SUGAR, SUGAR, HOW SWEET IT IS

Five more reasons why too much sugar is bad for you, according to Jillian Kubala, MS, RD.
1. May Increase Your Risk of Depression

While a healthy diet can keep you mellow, a diet high in added sugar and processed foods may increase your chances of developing depression.

Consuming a lot of processed foods, including high-sugar products such as cakes and sugary drinks, has been associated with a higher risk of depression.

Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation and inflammation may all be reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health.

A study following 8,000 people for 22 years showed that men who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than men who ate less than 40 grams per day.

Another study in over 69,000 women demonstrated that those with the highest intakes of added sugars had a significantly greater risk of depression, compared to those with the lowest intakes.

A diet rich in added sugar and processed foods may increase depression risk in both men and women.

2. May Accelerate the Skin Aging Process

Wrinkles are a natural sign of aging. They appear eventually, regardless of your health. However, poor food choices can worsen wrinkles and speed the skin aging process.

“AGE5” are compounds formed by reactions between sugar and protein in your body. They are suspected to play a key role in skin aging.

Consuming a diet high in refined carbs and sugar leads to the production of AGEs, which may cause your skin to age prematurely.

When collagen and elastin become damaged, the skin loses its firmness and begins to sag.

In one study, women who consumed more carbs, including added sugars, had a more wrinkled appearance than women on a high-protein, lower-carb diet.

The researchers concluded that a lower intake of carbs was associated with better skin-aging appearance. Sugary foods can increase the production of AGEs, which can accelerate skin aging and wrinkle formation.

3. Can Increase Cellular Aging

Telomeres are structures found at the end of chromosomes, which are molecules that hold part or all of your genetic information. Telomeres act as protective caps, preventing chromosomes from deteriorating or fusing together. As you grow older, telomeres naturally shorten, which causes cells to age and malfunction.

Although the shortening of telomeres is a normal part of aging, unhealthy lifestyle choices can speed up the process. Consuming high amounts of sugar has been shown to accelerate telomere shortening, which increases cellular aging.

A study in 5,309 adults showed that regularly drinking sugar-sweetened beverages was associated with shorter telomere length and premature cellular aging.

In fact, each daily 20-ounce (591-Ml) serving of sugar-sweetened soda equated to 4.5 additional years of aging, independent of other variables. Eating too much sugar can accelerate the shortening of telomeres, which increases cellular aging.

4. Drains Your Energy

Foods high in added sugar quickly spike blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to increased energy.

However, this rise in energy levels is fleeting.

Products that are loaded with sugar but lacking in protein, fiber or fat lead to a brief energy boost that’s quickly followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar, often referred to as a crash.

Having constant blood sugar swings can lead to major fluctuations in energy levels. To avoid this, choose carb sources that are low in added sugar and rich in fiber.

For example, eating an apple along with a small handful of almonds is an excellent snack for prolonged, consistent energy levels.

High sugar foods can negatively impact your energy levels by causing a spike in blood sugar followed by a crash.

5. Can Lead to Fatty Liver

A high intake of fructose has been consistently linked to an increased risk of fatty liver disease.

Unlike glucose and other types of sugar, which are taken up by many cells throughout the body, fructose is almost exclusively broken down by the liver. In the liver, fructose is converted into energy or stored as glycogen. However, the liver can only store so much glycogen before excess amounts are turned into fat.

Large amounts of added sugar in the form of fructose overload your liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition characterized by excessive fat buildup in the liver.

A study in over 5,900 adults showed that people who drank sugar-sweetened beverages daily had a 56% higher risk of developing NAFLD, compared to people who did not.

Eating too much sugar may lead to NAFLD, a condition in which excessive fat builds up in the liver.

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