Today’s modern diet is full of added sugars which is probably the worst ingredient we can consume for human health. Sugar has so many negative effects on the body and mind. My intentions for writing this blog is to educate and empower you to see sugar differently, maybe no longer as a “treat” for yourself or your kids. I will list some of the reasons you should say “NO” to sugar.
- Sugar has no nutritional value. This is what I call “empty calories”. Interesting enough, the more sugar one consumes, the more at risk for having nutritional deficiencies. Being nutritionally deficient leaves you tired and increases your risk for several diseases.
- Sugar can damage your liver as much as alcoholic can. Added sugars like High Fructose Corn Syrup (commonly found in candy, soft drinks, baked goods) have the greatest impact. When this sugar is ingested, it is broken down into glucose and fructose. Fructose specifically can only be metabolized by the liver. If we eat too much fructose, the excess gets converted into fat in the liver. Fructose is then used to make cholesterol particles (VLDL) and high amounts of this can lead to a liver disease called Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD).
- Sugar overload can cause Insulin Resistance, Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes. Insulin is an essential hormone in our body which allows glucose to enter the cells. Insulin responds to levels of sugar in the bloodstream. When there is too much sugar in the blood, the pancreas releases a large amount of insulin to bring the blood sugar levels down. If this continues, our cells become less responsive to insulin and develop a condition called “insulin resistance”. If left untreated, this can lead to other diseases like Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Obesity etc.
- Sugar can develop and feed cancer. Sugar and its resulting effects on insulin has been known to contribute to the development of cancer; specifically, the inflammation caused by excess sugar consumption. Studies have also showed that those people who eat a lot of sugar are at a higher risk of getting cancer.
- Sugar is the leading cause of obesity in children and adults. When you eat sugar, there is no signal to your brain suggesting that you are full. Sugar will not curb cravings, but instead leaves you wanting to eat more and more. With the corresponding rise in insulin, which is our ” fat storage” hormone, weight gain will happen.
- Sugar is addicting. Sugar causes dopamine to be released in the brain. Dopamine is a hormone that makes us feel good and can lead to addictive behaviours. Sugar in moderation may be tough for some people, due to its effects on the brain. Abstinence may be the only thing that works for some people.
- Do you have High cholesterol and Heart disease? Sugar may be the reason. New research is suggesting that sugar, NOT fat may be one of the leading causes of heart disease due to the fructose metabolism. Studies show that high amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides and cholesterol (LDL and oxidized LDL-the bad cholesterol).
Dr. Jennifer Cisternino, ND