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What Does Sugar Do To Your Body

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Who Is At Risk For High Blood Sugar

What Sugar Really Does to the Body

According to Marchese, “Significant risk factors for high blood sugar include hypertension, obesity, a history of gestational diabetes, high cholesterol or a family history of type 2 diabetes. Certain ethnicities, including African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans, also have a higher risk of high blood sugar.”6254a4d1642c605c54bf1cab17d50f1e

Ask Yourself What Works For You And What Doesnt

If you struggle with sugar , then its probably not a good food for YOU.

Try experimenting with lowering your sugar intake gradually , and see what happens.

Look for foods that you love, and that love you backthat make you feel good and perform well, that give you sustained and long-lasting energy, that keep your moods level, and that keep you feeling normal as an eater.

Can Cause Cardiovascular Diseases

Still linked to obesity, excess sugar can lead to an increased risk of heart disease. Studies show that obesity, high inflammation, and high triglyceride levels from diabetes are risk factors for cardiovascular diseases .

Besides high blood sugar and pressure levels in the body, excess sugar can be involved in the development of atherosclerosis, where your arteries clog from fatty deposits. Atherosclerosis affects blood transportation to and from the heart, which also leads to serious heart diseases such as stroke and heart failure .

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Kids And Sugar: A Recipe For Disaster

When it comes to how sugar affects children, there’s a lot of misinformation and confusion. People tend to associate sugar-laden treats with hyperactivity.

But is eating sugar the trigger for off-the-wall behavior? Or is this type of hyperactivity an unfortunate coincidence? Most important, do you really want to turn into the food police with your school-aged children?

Increased Hunger And Weight Gain

What Sugar Does To Your Body {Infographic}

If youre consuming a lot of extra calories through added sugars, increased hunger is one of the first signs. is satisfying to the taste buds, but it doesnt really satisfy or fill our stomachs, Keri Stoner-Davis, RDN, who works at Lemond Nutrition in Plano, Texas.

Without protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which most processed snacks and sugary treats lack, the body burns through sugar quickly and ramps up hunger, which can lead to mindless and even compulsive snacking, Cording says.

According to a review and meta-analysis, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages promotes weight gain in adults and children.

Yet its not only the extra calories that can increase weight.

The gut microbiome, an ecosystem made up of 39 trillion microorganisms, is the bodys self-defense system, according to an article published in May 2016 in Cell. A healthy gut helps our metabolism regulate blood glucose and insulin levels and, in part, enables our bodies to use lipids and manage cholesterol. When you have added sugar, it damages that ecosystem, Dr. Li says.

Good bacteria decrease and bad bacteria overgrow, leading to dysbiosis as well as problems with metabolism and the ability to properly process lipids and cholesterol.

Whats more, sugar may damage our fat hormones, including leptin, which inhibits hunger, Li argues. High sugar disrupts metabolism, in part by interfering with leptin, according to Li. Eating sugar makes you want to eat more sugar, which makes you more hungry.

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The Insulin Resistance Can Progress To Type Ii Diabetes

When our cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, the beta cells in our pancreas make more of it.

This is crucial, because chronically elevated blood sugars can cause severe harm.

Eventually, as insulin resistance becomes progressively worse, the pancreas cant keep up with the demand of producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels down.

At this point, blood sugar levels skyrocket and a diagnosis of type II diabetes is made.

Given that sugar can cause insulin resistance, it is not surprising to see that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages have up to an 83% higher risk of Type II diabetes .

Hidden Side Effects Of Sugar

Rising obesity levels and prevalence of type 2 diabetes are highlighting concerns about sugar. Heres why you should address your sugar habits.

Fit& Well blogSeptember 2016

The maximum recommended daily intake of sugar is 6 teaspoons a day, but research suggests Australians are consuming more than triple that amount possibly without realising it via added sugar in foods including bread and sauces.

Prevention warns overconsumption of sugar poses the following health risks and offers tips for what you can do it about it.

  • Sugar makes your organs fatA diet high in sugar, and fructose, a common sugar-like food additive, triggers your liver to store fat, which can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease a condition rarely seen prior to 1980.What you can do:check the labels on foods especially biscuits, cereals, fruit juices, snack bars and yoghurt and opt for ones that contain little or no fructose.
  • It can lead to heart diseaseChronically high insulin levels cause the muscle cells around each blood vessel in your arteries to grow faster than normal, leading to high blood pressure.What you can do: count the grams of sugar youre consuming and aim to stick to the daily limit: 20g for women, 36g for men, 12g for children.
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    Become Aware Of Your Overall Energy Balance

    Take a clear-headed look at how much food youre eating for your bodys needs, and how much activity youre doing. Are you eating the right amount for your physiological requirements? If youre heavier or carrying more body fat than youd prefer, you may need to adjust how much you are eating and/or exercising. This may mean lowering your sugar intake, and/or it may mean eating a little less of other foods overall.

    Sugar Can Give You Cancer

    WonderGrove: What Does Sugar Do to Your Body?

    Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is characterized by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells.

