Sometimes being told what you should be eating in place of what you want to be eating is news you don’t want to hear, and this might be one of those occasions. For those who have a serious sweet tooth and think little of adding sugar to a food item such at any meal, the bad news is this – sugar might be Public Enemy No. 1 – more so even than fat – when it comes to a healthy diet and a healthy you.
America on a Sugar Kick
Take America, for instance, where the consumption of sugar rages on as something akin to a mass obsession – and even the writer of this blog is guilty of this health crime. America's consumption of soft drinks, ice cream, foods full of high fructose corn syrup, sugar sweetened beverages, and on top of all that fruits with naturally occurring sugars is heading towards unprecedented levels. Per healthline.com, added sugars in the U.S. are running up to about 17 percent of the total daily calorie intake for adults and 14 percent for children, when dietary guidelines say that added sugar should be running at less than 10 percent. Our sweet tooth is becoming our sweet Achilles’ heel, so to speak and leading to some health problems for us all.
6 Reasons Excess Sugar Consumption is a Health Risk
Two things we can tell you right off the bat: too much ingestion of grams of sugar – and yeah, it’s hard to resist – has been blamed by health experts as a major cause of obesity, high blood pressure, and chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. And that’s for starters. Here’s some more bad news to swallow with that next teaspoon of sugar added to your coffee or bowl of cereal:
- Weight gain. Per National Institutes of Health (NIH), studies have shown that specific types of dietary sugars (and, yes, fats) have been shown capable of inducing leptin resistance in animals, referring to the hormone that works to control our hunger. The greater the leptin resistance, the greater desire to keep right on eating. Pig out on sugar, and pig up thy body mass.
- Increased heart disease risk. Chew on this fact for a moment: heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death worldwide, and diets abundant in sugar can lead to obesity (you already knew that), inflammation, high triglycerides and elevated blood sugar (think diabetes) and blood pressure levels – all of which play in to heart disease, per heathline.com.
- Mental health issues. Specifically, for the sake of brevity here, depression comes to mind. Consumption of an excess number of high-sugar products such as cakes, cookies, and sugary drinks have been linked to a higher risk of depression brought on by blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation, and inflammation, per healthline.com.
- Accelerated aging. This can involve both skin aging and cellular aging. In the case of the latter, per healthline.com, ingesting too much sugar can speed up the shortening of chromosomal structures known as telomeres, accelerating the processes leading to the aging of cells and their malfunction.
- Fatty liver. An abundant intake of fructose (or sugar) taxes your liver, which just happens to be key bodily organ involved in the necessary breakdown of fructose. Your liver performs a number of indispensable roles, one of which is to be the major agent of detoxification of your body. Overloading your liver with sugar is something to be avoided.
- Acne. This should scare away the teens – some grownups, too – who have a hard enough time as it is avoiding the social stigma of showing a face in public covered with pimples. Well, the more sugar you partake of, the greater the risk of more acne than you had bargained for. Per NIH, as cited by healthline.com, “Sugary foods quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, causing increased androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which play a role in acne development.