Published on: 01/22/19
Is too much sugar the main culprit for many of our negative health conditions? The majority of us know by now that a high sugar diet can cause obesity, but did you know it could also lead to more serious conditions like dementia? I’m sure most of us hadn’t even considered it! Are you guilty of a high sugar diet?
While you might be aware—or should be by now—that a high sugar diet is bad for your health, an enormous number of Americans still appear to consume far too much sugar on a daily basis.
While it might be obvious that soft drinks and candy bars are the main culprits, there are also plenty of other less obvious choices that may also be loaded with dangerous amounts of added sugars.
Your BBQ sauce and even seemingly healthy cereal bars have added sugars lurking out of plain sight. Excessive added sugars can be found in many of the products sold in your local grocery store leaving many people ignorant as to just how much sugar is actually contained in these products.
The Effects of a High Sugar Diet
Sadly, there are millions of people in the US today who rely heavily on processed foods for all their main meals and snacks. These types of mass-produced products tend to contain high levels of added sugar and are often promoted as health foods, taking up an increasingly large proportion of a person’s daily calorie intake.
According to the most recent studies, added sugars account for up to 17% of the total calorie intake for adults and up to 14% for children. However, Dietary Guidelines for Americans ‘recommends limiting calories from added sugars to no more than 10% each day.’
As a result, experts now hold the belief that excessive sugar consumption is one of the major causes of obesity, diabetes and heart disease and science certainly seems to back this up.
A 2015 study indicated that high-sugar diets are potentially responsible for a raised risk of heart disease and diabetes in otherwise young, healthy people.
But what are the effects of sugar on the body?
The evidence on the effects of sugar is overwhelming with high-sugar diets capable of causing a litany of health-related issues with a number of studies have revealed that high-sugar diets have been connected to an increased risk of many diseases and illnesses.
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High sugar diets can cause inflammation and high triglyceride as well as altering blood sugar, and blood pressure levels - all of which are risk factors for heart disease as evidenced by this study conducted in 2014.
A 2014 study of over 30,000 people discovered that those who consumed 17–21% of their daily calorie intake from added sugar had a 38% greater risk of dying from heart disease, compared to those consuming only 8% of calories from added sugar.
Diabetes and Obesity
According to figures published in 2011, cases of diabetes have more than doubled in the past 30 years and while there are many reasons for this, evidence strongly suggests excessive sugar consumption is one of its central causes.
The issue of obesity, which is in many instances caused by the overconsumption of sugar, is considered one of the strongest risk factors for diabetes while prolonged high-sugar consumption is said to cause resistance to insulin; a hormone produced by the pancreas that is essential in regulating blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance has the nasty effect of causing a rise in blood sugar levels which greatly increases the risk of developing diabetes.
A remarkable study published in 2013, compromising over 175 countries revealed that the risks of developing diabetes grew by 1.1% for every 150 calories of sugar consumed—about the same as a can of soda—per day.
Worryingly, a single can of soda that typically contains upwards of 52 grams of sugar would represent more than 10% of your daily calorie consumption, based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Essentially, one single sugary drink per day will likely put you over the recommended daily limit for added sugar.
It is evident, especially with the popularisation of energy drinks, that there is an increasing concern over how many people are going way over their daily limit for sugar intake.
While many of us assume that fizzy soft drinks are often the biggest culprits for added sugars and that fruit juices are healthier options, this just isn’t the case. Fruit juices have about the same, if not more added sugars despite appearing to be a health-conscious alternative to soft drinks, with further studies indicating that those who consume fruit juice or other sugar-sweetened beverages on a daily basis also have a heightened risk of developing diabetes.
So what are the effects of sugar on the body you may ask? While it is well known that a healthy diet can help improve your mental wellbeing, it is conversely true that a diet loaded with added sugars and processed foods will increase your chances of developing depression.
According to studies published in 2014, the excessive consumption of processed foods including products containing high levels of sugar—especially soft drinks and candies—found that a high sugar intake could be associated with a higher risk of depression.
Blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation, and inflammation are said to be just some of the reasons behind sugar’s negative impact on mental health. In a 2017 study that followed 8,000 people for 22 years, it revealed that men who consumed 67 grams of sugar or more per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than men who consumed less than 40 grams per day.
So, while common sense tells us that fruits and vegetables are essential in both our physical and mental well-being, thanks to these studies, we now know what the increased risks are to our mental health when we do not follow a healthy, nutritious and well-balanced diet.
Sugar — A Factor in Several Health Conditions
Heart-disease, diabetes, and depression are three of the main diseases and illnesses thought to be caused, in some part, by the effects of sugar on the body, sadly there are many other issues that are also connected to excessively high levels of sugar in a person's diet. Including the following:
Yet, despite all this knowledge, millions of people around the world still continue to consume excessive levels of sugar each and every day, damaging their health and that of their children without fully understanding the effects of sugar on the body.
How to Stop Eating Sugar
Understanding what we are eating is vital if we are going to learn how to stop eating sugar.
So many of the products that people consume as so-called “healthier options” are actually loaded with sugar and may be doing more harm than good.
Surprisingly, snacks like granola bars, protein bars, and dried fruit can contain as much, if not more sugar than other more obvious sugar-filled treats.
Some granola bars contain as much as eight teaspoons—that’s 32 grams—of sugar; which is quite worrying when we imagine how many people consume these products because they are a “healthier” option.
While the UK has looked into introducing a sugar-tax as a measure designed to curb excessive levels of sugar consumption, the US still appears to market millions of sugary products that could be potentially dangerous to your health.
So, the question is, do you to reduce, or eliminate entirely all processed foods from your diet by always checking labels for added sugars?
Of course, the best way to avoid added sugars is to cook your meals from scratch. Even though it might take a little longer, but the benefits of cooking home-grown produce or organic fresh produce could well save you from any number of potential health issues that are caused by excessive levels of added sugars. The effects of sugar and a high sugar diet are both real and deeply concerning so it is vital that we all become more educated on what we eat; allowing us to avoid the potential pitfalls of a high sugar diet.
Disclaimer: Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Endoca and its staff. This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or cure. Endoca CBD products have not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).