manifest as excessive hair growth (hirsutism), production of dark patches on the skin, and aggravation of acne breakouts. We know that high blood sugar spikes in your body pump up the production of insulin.To make you further understand the process - sugary foods quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, causing increased androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all that plays a role in acne development on the skin.
4. May Increase your Risk of Heart Disease
Research suggests that high-sugar diets can lead to obesity, inflammation and high triglyceride, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels — all risk factors for heart disease.
Sugar can affect your heart by increasing the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. Spiking blood sugar levels (and so insulin levels), which increases your risk of obesity and heart disease. As the excess glucose circulates in the blood vessels, it begins to weaken the artery walls, making them leaky and dysfunctional, which can lead to the formation of atherosclerosis.
Consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, both of which are pathological pathways to heart disease.
5. May Increase Risk of Cancer
Eating excessive amounts of sugar may increase your risk of developing certain types of cancer because obesity increases the rate of cancer.
In recent research, it was suggested that normal cells function best with oxygen as a catalyst for energy transfer, while abnormal cells transfer energy without oxygen. This oxygen-deficient cancer process is similar to how muscles create lactic acid after hard exercise, or how bacteria-like brewer's yeast converts sugars or plant fibers into alcohol, carbon dioxide, and water. All of these processes are sugar-dependent.
Cancer also causes the body to make sugars from proteins instead of carbohydrates or fat. This process, called glycogenesis, leads to the body wasting away because the body starves itself to feed the cancer. Additionally, the body must keep up with the expansion rate of the cancer cells, which is eight times faster than the expansion rate of normal cells.
6. May Increase your Risk of Depression
While a healthy diet can help improve your mood, a diet high in added sugar and processed foods may increase your chances of developing depression. Food can have many effects on your mood and emotions. Eating too much sugar may increase your risk for mood disorders, including depression.
Consuming too much added sugar may lead to increased irritability, peaks and drops in energy levels. Although the initial intake of sugar may feel positive, it will cause blood glucose levels to drop. It is this that affects the mind and body so dramatically. When a person consumes sugar, the mesolimbic dopamine system in the brain offers a reward, thereby increasing mood. The dopamine system starts working when feelings of pleasure approach. Because these are added sugars, however, they are not beneficial to the body in any way. A high intake of these will mean chemical changes in the body. These occur to prevent overstimulation, so the body may crave more sugar on future occasions to achieve the same high mood.
Refined sugar is also known for stressing your adrenal glands (which regulate cortisol, the stress hormone, and aldosterone, which controls your blood pressure) and your thyroid (which secretes hormones responsible for maintaining your metabolism, cognitive function and body temperature.) Cortisol levels often rise when there is an increase in blood sugar levels, which means our stress levels become less manageable, and we’re likely to feel exhausted, wired and anxious.
7. May Accelerate the Skin's Aging Process
Wrinkles are a natural sign of aging and very little can be done to prevent it. But sugar plays a major role in premature ageing.
Sugar damages your skin through a natural process called glycation. The sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins and produces harmful free radicals called advanced glycation end products (AGEs). As AGEs accumulate (the more sugar you eat, the more they develop), they damage the proteins around them. AGEs make your collagen and elastin stiff, dry and brittle, zapping them of strength and spring. The effects are seen on your complexion in the form of fine lines, sagging and wrinkles.
AGEs deactivate your body’s natural antioxidant enzymes. Without protection from antioxidants, your skin is more vulnerable to the free radical damage caused by environmental assailants like pollution, blue light and UV rays. Left to roam (and bind to your skin’s structural proteins), free radicals trigger oxidative stress that contributes to premature aging of your skin.
The signs you should watch out to check if sugar is aging you is - when the surface of your skin looks hard and dry, when deep crosshatch lines appear on your upper lip, discolouration and hyper pigmentation on your skin, deep crevices appear, especially around the laugh line area, and when the the skin around your jowl area is sagging.
8. Drains your Energy
As mentioned previously, consuming large quantities of added sugars can cause your energy to spike, then drop sharply, potentially causing you to feel more tired than you did before consuming the drink.
Foods high in added sugar quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to increased energy. However, this rise in energy levels is temporary and the fluctuation drains the energy.
9. Increase Kidney Disease Risk
Having consistently high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels in your kidneys. Once the blood sugar level gets higher than 180 mg/dl, the kidneys start to spill sugar into the urine. The higher the blood sugar, the more sugar comes out in the urine which then damages the kidneys. At this point the kidneys can no longer do their job effectively. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are injured, the kidneys can’t clean the blood properly, resulting in more water and salt being retained and waste materials building up in the blood.
10. Accelerated Cognitive Decline
High-sugar diets can lead to impaired memory and there is research that suggests a direct link to dementia. High sugar consumption causes inflammation in the brain, leading to memory difficulties, as well. Elevated blood glucose harms blood vessels. Blood vessel damage is the major cause of the vascular complications of diabetes, leading to other problems, such as damage to blood vessels in the brain and eyes causing retinopathy.
Additional research shows that a diet high in added sugar reduces the production brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a brain chemical essential for new memory formation and learning. Lower levels of BDNF are also linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease
OH, SUGAR. JUST DON’T FORGET THAT…
It all starts with “just a spoonful of sugar” and the next thing we know we are addicted. You may feel the withdrawals because sugar produces physiological and behavioural effects, similar to those caused by addictive drugs. Long term exposure to high quantities of sugar causes brain changes, similar to those associated with nicotine addiction. When people drastically reduce their sugar intake, they may experience withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, cravings, and mood changes. These should go away within a few days or weeks. So don’t give up!
When you quit sugar you also feel energised because high sugar consumption inhibits the production of Orexin, which is a chemical in your brain that stimulates the feeling of being awake. Another fact that might stump you is that the high glycemic index of processed sugars can spike sugars in the body fast and drop them quickly as well. This is like a rollercoaster effect of blood sugar levels rising which may increase the energy, but sadly “the sugar crash” is not far behind. When you eliminate sugar from your diet you are stabilising the sugar and the hormones in your body.
Also - Let me tell you an honest truth that is going to stump you. Everything in the market has sugar. Just read, and be informed. Even your supplements. Read the back of the pack to know and make a choice that is right for your body. Your Happy Life Products understands how hard it is to live a sugar-free life. Don’t get tricked and always remember to read the back of the pack - and you’ll know how much we love a sugar-free lifestyle. Break the habit right now.
Eating too much sugar has many negative effects. It’s time we eliminate future health problems by saying good-bye to high intake sugar. We recommend you to always consult a doctor before making a drastic change to your dietary intake.