Overconsumption of added sugar is wreaking havoc on our physical and mental health. Here, are 11 ways sugar does more harm than good.
1. IT MAKES YOUR ORGANS FAT
The fructose (a component of table sugar and other sweet products) in added sugars triggers your liver to store fat more efficiently, and in unusual places. Over time, a diet high in fructose could lead to globules of fat building up around your liver, a precursor to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
2. IT MESSES WITH YOUR HEART
The reality is that heart disease and diabetes are intricately related: Heart disease and stroke are the number one causes of death among people with type 2 diabetes, accounting for 65% of those deaths. Limit your intake and always check food labels for these sneaky sugars: sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, maltose, dextrose, raw sugar, cane sugar, malt extract and molasses.
3. IT PROMOTES CHOLESTEROL CHAOS
There is an unsettling connection between sugar and cholesterol. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that, after excluding people with high cholesterol and/or diabetes and people who were highly overweight, those who ate the highest levels of added sugars experienced the biggest spike in bad cholesterol levels and dangerous triglyceride blood fats, and the lowest good (HDL) cholesterol levels. One theory? Sugar overload could spark your liver to churn out more bad cholesterol while also inhibiting your body's ability to clear it out.
4. IT CAN LEAD TO TYPE-3 DIABETES
Yep, that's a thing. Brown University neuropathologist Dr Suzanne de la Monte coined the term "type 3 diabetes" after her team was the first to discover the links between insulin resistance, high-fat diets, and Alzheimer's disease. In fact, her work suggests Alzheimer's is a metabolic disease, one in which the brain's ability to use glucose and produce energy is damaged. To paraphrase, it's like having diabetes in the brain.
5. IT MAKES YOUR HUNGRY
Sugar. Makes. You. Feel. Famished. Emerging research suggests regularly eating too much sugar scrambles your body's ability to tell your brain you're full. Carrying a few extra pounds and living with type 2 diabetes can throw off your body's ability to properly put off leptin hormones; leptin's job is to say, "I'm full! Now stop eating!" Fructose also appears to play badly with leptin; eating a high-fructose diet means your body feels hungry, even when you're overeating.
6. IT AGES YOU
Sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. These unwanted invaders attack nearby proteins, damaging them, including protein fibres in collagen and elastin, the components that keep your skin firm and elastic. The result of too much sugar? Dry, brittle protein fibres that lead to wrinkles and saggy skin.