When you eat too much sugar, its pleasant taste makes you forget its dangers. But be aware that it can be extremely damaging to your health: here’s why.
Eating too much sugar is bad for the heart
Harvard University researchers followed thousands of American adults over a 15-year period and found that those who consume more than 25% of their daily intake of added sugar are twice as likely to die from heart disease than those who stick to 10% or less per day.
The greatest source of sugar?
grain-based foods such as store-bought muffins;
dairy desserts such as ice cream.
“No added sugar” does not mean “health”
Even though the packaging says “100% juice,” that doesn’t mean you have to drink it all at once. The drink may not have added sweeteners, but the natural sugar in it is much more concentrated than what you might find in a piece of fruit. Unlike oranges and apples which are high in fiber, juices offer empty calories and minimal nutritional value.
Sugar abuse is linked to dementia
In 2017, researchers at the University of Bath discovered a molecular link between sugary diets and the causes of Alzheimer’s. They found that glycation – a natural reaction in which glucose acts on cells – causes damage to an enzyme that reduces the buildup of abnormal proteins in the brain, a hallmark of the disease.
Sugar won’t turn your kids on, it will make it worse than that!
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that sugar does not affect children’s behavior. “It could simply be the result of the environment where the food is eaten (a party, for example), which would make the kids more excited,” said Andrea D’Ambrosio, nutritionist from Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont. However, sugar increases their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. A 2016 obesity study shows that by reducing the amount of sugar a child consumes for 9 days, levels return to normal. You have to be careful with the sugar that messes up the brain.
Sugar hidden in snacks
Smoothies: Half a liter of the precious liquid contains 30 to 80 grams of sugar (one Hershey chocolate bar contains 24).
Assortment of dried fruit: Having a bag of dried fruit on hand may seem like a healthy choice, but 25% of commercial brands contain up to 16 grams of sugar per bag.
Yogurt: An individual jar of fruit yogurt can contain up to 22 grams of sugar. If you add granola cereals, you raise that number to 28. Why not go for Greek yogurt?
Dressing: A salad as a meal turns out to be a wise choice … unless you choose the wrong dressing. Some brands offer French or raspberry vinaigrettes that contain more than 5 grams of sugar per 2 tablespoons.
Oatmeal: Flavored oatmeal seems like a good, healthy choice for busy mornings, but each sachet can hold up to 12 grams of sugar. Double the number if you add a tablespoon of brown sugar to it.
Sugar is as bad for your liver as alcohol
Unlike other forms of sugar, fructose is processed in the liver. Although it is found in its natural form in fruit, we consume far too much of it due to our love of food with sweeteners, which increases the number of non-alcohol related liver disease. Visible proof: the sugar belly (yes, like the beer belly!). How does this happen? The liver breaks down excess fructose into fatty globules which then begin their journey through our blood vessels to accumulate in our internal organs and in the belly. Like the damage caused by alcohol, it causes inflammation and scarring. “It is one of the main causes of a liver transplant,” says Professor Schmidt.
Sugar and cancer cells
A study from the University of Texas at Dallas shows a link between sugar and cancer cells in carcinoma, which are difficult to treat and are responsible for a quarter of lung cancers. Also according to the study, four types of cancer cells “feed” on sugar.
Sugar could keep you awake all night
A 2016 Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine study shows that consuming a significant amount of sugar (and saturated fat, while leaving out fiber) is directly associated with poor, restless nights of sleep.