Sugar is one of the most dangerous things for your body and can even trigger an addiction. Sugar is present in almost every processed food on the market, and it hides under many different names, affecting your body in many negative ways. While we are all well aware of the dangers of overeating fat and salt, there has been less attention on the overabundance of sugar in the American diet.
The sugar industry tends to bury the evidence that sugar is bad for your health, but it is actually responsible for about 40% of annual health care dollars. Over $1 trillion is spent fighting obesity in the United States, along with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Sugar has a direct impact on all of these diseases.
The foods you eat impact your brain, gut health, and metabolism. These all have an impact on your overall health and ability to be productive throughout the day. While sugar used to be a treat that people enjoyed on special occasions, it's now found in almost all foods except for whole foods. Aside from its presence in processed foods like snacks, drinks, bread, and sauces, it is also in infant formula and baby food, which triggers the release of "feel good" hormones, leading to one's desire for more.
Research has shown that eating refined sugar in excessive amounts encourages mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria provide the energy that your cells need, so when they do not function normally, many bodily functions may be disrupted. Researchers have found that sugar damages the function of your cells no matter how healthy you were prior to beginning eating poorly.
Researchers in a study in Surrey had two groups of men change their diets for three months. Initially, one group showed evidence of having a nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, while the other group did not. Each man spent 12 weeks eating either 650 calories or no more than 140 calories from sugar every day. The researchers then measured levels of fat present in the blood and liver. They discovered that those who ate 650 calories of sugar each day had higher levels of fat in their blood and liver.
This provided new evidence that eating a lot of sugar can change how your body metabolizes fat in ways that may increase the risk of heart disease. Fat metabolism refers to the process that fats undergo to break down and disperse to the cells around your body. Men who started the study with low levels of liver fat and ate a sugar-rich diet ended up with blood and liver measurements similar to that of men who had diseases related to obesity.
The goal of this study was to research the role sugar when it comes to the metabolism of the liver and how sugar influences heart health. The study found that both groups of men who ate a diet high in sugar showed changes in their fat metabolism that was linked to cardiovascular disease.
In the past, these diseases would typically only show up in adults. However, up to 10 percent of children aged between 2 to 19 are beginning to show signs of these diseases. The reason for this is because high sugar diets begin in infancy. Unfortunately, these children are at an increased risk of developing heart disease unless they change their diet.
The danger to developing children is even greater because their bodies are not able to process or handle the amount of sugar that they consume from candy, sodas, and processed foods. With many years of sugar consumption in their future, their mitochondria will be further damaged along with their cellular metabolism, which can lead to many deadly diseases.
There are also several ways that sugar contributes to changes in mood. Sugar increases insulin resistance, which is directly related to mental health. Over time, this leads to chronic inflammation in your body. In one analysis, researchers concluded that the dietary predictors for depression and schizophrenia are closely related to those of diabetes and heart disease. They all involve chronic inflammation which is primarily caused by the intake of sugar.
For optimal health, it is best to avoid sugar as much as you can. While it may be impossible to cut it out of your diet entirely, try focusing on eating a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables and other whole foods to avoid health issues in the future.