All health experts will agree that carbohydrates, especially refined ones, are some of the most harmful ingredients for the human body. Unfortunately, sugars are so present in our daily diet, that’s it’s virtually impossible to avoid them, even if we tried. In the long-term, sugar creates addiction, which apart from children, affects adults as well.
According to Dr. Robert H. Lustig, M.D. and Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Franciasco (UCSF), sugar consumption is the cause behind the majority of chronic illnesses prevalent today. Lustig is also the renowned author of “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”, but also a pioneer in decoding sugar metabolism. The doctor claims that the human body can safely metabolize a minimum of six teaspoons of sugar per day. But, statistical data reveal that on average, Americans consume over three times that amount, meaning that this excess sugar becomes metabolized into body fat. This is the root cause of most chronic metabolic diseases of today.
Some of the harmful effects of excessive sugar consumption include:
- Excessive sugar intake overworks and damages your liver. Health experts say that the damage is similar to that of alcohol because all the carbohydrates you consume end in the only organ that has the transporter for it – the liver.
- Excessive sugar intake leads to weight gain and affects your insulin and leptin function. It also “tricks” your metabolism by turning off your body’s appetite-control system. In other words it fails to stimulate insulin, which in turn fails to suppress ghrelin, or “the hunger hormone,” which then fails to stimulate leptin or “the satiety hormone.” This results in overeating and eventually in insulin
- Sugar affects proper metabolic function as excessive sugar intake triggers a group of symptoms known as metabolic syndrome. This leads to weight gain, abdominal obesity, decreased HDL and increased LDL, elevated blood sugar, elevated triglycerides, and high blood pressure.
- Excessive sugar intake also increases uric acid levels, which increases your risk of heart and kidney disease. What’s more, uric acid levels are used as a marker for fructose toxicity. According to a recent study, the normal range of uric acid is between 3 to 5.5 milligrams per deciliter. If you have higher uric acid levels, you’re at a risk of fructose toxicity.
These are warning signs that you’re eating too much sugar:
1# You’ve been putting on some weight.
This is no surprise as high sugar intake points to a calorie surplus. Unfortunately, sugar has no protein or fiber, meaning it doesn’t satiate your cravings – it only makes you eat more. Sugar also triggers insulin secretion, and insulin plays an important part in weight gain. To be more specific, when you eat sugar, your pancreas produces insulin, which transports sugar to your organs to be used for energy. So, when you stuff yourself with sugar, your body secretes more insulin. This excessive sugar intake leads to insulin resistance over time. And, according to health experts, insulin resistance means that your body can’t respond to normal insulin levels properly, therefore it can’t metabolize sugar properly. So, the initial weight gain from sugar calorie surplus turns into disruption of your normal insulin response – that’s actually the relation between insulin resistance and obesity. The most serious outcome is diabetes as this condition occurs when the pancreas is overworked for too long.
2# You constantly crave sugary things.
According to Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., and author of The Sugar Detox: Lose Weight, Feel Great and Look Years Younger, the more sugar you consume, the more you crave it. In other words, high sugar intake becomes a vicious and addictive circle. Sugar addiction is compared to the one produced from drugs as sugar also gives you a high followed by a crash, just like an actual drug.
3# You’re way moodier than usual.
The blood sugar crash that occurs when sugar is metabolized in your body triggers mood swings. Low energy levels also contribute to moodiness.
4# You feel sluggish throughout the day.
Sugar consumption first causes a spike of insulin and good mood, but once sugar is metabolized, it causes an inevitable crash. According to Brooke Alpert, energy is most stable when blood sugar is stable, which means eating too much sugar, affects your blood glucose levels, which leads to highs and lows of energy. Just for the record, energy is also obtained from protein and fiber, both vital nutrients for balanced energy levels.
5# You’ve been getting more cavities.
Mouth bacteria thrive on food remains that get stuck between teeth. This results in acid secretion, which than leads to tooth decay. Although the human saliva keeps a healthy balance of bacteria on its own, eating sugar can impact the pH and affect your oral ecosystem.
6# Your skin won’t stop breaking out.
According to Rebecca Kazin, M.D. of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and the Johns Hopkins Department of Dermatology, people react to insulin spikes from sugar intake, which triggers a hormonal cascade resulting in acne or rosacea breakout. If you happen to have sensitive skin, keeping sugar intake under control is really recommended. If you don’t, “you may be treating skin for other issues without getting to the bottom of what’s really going on.”
7# Nothing tastes as sweet as it used to.
Among other things, eating too much sugar affects your taste. In other words, high sugar intake increases your sugar tolerance, so you find yourself eating more and more sugar to satisfy your sweet tooth. This means that it takes lots of sugar to feel like something is really sweet. To lower your tolerance and be satisfied with low sugar levels, you need to start cutting down on sugar, which make be hard at first.
8# Your brain tends to get foggy, especially after a meal.
According to health experts, brain-fogginess is a common indicator of low blood sugar levels. When you overload your system with sugar, your blood glucose levels rise and fall sharply rather than gradually. Brooke Alpert claims that cognitive issues and impairment are seriously affected by poor blood sugar control.