- It can damage the heart
Excess sugar can increase the overall risk for heart disease, a 2013 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association displayed strong evidence that sugar can actually affect the pumping mechanism of your heart and could increase the risk for heart failure.
- Sugar promotes belly fat
One factor that seems to affect obese children is fat accumulation in the trunk area of the body. Why? One cause may be the increase in fructose-laden beverages. A 2010 study in children found that excess fructose intake (but not glucose intake) actually caused visceral fat cells to mature — setting the stage for a big belly and even bigger future risk for heart disease and diabetes.
- Sugar is a silent killer
Why the silent killer? Because it all happens without symptoms or warning bells. If you have gained weight in the past year and cannot quite figure out why, perhaps you should look at how much fructose you are feeding your body.
- Sugar may be linked to cancer production and may effect cancer survival
In the world of nutrition, it’s hard to talk about sugar without talking about insulin. That is because insulin is sugar’s little chaperone to the cells, and when too much of it is consumed, or our insulin does not work (probably because we’re eating too much sugar) and the body revolts. In addition to putting people at an increased risk for developing cancer, obesity also worsens a cancer patient’s prognosis. Research from our group and others has shown that a variety of cancers grow at faster rates in obese patients than in lean individuals. Furthermore, obesity appears to increase the chances that a patient’s cancer will metastasize.
- Your sugar “addiction” may be genetic
If you have ever said, “I’m completely addicted to sugar,” you may actually be correct. A recent study of 579 individuals showed that those who had genetic changes in a hormone called ghrelin consumed more sugar (and alcohol) than those that had no gene variation.
- Sugar and alcohol have similar toxic liver effects on the body
A 2012 paper in the journalNature, brought forth the idea that limitations and warnings should be placed on sugar similar to warnings we see on alcohol. The authors showedevidence that fructose and glucose in excess can have a toxic effect on the liver as the metabolism of ethanol — the alcohol contained in alcoholic beverages had similarities to the metabolic pathways that fructose took.
- Sugar may sap your brainpower
When I think back on my childhood, I remember consuming more sugar than I probably should have. I should have enjoyed my youth back then, because unfortunately, all the sugar may have accelerated the aging process. A 2009study found a positive relationship between glucose consumption and the aging of our cells.
- Sugar hides in many everyday “non-sugar” foods
- An overload of sugar (specifically in beverages) may shorten your life
A 2013studyestimated that 180,000 deaths worldwide may be attributed to sweetened beverage consumption.
- Sugar is making us fat
I figured I would leave the most obvious fact for last. While you may be aware that too many calories from any source will be stored as fat if not burned, what you may not connect is that the lack of other nutrients in sugar actually makes it much easier to eat gobs of it with no physical effects to warn us of the danger that lurks.
Take a look at the sugar consumption trends over the past 300 years:
- In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.
- In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.
- In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.
- In 2012, more than 50% of all Americans consumed 1/2 pound of sugar per day — translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!
In 1890, only three people out of 100,000 had diabetes. In 2012, almost 8,000 out of every 100,000 people were diagnosed with diabetes!
The simplest way to cut down dramatically the amount of sugar in your diet is to switch to consuming only whole unprocessed foods. Most of the added sugars come from processed foods and not from adding some to your coffee or tea.
- Using Stevia or Lo Han instead of sugar and/or artificial sweeteners. Stevia is an extremely sweet herb derived from the leaf of the South American stevia plant, which is completely safe (in its natural form). Green stevia is the whole plant, while white stevia is processed and can often contain other ingredients like natural flavors or dextrose − a form of sugar. One hundred percent green stevia in its natural state is what you want.
- Using fresh fruit in lieu of canned fruit or sugar for meals or recipes calling for a bit of sweetness and have immune and cancer preventative properties.
- Using spices instead of sugar to add flavor to your meal
- Consider reducing your protein intake to less than 65grams a day
- Replace the non-vegetable carbs (sugar/fructose/grains) and excess protein with high quality fats, such as organic eggs from pastured hens, high quality meats, avocados, and coconut oil.
- Sweeteners containing aspartame, saccharin or sucralose contribute to bladder cancer, lymphoma and leukemia, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
Read carefully the package labels, look for sugar listed as the first ingredient, and be aware of hidden sugar names: fructose, lactose, sucrose, maltose, glucose, and dextrose.