9 Scary Reasons You Really Need to Eat Less Sugar

by Dawn Chen
HEALTH  |  September 21, 2017
  • Sugar can be deadly sweet
    1 / 10 Sugar can be deadly sweet

    There’s so much buzz about sugar and diabetes these days, and for good reason. Binging on the sweet stuff is bad for your body on so many levels. Here are nine scary things that happen to you when you eat too much sugar.

    (Also Read: 13 Ways To Cut Extra Calories Every Day)

    All photos: www.123rf.com

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  • Added sugar is empty calories
    2 / 10 Added sugar is empty calories

    Unlike natural sugars like the ones found in fruits, added sugars (the white stuff you put in tea or coffee) come with absolutely no essential nutrients. They’re considered “empty calories” because they don’t offer any other vitamins, minerals or proteins. Instead, they’re just contributing to your weight gain.

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  • You’ll look older
    3 / 10 You’ll look older

    Talk about a double whammy. Eating too much sugar not only raises inflammation levels in your body to result in blotchy, spotty skin, but it also speeds up wrinkle formation. Digested sugar travels through your bloodstream and attaches to collagen and elastin in your skin to produce advanced glycation end products (known as AGEs, go figure). This damages the collagen and elastin fibres in your skin, causing them to become wrinkled and saggy.

    (Also Read: How to Layer Your Skincare Products So They’ll Be More Effective)

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  • Sugar increases your risk of heart disease
    4 / 10 Sugar increases your risk of heart disease

    Added sugar is bad news for your heart. In a study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, participants who consumed approximately 17-21 per cent of their calories from added sugar had a 38 per cent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular diseases. This was even after researchers took other risk factors like blood pressure and cholesterol into account. Furthermore, eating excessive sugar was also associated with increased triglyceride and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (a.k.a. bad cholesterol) levels.

    For reference, guidelines by the Health Promotion Board (HPB) suggest that added sugars should form no more than 10 per cent of your dietary energy. This translates to approximately 40-55g (eight to 11 teaspoons) daily.

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  • You’ll become addicted
    5 / 10 You’ll become addicted

    Ever noticed that the more you eat sugar, the more you crave it? Well, that’s because eating the sweet stuff causes your brain to release a surge of feel-good chemicals known as dopamine. Over time, your brain tells you that you need more and more sugar to maintain this same feeling of pleasure – no surprises that your dessert habit is so hard to kick then.

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  • Sugar rots your teeth
    6 / 10 Sugar rots your teeth

    You’ve probably heard this since you were a kid. While sugar doesn’t directly result in tooth decay, it definitely exacerbates the process. Your mouth is naturally full of bacteria, and these harmful bacteria love sugar as much as you do. When you eat something sweet, the bacteria thrives on the leftover particles in your mouth and creates acids that wear down your tooth enamel, causing decays and cavities.

    (Also Read: How Much Sugar Is In Your Favourite Soft Drinks?)

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  • Excess sugar turns into fat
    7 / 10 Excess sugar turns into fat

    There’s a fine line between sugar and fat. Though your body does its best to convert sugar into energy, excess sugar that isn’t used up eventually gets stored as body fat through a process called lipogenesis. According to Dr Juan Gallegos, a liver expert at the University of Utah Hospital, “if you eat too much sugar or too much carbohydrates, basically, all this energy has to be stored somehow and normally that storage is inside the fat cells or fat droplets, and those can accumulate also inside the liver, and cause what we call fatty liver disease.”

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  • It takes a toll on your liver
    8 / 10 It takes a toll on your liver

    Your liver is the workhorse of your body. It filters out waste and toxins and plays a crucial role in your body’s metabolic processes. So treat it right by cutting back on sweets. Recent research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation suggests the liver can develop insulin resistance due to a process triggered by eating too much sugar. The study was conducted in mice and in human liver samples.

    In short, follow this simple advice from lead study author Dr Mark Herman: “make sure you’re not eating too much sugar, which often shows up on labels as sucrose (the main ingredient in beet and cane sugar) and high fructose corn syrup. Both sweeteners contain both glucose and fructose and are rapidly absorbed.”

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  • You crash and burn
    9 / 10 You crash and burn

    Consuming simple, high-carb foods like muffins or white bread can quickly cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. This can explain the ‘sugar high’ feeling you get after knocking back a packet of candy or a soft drink. But that energy depletes just as quickly and you can end up feeling more sluggish and lethargic afterwards. It’s better to fuel your body with proteins and whole grains that take longer to digest so you get a steady stream of energy instead.

    (Also Read: Easy Ways to Boost Your Energy Without Taking Sugar)

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  • Your sleep is affected
    10 / 10 Your sleep is affected

    In a small-scale study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, researchers linked greater sugar intake to more disrupted sleep. American Academy of Sleep Medicine President Dr Nathaniel Watson commented on the study saying that it “emphasises the fact that diet and sleep are interwoven in the fabric of a healthy lifestyle. For optimal health it is important to make lifestyle choices that promote healthy sleep, such as eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly.” For more restful sleep, fuel your body with meals that are high in protein and low in sugar and saturated fat.

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