Sweet! While normally a word expressing agreement, when it comes to sugar, it is a term that can cause life-threatening illnesses and diseases. Most people in America, Canada and the U.K. consume too much sugar. The World Health Organization recommends our diet should not contain more than 5% added sugar – the sugar added to products, not naturally occurring as it does in fruit.
For people on a 2,000 calorie diet, that amounts to 100 calories per day. At 4 calories per gram, that amounts to 20 grams of sugar or about 5 teaspoons. In reality we are consuming on average 18 to 26 teaspoons per day or about 5 times the amount we should have. Consuming too much sugar can cause a whole host of conditions or illnesses:
One of the leading causes of weight gain, and in extreme cases obesity, is the added sugar found in soda drinks, fast foods, processed foods and bakery items. The extra sugar your body doesn’t need is converted to triglycerides and stored as fat around your waist hips and thighs.
Eating too much sugar can put you at risk for Type 2 diabetes. When you eat something high in added sugar, your body releases insulin as a response to process the sugar and carry it to the cells for energy. Forcing the insulin response over time can make your body insulin resistant meaning it takes more and more insulin to process the same amount of sugar. Eventually your body will not be able to make enough insulin on its own to get the sugar out of your system, thus causing diabetes.
Excess sugar in your bloodstream acts as tiny shards of glass and if not controlled, it can cause scarring on the inside of your veins and arteries. This can provide places for plaque to begin attaching thus eventually causing restrictions in blood flow and in extreme cases blockage resulting in either a heart attack or stroke.
The organ in the body that secretes insulin is the pancreas. By overworking it, you increase your chances for pancreatic cancer.
Chronically high insulin levels in your bloodstream also increase your risk for other conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, acne and even myopia. Decreasing your intake of added sugar allows your body to process sugar on a more even basis, thus reducing your risk for the mentioned illnesses and conditions.