You can find sugar in everything. Your morning cup of coffee, pastries, cake, cookies, breakfast cereal and soft drinks all have lots of sugar in them. Almost all processed foods contain high amounts of sugar. Other foods you may not realize are sugary include refined carbohydrates like baked potatoes, white rice, pasta and noodles.
Many people don’t stop to think about the dangers of eating too much sugar. How exactly does your body use sugar and what are the side effects of eating too much of it? More importantly what are the side effects on your health?
A diet heavy in sugar can increase your risk for death from heart disease, even if you maintain a healthy weight according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. The study spanned 15 years and found some alarming information regarding sugar. Participants who took in 25% or more calories from sugar were almost 2 times more likely to die from heart disease than those who took in 10% of their caloric intake from sugar.
Beverages like soda, energy drinks and sports drinks are the largest sources of sugar for many Americans. They make up over 30% of the added sugar in our diets. Nutritionists warn people against the dangers of a sugar filled diet for a two main reasons. Sugar is a well-known cause of weight gain, it’s bad for your teeth.
Weight Gain and Sugar
It’s not surprising that eating too much sugar can trigger weight gain. Your body will convert sugar that your body doesn’t need for energy into triglycerides – a type of fat that is stored around the stomach, waist, hips and thighs. Sugary drinks like cola and fruit-flavored punch are some of the worst culprits when it comes to weight gain. This is due to the fact that their calories will not leave you feeling full and can make you crave more.
Over time, studies have backed the idea that sugar and obesity are closely linked. One article in particular that shows a strong link between sugary beverages and unhealthy weight gain was published in 2006 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Diabetes and Sugar
The sugar that you eat will be transformed and make its way into the bloodstream. Your glucose levels (sugar levels) will elevate when you ingest sugar. The more sugar you ingest, the more your blood sugar will fluctuate. One of the most dangerous effects from eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrates is the risk for developing diabetes.
Eating too much processed sugars, bread, pastas, rice and other foods that cause your glucose levels to spike is one way that people develop diabetes. If you have diabetes, you need to closely monitor your sugar intake to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range.
Weakened Immune System
Many people who get sick often and don’t know why may not be considering their diet as a factor. Your immune system is your body’s defense against infection and illness. Overloading your body with sugar can inhibit the ability for your body to fight off infections due to virus, bacteria and parasites.
In a study published in USA today, researchers tested the effects on participants that ate sugar from honey, orange juice, white sugar or honey. The study showed that half of the healthy people who ingested sugar had a weakened immune system for up to 5 hours after. If you are eating sugar at every meal, your immune system will not be working at full strength after your meals. This can leave you vulnerable to all sorts of infections and illness over time.
Chronic Diseases and Sugar
Insulin is a hormone in your body that is synthesized by the pancreas. Your body produces insulin after your blood sugar rises in order to convert sugar into glucose so your body can use it for energy. Eating high amounts of sugar can raise your insulin levels. The more sugar and refined carbohydrates (which are converted into glucose) your body takes in, the more insulin your body will produce.
One way to avoid unhealthy level of blood sugar is to follow the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition’s guidelines. They published a glycemic index (GI) table to help. Foods with a high GI like white rice, white bread, baked potatoes, soft drinks and others will cause your blood sugar to fluctuate. Chronically high insulin levels from eating these types of foods can increase your risk for cancer, heart disease, acne and more.
Reducing your sugar intake can help lower your insulin levels and help you avoid health risks. Speak with a healthcare professional about getting comprehensive screening to find out your blood sugar levels. Total Home Health Inc. will connect you with a local expert in your area. Contact us today to get started.