Health

10 Harmful Effects of Sugar That You Didn’t Know About

You might think twice before picking up that can of Cola on your way back from work after this

By Sa'idah Jaffar | July 4, 2017

Photo source: Harvard Health Publications

Of all the foods consumed today, sugar is considered to be one of the most harmful. Sugar contains no fibre, no minerals, no proteins, no fats, no enzymes, only empty calories. Excessive sugar in your diet can not only make you gain weight, but can also negatively affect your overall health.

This article first featured on The Singapore’s Women’s Weekly website.

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1. Becomes an addiction

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Two separate studies, in the US and New Zealand, have shown that sugar has similar effect on the brain as nicotine and cocaine. Foods with a high glycaemic index (GI) cause blood-sugar levels to spike, and trigger a ‘rush’ that stimulates the same areas of the brain involved in nicotine addiction.

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2. Increases the risk of heart disease

Photo: Everyday Health

People consuming 10 per cent or more of their energy from added sugar were at risk of higher levels of triglycerides – a fat found in the bloodstream, and were 50 to 300 per cent more likely to have low levels of good HDL cholesterol, say US researchers.

 

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3. Elevates your blood pressure

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Sugar-sweetened drinks can lead to high blood pressure, a UK study found.

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4. Gives you wrinkles

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Research shows that continued exposure to high blood sugar levels speeds up the ageing process and has an inflammatory effect on the body, increasing the risk of everything from arthritis to premature wrinkles.

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5. Bad for your teeth

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Soft drinks are particularly harmful to tooth enamel because they contain both sugar and acid – a lethal combination that increases the chance of dental decay and enamel erosion.

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6. Can cause insulin resistance leading to diabetes

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Insulin allows glucose to enter cells from the bloodstream and tells the cells to start burning glucose instead of fat. Having too much glucose in the blood is highly toxic and one of the reasons for complications of diabetes, like blindness.

This is also known as insulin resistance, which is believed to be a leading driver of many diseases including metabolic syndrome, obesity, cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.

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7. Makes your organs fat

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The fructose in added sugar triggers your liver to store fat more efficiently, and in weird places. Over time, a diet high in fructose could lead to globules of fat building  up around your liver, a precursor to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, something rarely seen before 1980.

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8. Makes you energy-starved

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Science shows it takes just 30 mins or less to go from a sugar rush to full-on sugar crash. This sugar spike-and crash sets you up to want more sugar – a vicious cycle.

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9. Interferes with immune function

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Research on human subjects are scant, but animal studies have shown that sugar suppresses immune responses. More research is needed to understand the exact mechanisms; however, we do know that bacteria and yeast feed on sugar and that, when these organisms get out of balance in the body, infections and illnesses are more likely.

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10. Breaks Down Collagen Levels in Skin

Eating too much sugar can also lead to the breakdown of collagen under your skin, causing skin problems like wrinkles, acne and so much more.

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