“Sugar, sugar, how sweet it is”
“Honey, honey, you’ve got me wanting you.”
The lyrics from The Archies’ hit song about teenage love.
The first five of 10 reasons why too much sugar is bad for you
From marinara sauce to peanut butter, added sugar can be found in even the most unexpected products. Many people rely on quick, processed foods for meals and snacks. Since these products often contain added sugar, it makes up a large proportion of their daily calorie intake.
In the U.S., added sugars account for up to 17% of the total calorie intake of adults and up to 14% for children. Dietary guidelines suggest limiting calories from added sugar to less than 10% per day.
Experts believe that sugar consumption is a major cause of obesity and many chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes.
Here are the first five of 10 reasons why eating too much sugar is bad for your health, according to Jillian Kubala, MS, RD.
1. Can Cause Weight Gain
Rates of obesity are rising worldwide and added sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages, is thought to be one of the main culprits. Consuming fructose increases your hunger and desire for food more than glucose, the main type of sugar found in starchy foods. Additionally, excessive fructose consumption may cause resistance to an important hormone that regulates hunger and tells your body to stop eating.
In other words, sugary beverages don’t curb your hunger, making it easy to quickly consume a high number of liquid calories. This can lead to weight gain. Research has consistently shown that people who drink sugary beverages, such as soda and juice, weigh more than people who don’t.
Also, drinking a lot of sugar-sweetened beverages is linked to an increased amount of visceral fat, a kind of deep belly fat associated with conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Consuming too much added sugar, especially from sugary beverages, increases your risk of weight gain and can lead to visceral fat accumulation.
2. May Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease
Sugar diets have been associated with an increased risk of many diseases, including heart disease, the number one cause of death worldwide.
Evidence suggests that high-sugar diets can lead to obesity, inflammation and high triglyceride, blood sugar and blood pressure levels—all risk factors for heart disease.
Additionally, consuming too much sugar, especially from sugar-sweetened drinks, has been linked to atherosclerosis, a disease characterized by fatty, artery-clogging deposits.
A study in over 30,000 people found that those who consumed 17-21% of calories from added sugar had a 38% greater risk of dying from heart disease, compared to those consuming only 8% of calories from added sugar.
Just one 16-ounce can of soda contains 52 grams of sugar, which equates to more than 10% of your daily calorie consumption, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
This means that one sugary drink a day can already put you over the limit for added sugar.
Consuming too much added sugar increases heart disease risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and inflammation. High-sugar diets have been linked to an increased risk of dying from heart disease.
3. Has Been Linked to Acne
Foods with a high glycemic index, such as processed sweets, raise your blood sugar more rapidly than foods with a lower glycemic index.
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.
Studies have shown that low-glycemic diets are associated with a reduced acne risk, while high-glycemic diets are linked to a greater risk.
For example, a study of 2,300 teens demonstrated that those who frequently consumed added sugar had a 30% greater risk of developing acne.
Also, many population studies have shown that rural communities that consume traditional, non-processed foods have almost non-existent rates of acne, compared to more urban, high-income areas.
These findings coincide with the theory that dies high in processed, sugar-laden foods contribute to the development of acne.
High-sugar diets can increase androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation, all of which can raise your risk of developing acne.
4. Increases Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
The worldwide prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled over the past 30 years.
Though there are many reasons for this, there is a clear link between excessive sugar consumption and diabetes risk.
Obesity, which is often caused by consuming too much sugar, is considered the strongest risk.
What’s more, prolonged high-sugar consumption drives resistance to insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels, causes blood sugar levels to rise and strongly increases your disk of diabetes.
A population study comprising over 175 countries found that the risk of developing diabetes grew by 1.1% for every 150 calories of sugar, or about one can of soda, consumed per day.
Other studies have also shown that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages, including fruit juice, are more likely to develop diabetes.
A high-sugar diet may lead to obesity and insulin resistance, with of which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.
5. May Increase Your Risk of Cancer
Eating excessive amounts of sugar may increase your risk of developing certain cancers.
First, a diet rich in sugary foods and beverages can lead to obesity, which significantly raises your risk of cancer.
Furthermore, diets high in sugar increase inflammation in your body and may cause insulin resistance, both of which increase cancer risk.
A study in over 430,000 people found that added sugar consumption was positively associated with an increased risk of esophageal cancer, pleural cancer and cancer of the small intestine.
Another study showed that women who consumed sweet buns and cookies more than three times per week were 1.42 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer than women who consumed these foods less than 0.5 times per week.
Research on the link between added sugar intake and cancer is ongoing, and more studies are needed to fully understand this complex relationship.
Too much sugar can lead to obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for cancer.
We’ll outline the other half next week.
It’s pretty overwhelming.