- Sugar contains added calories with no essential nutrients
There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar – just pure energy. A diet that includes 10 – 20 percent of calories as sugar can contribute to nutrient deficiencies. When up to 10 – 20% or more of your calories come from sugar, this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.
- Sugar can overload your liver
Before sugar enters the bloodstream from the digestive tract, it is broken down into two simple sugars – glucose and fructose. If we don’t get glucose from the diet, our bodies produce it. Fructose,however, is different. Our bodies do not produce it in any significant amount and there is no physiological need for it. If the liver is full of glycogen, eating a lot of fructose overloads the liver, forcing it to turn the fructose into fat. This can lead to fatty liver and a number of serious health problems.
- Sugar can lead to diabetes
Insulin is a very important hormone in the body. It allows glucose (blood sugar) to enter cells from the bloodstream and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin. When our cells become resistant to the effects of insulin, the beta cells in the pancreas make more of it. As insulin resistance becomes progressively worse, the pancreas can’t keep up with the demand of producing enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels down. At this point, blood sugar levels skyrocket (which leads to the diagnosis of diabetes). It is not surprising that studies show that people who drink sugar-sweetened beverages increase their risk of diabetes by more than 80 percent.
- Sugar can cause cancer
Cancer is characterized by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells – and insulin is one of the key hormones in regulating this sort of growth. Many scientists believe that having constantly elevated insulin levels (a consequence of sugar consumption) can contribute to cancer. In addition, the metabolic problems associated with sugar consumption are a known driver of inflammation, another potential cause of cancer.
- Sugar is highly addictive
Sugar can be addictive. Like abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain. People who have a susceptibility to addiction can become strongly addicted to sugar and other junk foods.
- Sugar is a leading contributor to obesity
Not surprisingly, people who consume the most sugar are the most likely to become overweight or obese. One of the most important things you can do if you need to lose weight is to significantly cut back on your sugar consumption.
- Sugar raises your cholesterol and gives you heart disease
The evidence is mounting that sugar, NOT fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease. Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL, raise blood glucose and insulin levels, and increase abdominal obesity – all major risk factors for heart disease.