Impact on Health

Excessive sugar intake can have lasting and damaging effects on the human body. From: http://ucanr.org/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=4452

According to the USDA, the average consumption of sugar has increased to over 150 pounds per person by 2000 which is substantial compared to about 12 pounds of sugar consumed by people in the early 1800s. (1)

Common problems associated with continual consumption of sugar:

Obesity and/or Weight Gain (2)

  • Sugar is our main source of energy, but when excessively consumed exceeds the storage capacity for glycogen. This means that’s the carbohydrates will turn into body fat.
  • This is exceptionally true with fructose which is a huge component of sodas, sweetened beverages, and processed foods.
  • Sugary foods encourage overeating and consequently more weight gain.

Decreased Blood Sugar Control (3)

  • Large amounts of glucose from refined carbohydrates quickly enter the bloodstream which starts an amplified release of insulin to lower the blood pressure.
  • The constant strain can lead to insulin resistance and possibly type 2 diabetes.
  • The problem can eventually lead to damage of the kidneys, nervous system, retinas, and/or cardiovascular if left unaddressed.

Suppressed Immunity (2)

  • Vitamin C and glucose are transported into cells through the same process so an increase of refined carbohydrate intake reduces the amount of vitamin C that can be absorbed. Vitamin C is needed for phagocytosis (a key role of the immune system), so sugar can easily suppress immunity.
  • Sugar can cause many other problems, but none of them can be kept under control without a properly functioning immune system.

Sugar Addiction (4)

  • Sugar consumption can affect mood because it can increase dopamine and opiates in the brain.
  • One study by even showed sugar to be more addictive than cocaine.

Heart Disease/Cancer (2)

  • Both of these conditions are constantly related to the consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates.
  • Sugar can provoke inflammation in the lining of the arteries and tissue damage.
  • It has the potential to increase the risk of cancer by 10,000 times; cancers associated with sugar include lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, gastric cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.

Poor Digestion (5)

  • Bacteria and fungi play an important role in human health by making vitamins, helping the immune system, and digestion, and when the balance is thrown off it can lead to a condition called an intestinal dysbiosis. Dysbiosis can lead to other serious diseases.
  • Sugar fuels the reproduction odf bacteria and fungi so consuming sugar and/or refined carbohydrates in excess can cause dysbiosis. It can also cause depression, fatigues, and vitamin deficiencies.

Works Used:

(1)United States Department of Agriculture. “Profiling Food Consumption in America.” 2002.

(2) Liu S. “Intake of Refined Carbohydrates and Whole Grain Foods in Relation to Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Coronary Heart Disease.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2002. 21(4):298-306.

(3) Challem J, Berkson B, Smith MD. “Syndrome X: The Complete Nutritional Program to Prevent and Reverse Insulin Resistance.” 2001.

(4) Lenoir M, Serre F, Cantin L, Ahmed SH (2007) Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward. PLoS ONE 2(8): e698. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000698

(5) Hudgins LC, Hellerstein MK, Seidman C, Neese RA, Tremaroli JD, Hirsch J. “Relationship between carbohydrate-induced hypertriglyceridemia and fatty acid synthesis in lean and obese subjects.” Journal of Lipid Research. 2000. 41:595-604.

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