    Insulin is one of the key hormones in regulating this sort of growth.

    For this reason, many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels can contribute to cancer .

    In addition, the metabolic problems associated with sugar consumption are a known driver of inflammation, another potential cause of cancer .

    Multiple studies show that people who eat a lot of sugar are at a much higher risk of getting cancer .

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    Youll Get Fewer Cavities

    Youve heard it since you were a kidsugar causes tooth decay. And studies have repeatedly proven it. The bacteria on your teeth metabolize sugar, producing an acid that takes minerals out of the enamel and can eventually create a hole. Theres evidence that consuming less than 50 grams daily of added sugar is associated with far fewer cavities. And if you eat under 25 grams the number drops even more dramatically.

    Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., R.D., is author to the new cookbook, Meals That Heal: 100 Everyday Anti-Inflammatory Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less, and a culinary nutrition expert known for her ability to simplify food and nutrition information. She received a 2017 James Beard Journalism award. You can follow her on Instagram @realfoodreallife_rd or on

    Some original reporting in EatingWell, September 2021.

    Your Heart Will Be Healthier

    Some observational studies have shown that people who over consume added sugar are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, independent of other risk factors, like weight. And a key prospective cohort study of 31,147 American adults published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that people who consumed between 10 and 24% of their daily calories as added sugar were 30% more likely to die from heart disease than those who consumed less than 10%. A high-sugar diet may raise blood pressure, increase inflammation and cause the liver to pump harmful fats into the bloodstreamall of which can contribute to the development of heart disease.

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    May Increase Your Risk Of Cancer

    Eating excessive amounts of sugar may increase your risk of developing certain cancers.

    First, a diet rich in sugary foods and beverages can lead to obesity, which significantly raises your risk of cancer .

    Also, diets high in sugar increase inflammation in your body and may cause insulin resistance, both of which increase cancer risk .

    A systematic review analyzing 37 prospective cohort studies found that in two of five studies on added sugar, a 60% 95% increased cancer risk was observed with higher sugar intakes .

    The same review found that in 8 of 15 studies on sugary foods and beverages, a 23% 200% increased cancer risk was observed with greater sugary beverage consumption .

    Other studies have found sugar intake to be linked to specific types of cancer.

    A study in over 22,720 men spanning over 9 years found that increased sugar consumption from sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with a greater risk of prostate cancer .

    Another study found that esophageal cancer was associated with increased consumption of sucrose, or table sugar, and sweetened desserts and beverages .

    Research on the link between added sugar intake and cancer is ongoing, and more studies are needed to fully understand this complex relationship.


    Too much sugar can lead to obesity, insulin resistance, and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for cancer.

    Study : Fine Lets Go Lower

    This Infographic Shows What Eating Too Much Sugar Does to Your Body And ...

    For this second study, the game got hardcore: Drop the carbs and sugar much lower for the Lower Carbohydrate group, just to make sure the minimal differences found in the first study hadnt been because the carbs and sugar werent low enough.

    Heres how this second study worked:

    • 17 overweight or obese people participated.
    • First, they followed a high-carb but calorically-restricted baseline diet for 4 weeks .
    • Then, they spent 4 weeks on a very-low-carb ketogenic diet , with equal calories to the baseline diet.

    So what happened?

    The researchers found that everyone lost weight and fat throughout the study.

    However, when subjects switched from the high-carb, 25%-sugar baseline diet to the ketogenic, 2%-sugar diet, fat loss actually slowed down for the first few weeks.

    Much like the previous study, this happened because as peoples bodies adapted to the ketogenic diet, they were more likely to break down fat-free mass and protein stores .


    • Weight loss went faster during the ketogenic phase, thanks to losing glycogen and water.
    • But body fat loss was actually less during this phase .

    Overall, the researchers stated that based on the current evidence, as well as their validated mathematical models, long-term body fat loss would likely be very similar between the high sugar diet and the low sugar diet.

    In other words, the amount of sugar didnt seem to influence the results.

    In the end, these, plus other studies, seem to support the idea that:

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    Do Some People Have A Problem Digesting Sugars

    Yes, some people have an intolerance to certain sugars which is different from food allergies. Whether they experience symptoms may depend on how much of the food is consumed.

    Examples of sugar intolerances include:

    If consuming certain foods or sugars causes you to have digestive symptoms, see your doctor or a dietitian. An accredited practising dietitian can help you with nutritional advice and a personalised eating plan that considers your individual medical circumstances.

    Appetite And Hunger Will Decrease

    Leptin is a key hormone that regulates appetite. It tells the brain when to eat, when to stop eating and when to speed up or slow down metabolism. But when obesity and insulin resistance are present, research suggests the body produces less leptin and doesn’t use it as effectively. Improving glucose management slowly restores leptin activity in the body, and cutting out added sugars is a key component for making this happen.

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    Should I Limit The Amount Of Sugar I Consume

    Because of the health risks associated with added sugars, its recommended that you watch your sugar intake.

