Although we need protein, fat and carbohydrates, sugar is one category of food we would actually be healthier without. It contains no nutrients or enzymes, does not satisfy hunger yet is laden with empty calories. The negative effects of sugar go on and on.
Digesting sugar actually saps minerals from the body and triggers a cascade of hormones to be released into the bloodstream, quite unlike any other food substance. It rots teeth, stresses the liver and increases triglycerides and bad cholesterol. So why do we consume on average 22 teaspoons of sugar per day? Because it’s addictive.
Here are seven negative effects of sugar:
1. Sugar Spikes
Sugar is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream creating an initial “high” which triggers a flood of the hormone insulin, followed by an energy crash. When blood sugar levels decrease, the body releases the hormone cortisol. As well as causing highs and lows in energy, negative effects of sugar affect the brain causing mood changes, anxiety, headaches and cravings for more sugar.
2. Sugar Increases Health Risks
Sugar rots the teeth, increases inflammation and contributes to obesity, which can lead to diabetes and heart disease.
3. Chromium Deficiency
Another negative effect of sugar is that digesting refined carbohydrates depletes chromium, an essential mineral for maintaining blood sugar metabolism and transporting glucose for energy.
4. Sugar and Liver Function
Added sugars cause the liver to turn excess sugar into fat, storing it in odd places. It encourages fat build-up around the liver which can be a precursor to nonalcoholic liver disease.
5. Sugar Accelerates Aging
Sugar causes glycolysis which reduces body tissue integrity and speeds up the aging process.
6. Dental Decay
We all know that one of the main negative effects of sugar is tooth decay and cavities due to the acid it creates in the mouth. It can go on to be the cause periodontal infection and this has been linked to increased risk of heart disease.
7. Sugar Slows Learning
Sugar often affects children’s behavior, but a study of New York schoolchildren found that when all sugar, artificial sweeteners and dyes were removed from pupils’ breakfast and lunch, the overall grades of the test group rose 15.7% while the placebo group improved just 1.7%. A more recent study on mice being fed a high-sugar diet showed similar negative effects of sugar in the results.
Added sugar is easy to substitute with a few simple lifestyle changes. Start reading the label on processed foods, salad dressing, sodas and other processed foods. By switching to a natural wholefood diet and cooking meals from scratch, you can counter all seven negative effects of sugar.