More and more studies confirm that excess sugar can be the cause of many diseases. Besides sweet foods, the presence of hidden sugar in processed foods increases the amount of sugar we ingest daily. While weight gain and cavities are among the most well-known risks, other problems such as heart disease, hypertension or trouble sleeping are also associated with high sugar levels in the body.
Here are 7 reasons why it is imperative to watch your sugar intake.
- Cavities (and gingivitis)
Sugar is not only a source of energy for the body, it also gives “more strength” to the bacteria in the mouth. When we consume sugar, these bacteria become more active, multiply and form a plaque on the surface of the teeth. This adherent film produces acid which will dissolve the minerals covering the external part of the tooth. This process results in the formation of small holes or an increase in the porosity of the tooth until it turns into caries. This bacterial plaque can also be deposited on the surface of the teeth and on the gums, which in this case promotes inflammation of the gums and the appearance of gingivitis. Note that there are more than 500 species of bacteria that live in the mouth.
- Weight gain
Sugar is transformed into glucose once it arrives in the body. Refined sugars undergo this transformation the fastest. However, if we eat too much sugar, the insulin produced by the pancreas and whose role is to maintain blood sugar levels at a stable level, will transfer the excess sugar into the cells. In less active people, only a lesser part will be used as an energy store, the major part will be transformed into a fat reserve. You should know that weight gain, especially at the abdominal level, is dangerous in particular for cardiovascular health.
- Alzheimer’s disease (and stroke)
Several studies have shown that consuming excess sugar may increase the risk of dementias such as Alzheimer’s. We also know that a Mediterranean diet, low in added sugars, is an excellent way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
A study published in April 2017 in the specialized journal Stroke showed that people who drank at least one light drink a day were about 3 times more likely to develop a stroke or dementia. To reach these conclusions, the scientists analyzed data from around 2,900 people over the age of 45 in the stroke group and around 1,500 people over the age of 60 in the dementia group. .
- Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH) is a liver disease characterized by the abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver. This disorder can progress to damage or inflammation of liver cells. If alcohol is not implicated in the onset of this disease, a sedentary lifestyle, poor food hygiene and above all a diet rich in sugar are considered to be the main factors. Indeed, studies have shown that fructose precipitates fat accumulation in the liver due to increased lipogenesis and impaired fat oxidation. Similarly, the excess of carbohydrate in the blood causes a strong secretion of insulin. To keep the balance, the insulin will transfer all the excess sugar into the fat cells, but also into the muscles and the liver.
- Sleep disorder
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that eating too much sugar promoted sleep disruption, with more waking up at night and less restful sleep. This could be explained by a higher percentage of energy coming from sugar and other carbohydrates that are not always considered sugar. This excess energy acts as a stimulant that maintains a certain state of excitement, causing lighter sleep.
- Heart disease
Too much sugar increases the level of bad cholesterol and reduces the concentration of good cholesterol or HDL. As mentioned earlier, excess sugar promotes overweight and obesity as well as the accumulation of fat in the liver. A study published in the scientific journal JAMA Internal showed that a high intake of added sugar was associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Moreover, a study at the congress of the European Society of Cardiology showed that the accumulation of fat in the belly was bad for the heart.
A study published in 2010 showed that a diet too high in fructose could increase blood pressure. The risk is to exceed the threshold of 120/80 mmHg, considered the upper limit not to be exceeded, especially in certain countries such as the United States. There may be differences from country to country.
Researchers have come to the conclusion that there is growing evidence that excessive fructose consumption can have a multitude of adverse health effects such as increased blood pressure, induction of Syndrome metabolism, the appearance of fatty liver and sometimes the onset or acceleration of kidney disease.
Gunter GC Kuhnle (al): Association between sucrose intake and risk of overweight and obesity in a prospective sub-cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer in Norfolk (EPIC-Norfolk). Public Health Nutrition doi.10.1017/S1368980015000300
St-Onge: Fiber and Saturated Fat Are Associated with Sleep Arousals and Slow Wave Sleep. J Clin Sleep Med. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.5384.
Anita Slomski: Excessive Sugar Puts Hearts in the Danger Zone. JAMA
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