    The World Health Organization recommends:

    • Adults and children should reduce their intake of sugar to less than 10% of their total daily energy intake. On average, this equals about 12 teaspoons of sugar per day for an adult. This include all added sugars, as well as the naturally-occurring sugars in honey, fruit juices, syrups and fruit-juice concentrates.
    • Reducing your intake to less than 5% of total energy intake would provide even more health benefits.Read the nutrition panel on the food label. If the total sugar exceeds 15g of sugar per 100g of the food, check the list of ingredients to see if any added sugars are high on the list. For more information, see Where do I find added sugars on food labels?, below.

    Sugar Carbohydrate Intake And/or Insulin Alone Probably Arent The Main Drivers Of Weight Gain

    What Happens If You Stop Eating Sugar for TWO Weeks

    Other research comparing low-carb diets to low-fat diets has found similar results. The same results have also been found with:

    • Meta-analyses: Big reviews of other studies. These types of data are considered among the most robust as they explore a lot of experiments from a much broader perspective, pulling in evidence from dozens or even hundreds of studies to try to draw conclusions.
    • Systematic reviews: Methodologically rigorous comparisons and critical analyses of other studies. These type of reviews are also considered useful, because they take a sceptical perspective, looking for errors.

    There have been at least 20 controlled in-patient feeding studies where protein and calories are kept equal, but carbs are varied from 20% to 75% of total calories .Of all these studies, none of them found any truly significant differences in body fat levels when people were eating either high carb or low carb diets. In other words, as long as protein and calories were equal, the amount of sugar people ate didnt make a difference. There have been at least 12 other systematic reviews and meta-analyses published over the past 10+ years on long-term low-carb diets .Of these 12 reviews:

    • 3 were in favour of low-carb
    • 3 were in favour of non-low-carb comparisons
    • 6 were neutral, meaning they concluded that various approaches can be equally valid and effective.

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    Sugar And Mental Health

    The physical effects of sugar consumption are well known, but researchers are also uncovering information about processed sugar and its effect on mental health. In general, what we eat impacts our mood and well-beingnot only in the immediate aftermath of ingestion, but also progressively over time. One reason for this is that the greatest concentration of serotoninwhich is critical to mood and emotion regulationis found in the gut, not the brain. Sometimes called the belly brain or microbiome, this system is connected directly to the brain. Therefore, if we eat nutritious foods that promote good brain function, mental health also benefits.

    But sugar has the opposite effect. What does too much sugar do to your body? Lets take a closer look.

    According to research by Malcolm Peet on processed sugar and its effects on mental health, sugar suppresses activity of a key growth hormone in the brain called BNDF. Low BNDF is associated with mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, and schizophrenia. Moreover, sugar triggers chemical reactions in the body that promote chronic inflammation, disrupting immune system function. The negative effects of sugar on the body can be partially explained by this chain of reactions.

    According to research, sugar suppresses activity of a key growth hormone in the brain called BNDF.

    Were Eating Too Much Sugar

    From achy joints, mood and gut issues, yeast overgrowth and acne to increased risks of autoimmunity, obesity, diabetes and heart disease, sugar takes a toll on the body. Even with all its ill effects, Americans consume around 66 pounds of added sugar per person each year. Sugar habits start early. A 2018 study found 99 percent of two year olds over-consume sugar.

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    Sugar And Kids: Your Questions Answered

    Sugar consumption, whether by kids or adults, is surrounded by controversy. Some people swear sugar is the enemy. Others claim it’s an acceptable way to placate irritable kids or reward a job well done. The truth, in my opinion, falls somewhere in the middle.

    Here, I offer answers to the most frequently asked sugar-related questions I get from parents.

    Q: Does sugar cause kids to be hyperactive?

    A: Many parents insist that eating sugar changes their child’s behavior. As it turns out, the suspected link is largely a myth. Several studies have explored the issue, but none of them support the theory that sugar causes hyperactivity. That said, I do think some kids are sugar sensitive. Your best bet: Pay attention to your child. If her behavior seems to change after eating sugar, it may be best to limit or avoid it. Foods that contain sugar also tend to have artificial colors, preservatives and other potentially triggering ingredients. But more often than not, hyperactive behavior is related to environmental factors and sleep deprivation.

    Q: How does sugar affect a growing child?

    A: When your child fills up on sugar-sweetened foods, they may have little room left for the nutritious options that growing bodies need, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Plus, too much sugar can also lead to weight gain and increase the risk of your child developing cavities.

    Q: What are your thoughts about nixing sugar from a child’s diet?

    Sugar Is A Leading Contributor To Obesity In Both Children And Adults

    What Damage Does Sugar Do To Your Body

    The way sugar affects hormones and the brain is a recipe for fat gain disaster.

    It leads to decreased satiety and can get people addicted so that they lose control over their consumption.

    Not surprisingly, people who consume the most sugar are by far the most likely to become overweight or obese. This applies to all age groups.

    Many studies have examined the link between sugar consumption and obesity and found a strong statistical association .

    The link is especially strong in children, where each daily serving of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with a whopping 60% increased risk of obesity .

    One of the most important things you can do if you need to lose weight is to significantly cut back on sugar consumption.

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