The connection between consumption of sugar and disease rates in the nation has been proven again by a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association. It indicates that people, who get over 21% of their daily calories from added sugars have about 50% higher risk of developing heart disease. This food is also extremely dangerous as a potential trigger for diabetes, as it literally programs your body to resist insulin. In addition, overeating sugars (and added sugars most of all) increases the risk of obesity.
Seeing that obesity-related diseases cause every 5th death in the country, one must take note of the role sugar consumption plays in the development of these conditions. It also becomes obvious that excluding sweets from your diet is essential for improving your general health.
Understanding the Sugar and Disease Connection
Many people aren’t aware that ‘sugar’ is not just the name of a common white crystallized sweetener. This term encompasses a huge group of sweet soluble carbs. The vast majority of foods we consume contain some types of sugar. The most common varieties of it are:
- Maltose (comes from grains)
- Lactose (comes from milk)
It’s impossible to exclude sugars from your food completely. It’s unnecessary as well, because these carbs aren’t dangerous when treated wisely. In fact, they make an excellent source of quick energy.
According to the study mentioned above, when your sugar intake provides 8% or less of your daily calories, it has no bearing on heart disease. In fact, the WHO healthy eating recommendations allow you to get 10% of calories from this food group.
However, sugar and disease become connected as soon as your level of intake exceeds that number. In this case, this carb causes the elevation in the LDL lipid levels, which brings all the dangers of high cholesterol. It also affects a variety of chemical processes that influence other diseases. The effects of sugar on heart health are most pronounced and most dangerous because heart failure is one of the main causes of death in the US.
Sugar’s effect on the risk of diabetes comes from two facts. The first is that its consumption is associated with obesity. The second is that eating sugar increases your natural levels of insulin resistance.
This happens because there are sugar-receptors located inside your gut. Unlike the taste buds on your tongue, these receptors do not perceive the taste of sweets. However, they send several signals to the brain. One of them is good, because it translates into something like ‘I’m full’. The other is the diabetes-provoking signal that makes your body produce more insulin for processing those carbs. Overusing that reaction gradually lowers the efficiency of insulin.
Sugar and Disease: What’s to Give Up?
Sugars found in natural foods aren’t a health concern unless you eat way too many of them. The dangerous ‘sweets’ are called ‘added sugars’. Food manufacturers add them to various products for enhancing the taste or as preservatives.
In the traditional American diet, the main source of added sugar is soda. Other foods that have a lot of it are junk foods and snacks, yogurt, ketchup, fruit juices, and even canned soups.
The only way to avoid the dangers of sugar-overload is to control your eating rigorously. You must exclude these products from your diet and only allow a rare treat to celebrate some special occasion.
This won’t be easy as sugar acts similar to drugs. When consumed, it triggers a release of dopamine, which activates your ‘reward system’. Alcohol and heroin act the same, but their effect is more potent. This type of positive stimulation is what makes sweet foods so enjoyable, but it also makes people crave more.
This means that you actually can get addicted to sugar, which explains why it boosts the risk of obesity so much. Saying ‘no’ to products with added sugars is a must if you want to improve your overall health.