Cut out excess sugar for good*

Wednesday, 24 June 2015, By Daniella Calci

Sugar often gets blamed for increasing rates of obesity and is dubbed as 'toxic' and 'poison' by the media and various groups. However, as rates of obesity are on the rise, the long-term trend in sugar intake is down, falling from about 55kg per person per year in 1938 to about 42kg in 2011.

 

Ecological research from the USA has demonstrated a positive relationship between sugars consumption and prevalence of obesity; however, the relationship in other nations is not well described. Data on consumption of sugar in Australia were obtained from the Food and Agriculture Organization for the years 1980-2003. The prevalence of obesity has increased 3 fold in Australians since 1980. In Australia, per capita consumption of refined sucrose decreased by 23% from 1980 to 2003. When all sources of nutritive sweeteners, including high fructose corn syrups, were considered, per capita consumption decreased in Australia (-16%). In Australia, there was a reduction in sales of nutritively sweetened beverages by 64 million liters from 2002 to 2006 and a reduction in percentage of children consuming sugar-sweetened beverages between 1995 and 2007. The findings confirm an "Australian Paradox"--a substantial decline in refined sugars intake over the same timeframe that obesity has increased. The implication is that efforts to reduce sugar intake may reduce consumption but may not reduce the prevalence of obesity.

 

Over 70% of all foods contain some amounts of added sugar, and consumption of soft drinks has increased fivefold since 1950. Meta-analyses suggest that consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is related to the risk of diabetes, the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease in adults and in children. Drinking two sugar-sweetened beverages per day for 6 months induced features of the metabolic syndrome and fatty liver. Randomized, controlled trials in children and adults lasting from 6 months to 2 years have shown that lowering the intake of soft drinks reduced weight gain. Genetic factors influence the weight gain when drinking soft drinks.

 

Consumption of calorie-sweetened beverages and the fructose they contain has continued to increase and may play a role in the epidemic of obesity, the metabolic syndrome and fatty liver disease. Reducing intake of soft drinks is associated with less weight gain and metabolic improvement as well.

 

 15 Terrible Things That Happen If You Eat Too Much Sugar

 

1. Cavities

The connection between sugar and cavities is perhaps the best established. "Tooth decay occurs when the bacteria that line the teeth feed on simple sugars, creating acid that destroys enamel,"

 

2. Insatiable hunger

Leptin is a hormone that lets your body know when you've had enough to eat. In people who develop leptin resistance, this "I'm full" signal is never received, presenting a major obstacle for weight control.

Some studies have raised the possibility that leptin resistance may be a side effect of obesity, not a contributing cause.

"Our data indicate that chronic fructose consumption induces leptin resistance prior to body weight … increases, and this fructose-induced leptin resistance accelerates high-fat induced obesity,"

 

3. Weight gain

Other than adopting a completely sedentary lifestyle, there are few routes to packing on the pounds that work as swiftly and assuredly as making large amounts of added sugars a staple of your daily diet. Sugary foods are full of calories but will do little to satiate your hunger

 

4. Insulin resistance

When you eat a lot of high-sugar meals it can increase your body's demand for insulin, a hormone that helps your body convert food into usable energy. When insulin levels are consistently high, your body's sensitivity to the hormone is reduced, and glucose builds up in the blood. Symptoms of insulin resistance can include fatigue, hunger, brain fog, and high blood pressure. It's also associated with extra weight around the middle

 

5. Diabetes

One study found an increased risk of diabetes among those who consumed more sugar-sweetened beverages - that's soda, sweetened ice tea, energy drinks, etc. And a massive review of previous research involving 310,819 participants supported this result, concluding that drinking lots of soda was associated not just with weight gain but with the development of type 2 diabetes.

 

6. Obesity

Obesity is one of the most-cited risks of excess sugar consumption. Just one can of soda each day could lead to 15 pounds of weight gain in a single year, and each can of soda increases the odds of becoming obese.

Sugar may well raise the risk of obesity directly, but the association could be mediated by diabetes, metabolic syndrome, or other diet and exercise habits associated with high-sugar diets

 

7. Liver failure

Because of the unique way we metabolize fructose, it creates a stress response in the liver that can exacerbate inflammation. High doses of sugar can make the liver go into overdrive. That's one reason excess fructose is a "key player" in the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, where fat accumulates in the liver in the absence of alcohol abuse.

 

8. Pancreatic cancer

A handful of studies have found that high-sugar diets are associated with a slightly elevated risk of pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest cancers. The link may be because high-sugar diets are associated with obesity and diabetes, both of which increase the likelihood someone will develop pancreatic cancer.

 

9. Kidney disease

The idea that a high-sugar diet - and too much soda in particular - may be a risk factor for kidney disease is still just a hypothesis, but there's some reason for concern. "Findings suggest that sugary soda consumption may be associated with kidney damage,

 

10. High blood pressure

Hypertension is usually associated with salty foods, not desserts - but eating lots of added sugar has indeed been linked to high blood pressure. In one study following 4,528 adults without a history of hypertension, consuming 74 or more grams of sugar each day was strongly associated with an elevated risk of high blood pressure.

 

11. Heart disease

While smoking and a sedentary lifestyle have long been acknowledged as major risk factors. Conditions associated with excess sugar consumption, like diabetes and being overweight, are also already known risk factors for heart disease, and recent research suggests that eating too much sugar might stack the odds against your heart health - especially if you are a woman

 

13. Cognitive decline

Obesity and diabetes are both risk factors for cognitive decline and Alzheimer's, so it's no surprise that studies are beginning to find a link between excess sugar and these cognitive conditions. The reasons for a possible relationship between a high-sugar diet and dementia later in life are still unclear.

 

15. Gout

Gout used to be considered a disease limited to the rich, but as our diets have changed, this painful form of arthritis has become more common across all sectors of society. Certain foods like organ meats and anchovies that are associated with gout have high levels of something called purines, and when your body breaks them down, it produces uric acid. A buildup of uric acid is what often leads to gout.

But uric acid is also a byproduct of fructose metabolization, and now newer research is suggesting that too much sugar could be a risk factor for gout as well. "Consumption of sugar sweetened soft drinks and fructose is strongly associated

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