How often has is happened that we got up in the middle of the night only to eat either a whole bar of chocolate of a tub of ice cream? Happens quite a lot, right? After all, cravings are cravings, aren’t they? But how many of us have actually thought about how eating so much sweet food affects our body? Or more precisely, how sugar affects our body? Unfortunately, it’s an essential ingredient of our diet, but too much to sugar can damage our health to a great extent. Here we will explain the top 10 reasons why sugar is extremely bad for your health and should be avoided whenever possible.
The reasons are:
10. Sugar accelerates aging.
It does come as a surprise, doesn’t it? Yes, sugar can very well cause aging. Wrinkles,deep-lines, sagging etc are all results of glycation. Now glycation happens when a glucose molecule reacts with amino acids forming ADVANCED GLYCOSYLATION END PRODUCTS(AGE’s). This causes the skin to lose its strength and flexibility, and hence makes it more prone to sagging and sun damage, hence aging follows.
Now you know what to cut down on if you plan on keeping that smooth skin for long!
9. It interferes with immune function.
Sugary foods are really comforting, and hence we eat them when we are bored, sad, hungry, almost all the time. But do you have any idea how they affect our immunity?
Sugar molecules affect our White Blood Cells(WBC’s, which are our body’s protectors against harmful diseases) by competing for space against Vitamin C. White blood cells use Vitamin C to fight, and since the chemical structure of glucose and vitamin C is almost the same, the glucose molecules easily occupy the space and hence decrease the ability of WBC’s to a huge extent. So if you eat a lot of sugar, your immune system is likely to be at a constant disadvantage.
8. It causes high blood pressure(hypertension).
Since years it has been believed that blood pressure or hypertension, is caused by excess intake of sodium. But recent studies have shown, added sugar in processed foods is a major factor which affects blood pressure. It has been found that increased levels of fructose significantly increases systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It is also believed that over consumption of fructose may be related to the increased heart rates/cardiac outputs/ oxygen demands and other factors which may cause this disease.
7. It is highly addictive.
What did you think, only drugs like cocaine, ecstasy etc can be addictive to your body? It has been found by various researches and scans, that sugar is as addictive to our brain as cocaine. When we eat sugar, it releases Dopamine in the are of our brain known as Nucleus Accumbens. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is a major factor of the “reward circuit” of our brain. When excess dopamine is released, we feel a pleasurable ‘high’ which is similar to the one after taking drugs. It makes us crave for more, and to re-experience the ‘high’ we consume it more, thereby, making it an addiction.
6. It’s the world’s leading cause of OBESITY.
Obesity isn’t a new term for us. According to statistics, obesity has increased exponentially in the past 30 years worldwide. Obesity happens when the energy intake is greater than the energy expenditure from our body’s metabolism. Sugar (in particular,fructose) has been termed as the major factor for obesity as it provides a huge amount of calories with little or no nutritional value. Found mostly in sodas, juices, cold-drinks etc, fructose in the biggest enemy of a healthy body. Contrary to Glucose, fructose does not satisfy hunger, thereby making us eat more of it, which leads to excess weight gain, and a result, being obese, which can have fatal consequences as well.
5. It causes yellowing of teeth as well as tooth decay.
We have all grown up seeing toothpaste advertisements, and almost all of them showed how eating sweets led to tooth decay. Well, they weren’t wrong. The bacteria in our mouth use sugar to produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth by destroying the enamel, which is the outer covering of our teeth. The bacteria use energy to become plaque, which in turn uses more energy to grow. This happens more if you take sugar-sweetened drinks often.
4. It can cause cancer.
Yes. You read that right. As they say, sugar feeds every cell of our body- even cancer cells. Cancer cells use sugar 10-12 times more than a healthy cell. And if you take excess amount of it, remember that you’re helping cancer cells grow in your body at a very fast rate. Refined sugars, sweetened drinks etc should be highly avoided if one wants to prevent cancer. Cancer cells love an acidic environment, and excess sugar gives it the perfect setting to develop more and more.
3. It causes insulin resistance, leading to diabetes.
Insulin is probably the most important hormone of our body. It regulates glucose and maintains blood sugar by allowing the cells to take glucose from the blood to metabolize it. But taking excess amount of sugar( or glucose in particular) leads to the cells becoming resistant to it. Thus insulin resistance is developed, which is the leading cause of obesity, cardiovascular diseases and Type II Diabetes. This is very common among people who take a huge amount of sweetened drinks.
2. It makes your liver sick.
As we already know, sugar consists of Glucose and Fructose. Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver. No other organ can perform this function. Liver turns the fructose into glycogen. Highly active people like athletes can easily take fructose as their liver will turn it all into glycogen, but for less active people, whose livers are already full of glycogen, fructose is converted to fat. Some of the fats turn into blood triglycerides while the rest play a significant role in contributing to non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases.
1. Sugar can increase your chances of heart diseases by a great number.
It’s a common myth which is believed that heart diseases are generally caused by fats. When actually, its the sugar which sets you up for various heart diseases. Excess intake of it is linked with high levels of LDL( Low-density lipoprotein) which is known as the bad cholesterol, along with increased number of triglycerides, which is another type of fat found in the blood, which, inevitably, leads to an increased risk of heart diseases. Studies have shown people having a lower intake of it had high levels of HDL (High-density lipoprotein), which is known as the good cholesterol.
Even though sugar is addictive and it is practically impossible to avoid it at all costs, its easy to cut down its intake if you remember how it takes a toll on your body and take the necessary steps to make sure you have a healthy body as well as a healthy mind.