The Serious Side of Sugar Consumption

The Serious Side of Sugar Consumption

There’s just something so sweetly delicious about sugar that at times resisting its temptation can seem like a major sacrifice. Even your dentist in Goose Hollow finds that a sweet treat can really hit the spot and make an otherwise stressful day just a little bit better.

Unfortunately, a growing amount of research continues to uncover troubling findings that show how sugar – especially the additives found in processed foods and soft drinks – can harm the human body when consumed in excess.

These new findings are indicating that diets containing too much sugar can have even more of a negative impact on the body besides just increasing our waistline.

Fatty liver. Your intestines break down sugar into separate parts: glucose – or blood sugar – which is metabolized by the body for fuel, and fructose, which is metabolized mostly by the liver. Consume too much fructose, and the overloaded liver turns the compound into fat, resulting in the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease that’s commonly linked with diabetes and obesity.

Weight gain. Added sugars – such as those found in sodas and sugary snacks – don’t contain essential nutrients such as fats, minerals or vitamins. This is why eating a candy bar doesn’t result in you feeling full, and also why you end up craving more of these “empty calories.” Even worse, unless empty calories are burned through exercise, they get stored in the body as fat cells that leads to a few extra pounds, especially around the belly.

Type 2 diabetes. Insulin – a pancreas produced hormone – allows glucose to enter cells. Too much blood sugar can be toxic to the body, so insulin levels spike to handle increased levels. However, studies have shown that when sugar is consumed in excessive amounts an insulin resistance can develop that causes the body to build up a tolerance to the hormone. This prevents insulin from helping to regulate blood sugar levels in the future. This leads to the development of type 2 diabetes, as the pancreas can no longer produce enough working insulin to lower blood sugar levels.

Heart disease. Too much fructose lowers the amount of good cholesterol in your body, but also boosts the levels of bad cholesterol, which produces triglycerides (fats) that travel to the arteries and increase your risk of stroke and heart attack.

Brain and mood disorders. Consuming something sweet spikes our blood sugar levels – causing what we think of as a sugar rush – but the subsequent crash can come with mood swings, mental fog and fatigue. Studies show that Americans who consume processed food – which often contain high levels of added sugar – have a higher risk of developing depression. Additionally, diets high in fructose slowed down the brain functions of rats in a 2012 study, which impaired learning skills and memory.

Cancer. Insulin is also one of the hormones implicated in the multiplication of cancer cells, so insulin spikes caused by sugar consumption can actually encourage the growth of cancerous cells. Sugar consumption has also been specifically linked to colon and breast cancer.

Tooth decay. Your dentist in Goose Hollow wants patients to know that sugar really doesn’t actually rot your teeth. Instead, sugar acts as a fuel source for harmful oral bacteria knowns as plaque, which transforms fermentable carbohydrates like starch and sugar in acids that destroy tooth enamel. This leads to the development of tooth decay, cavities and gum disease.

Addiction. Recent research has shown that sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine. That’s because eating sugar triggers the release of dopamine – a neurotransmitter that causes feelings of joy – to surge in the reward center of our brains. The more sugar we consume, the more desensitized the reward center becomes to it, leading you to need to eat more sugar than before to achieve that desired sugar high.

 

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