In our day-to-day life, we eat diets that contain both natural and added sugar. Although it makes our juice or food sweeter, excessive intake of fructose and carbohydrates causes sugar diseases like diabetes, obesity, hypertension, metabolic syndrome (Mets), kidney disease, heart disease, and many other diseases caused by sugar.
What is the Recommended Sugar intake per day?
The world health organization WHO recommended a maximum of 5% intake of added sugar in a day, which is equivalent to 6 teaspoonfuls or 25g of added sugar.
This is also similar to the American Heart Association recommendation, which is 6 teaspoons in a day for women and 9 teaspoons for men a day.
Sources of sugar to the body
There are three major sources of sugar in our body. They include.
- Added sugar: Those found in processed foods like coffee, minerals, etc.
- Natural sugar: Those found in fruits, honey, etc.
- The product of food digestion.
Diseases Caused by Sugar
When there is too much sugar in the bloodstream, it leads to a condition known as metabolic syndrome (Mets).
Mets is a health problem that causes high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, inflammation, triglycerides, fatty liver, sugar belly, heart disease, and many other ailments.
Sugar affects the performance of the pancreas, which produces insulin that regulates blood sugar levels.
When these sugars are not regulated properly, they move to the liver and weaken the organ.
This excessive fructose is converted and stored as fat by the liver, while some are discharged into the bloodstream where they cause metabolic syndrome. (6)
Sugar and cancer
Excessive consumption of processed foods with much-added sugar causes cancer of the intestine, cancer of the esophagus, pleural cancers, and others.
It also leads to weight gain and diabetics, which may increase your risk of developing cancer (7).
Sugar-rich diets can also cause inflammation in the body, which may lead to insulin resistance, a condition that increases cancer risk.
Sugar and heart disease
Excessive intake of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) has been linked to an increased risk of hypertension and coronary heart disease.
According to the AHA Journal, metabolic syndrome in 6154 adults who consumed sugar-sweetened beverages was monitored for four years.
The findings showed that people who drank over 1 soft drink per day had a 22% higher risk of hypertension than non-takers.
In a similar finding, the nurses’ health studies also reported a 44% higher risk of hypertension among women who take over 4 SSB in a day and a 22% higher risk on those that take 4 SSB in a day, compared to non-consumers.
The study further showed a higher risk of having hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and hyperuricemia in SSB consumers compared to non-takers.
The report is equally similar to Dr. Tim’s report on sugar and heart disease at the Mayo Clinic.
Effects of Sugar on the Brain
Glucose plays a vital role in brain functionality. The brain’s major activities such as learning and reasoning are directly linked to the level of glucose available to the brain.
If there is low glucose for the brain, the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) are not produced. This can lead to a breakdown in neuron communication.
Secondly, low glucose in the blood results in hypoglycemia, a diabetes complication that causes a loss of energy needed for brain performance.
Despite all these benefits, excessive intake of fructose may lead to sugar brain damage or dementia.
Dementia is a group of symptoms that leads to memory loss. In one study published in the American Academy of Neurology, the effects of type 2 diabetes on the risk of dementia were accessed.
About 6370 elders were tested for diabetes mellitus. Non-demented diabetics were monitored for an average of 2.1 years.
During the study, 126 patients became demented. The results suggest that diabetes, which is caused by added sugar, could be responsible.
Can sugar brain damage be reversed?
Yes, sugar brain damage can be reversed with omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Studies have shown that DHA reverses all the damage done to the brain by fructose. It also strengthens the synapses in the brain, boosting learning and memory.
We can find DHA in wild salmon, walnut, fish, fish oil, fruits, and vegetables. (8)
Effects of Sugar on Skin Aging
The negative effects of sugar and other high-glycemic foods on the body are alarming.
They react with amino acids in collagen and elastin to form advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
Age is suspected to contribute to skin aging, they destroy the collagen and elastin which helps in keeping the body elastic, thus resulting in skin sagging and wrinkles (9).
Other effects of sugar on the body include acne, rosacea, and development of insulin resistance.
Studies have shown that a high-sugar diet inhibits the activities of the immune system (10).
Sugar and tooth decay
Soft drinks have a lot of potential side effects. Their innate acids and sugars are acidogenic and cariogenic implicit.
This often results in dental caries and enamel erosion.
In one study, a 25-year-old man who had been taking coca-cola for over 7 years had a severe worn out of his front teeth and a severe decay of incisors and canines, while the premolar and molar had less decay. The findings show that sugar contributes to tooth decay.
How to Minimize Sugar Consumption
It is important to monitor the level of sugar in your diets to have a strong immune system that can fight sugar diseases.
- Minimize the intake of sugary substances. Examples: minerals, cake, ice cream, biscuits, bread, etc.
- Reduce carbohydrate intake.
- Eat more whole and unprocessed foods.
- Always prepare your own choice of food at home.
Having seen the benefits and all the negative effects of sugar on the body, it would be wise to follow the WHO’s recommended dosage. Reduce the intake of processed and high glycemic foods. Avoid sugary substances so you will have a strong immune system to protect you from sugar-related diseases.