Learn the top 30 reasons why sugar is bad for us ... it will help you quit sugar for life!
You may have heard it from friends, your doctor or the media, sugar is the enemy. But why? What exactly are those white crystals doing to you? Why is it so dangerous?
Table of contents
Why Is Sugar So Bad?
You may have read some sensational headlines how sugar is going to rot your teeth or give you early wrinkles. Or you may have had a blood test recently and your doctor told you to cut back on sugar. Or your friend's neighbours brother gave up sugar, lost 50lb and never felt better.
So what gives? Why has it suddenly become the enemy?
Does Sugar Really Cause Chronic Disease?
Research is beginning to show just how many chronic diseases are related to our high sugar and carbohydrate consumption.
As you will learn below, sugar can cause reduced immunity, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's, macular degeneration and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, just to name a few.
As research continues, the list of chronic diseases caused by excessive sugar consumption will continue to grow.
Life is so much better without sugar. I don't want life to be just OK ... I want life to be fabulous!
If these 30 reasons why sugar is bad for us aren't enough to convince you to finally kick your sweet habit, read the article quoted below - it has 143!
Does Sugar Affect Immunity?
Did you know sugar may suppress your immunity? - not only does sugar reduce your bodies ability to fight infections, but it also depletes your body of essential nutrients required for a healthy immune system.
Does Sugar Cause Depression, Acne, Heart Disease, Cancer and Alzheimers?
- Sugar causes insulin resistance - a diet high in sugar and carbs leads to chronic high blood sugar levels which require a chronic high level of insulin. High levels of circulating insulin eventually lead to insulin resistance which is a precursor to pre-diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, systemic inflammation, heart disease, PCOS and Alzheimers.
- Sugar crowds out nutritious foods - it used to be said that sugar is nothing but empty calories but this doesn't actually explain the real menace. By eating ultra-processed high sugar and high carb junk food such as ice-cream, hot chips, fried food, burgers, cakes, and pizza we crowd out nutrition, and therein lies the problem. We are the most overfed and undernourished generation in history.
- Sugar can suppress your immune system - not only does sugar reduce our bodies ability to fight infections, but it also depletes our body of essential nutrients required for a healthy immune system.
- Sugar is the biggest cause of obesity - sugar drives insulin which is our fat-storing hormone. In addition, fructose (one half of sugar) does not affect our satiety and so we may continue to eat/drink beyond what is required. We continue to eat and stimulate our own appetite with ever-increasing sugar loads. Fructose is sweeter and cheaper than sugar and doesn't regulate hunger so we eat more - a recipe designed for weight gain.
- Sugar, not fat, causes heart disease - Too much sugar is linked to fatal heart disease, even in those who are not obese. Sugar is not only making us fat, but it's also making us sick - regardless if you are thin or obese.
- Sugar, not fat, changes the type of cholesterol we have - There is no significant evidence that saturated fat increases your risk of heart disease. A diet high in sugar and carbs will lower your HDL (the good guys) and make your LDL dangerous by becoming smaller, oxidised and dense. Eating a high-sugar and high-carb processed diet will raise your triglycerides which is a better predictor of heart disease than total cholesterol. Read more on the cholesterol myth.
- Sugar gives you tooth decay - everyone knows the bacteria in our mouth loves sugar, sweets, candy and soda. You probably also know that acids in soda and juice break down the protective enamel. But did you know bacteria in your mouth also love carbohydrates? Bread, potatoes, rice. Cavity-causing bacteria thrive in the presence of carbs. Dental decay and tooth removal is the number one reason for hospital admissions among children. Watch this video to see more.
- Fructose causes non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) - fructose is found in sugar, fruit, agave and high fructose corn syrup. Fructose is primarily metabolised in the liver where it is turned directly to fat and can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Eating a piece of whole fruit with its fibre is self-limiting because it's filling and difficult to overeat. Fruit juice, however, has all the fibre removed, so a glass of orange juice, for example, is not the same as the goodness from 6 oranges, it is the same as the sugar from 6 oranges. "There is no biological need for fructose. So do your liver a favour, ditch the fructose and get rid of that dangerous visceral fat (belly fat). NAFLD is the most common liver disorder in "developed" countries.
- Sugar is the biggest cause of Type 2 diabetes - insulin resistance (see number 1 above) is the precursor to developing pre-diabetes and then Type 2 diabetes (not to be confused with Type 1). If anyone you know has been diagnosed as a pre-diabetic or Type 2, get them to seriously reassess their sugar and carb intake. Because even cutting back on sugar and carbs can dramatically and rapidly improve blood sugar control.
- Sugar is associated with cancer - multiple studies have shown high sugar and high insulin levels are associated with insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) which can "enhance tumour cell proliferation" and "may interfere with cancer therapy."
- Sugar is linked to Alzheimer's disease - many medical professionals are now calling Alzheimer's, Type 3 diabetes. "We conclude that the term “type 3 diabetes” accurately reflects the fact that AD represents a form of diabetes that selectively involves the brain"
- Sugar makes us hungry - leptin is often called the satiety hormone, it helps regulate appetite. Sugar and fats can cause diet-induced leptin resistance whether you are slim or overweight. This diet-induced leptin resistance pre-disposes you to weight gain and obesity.
- Sugar can cause depression - there is a direct link between blood sugar and mood, especially blood sugar spikes and lows. The more uneven your blood sugars, the more uneven your mood. By living on a high-sugar, low-nutrient diet, you won't have the essential amino acids and vitamins required for assisting your mood.
- Sugar affects your gut flora - which impacts your immunity, serotonin (happiness hormone), allergies, bowel function and metabolic function to name a few. Taking care of your gut flora cannot be emphasised enough. Our gut flora impacts so many areas of our health and wellbeing.
- Sugar can lead to mineral deficiencies - chromium, copper, zinc and magnesium are all depleted through the metabolism of sugar.
- Sugar can cause macular degeneration - not only does sugar decrease the health of the small blood vessels, but a diet high in sugar is low in natural antioxidants and vitamins required for a healthy retina.
- Sugar cause wrinkles - hello ... this fact alone should put you off sugar for life! Sugar in the blood attaches to proteins and causes AGE (advanced glycation end-products). These attack the fibres in elastin and collagen which makes your skin supple. So ditch the sugar, and save your skin!
- Sugar causes inflammation - low-grade inflammation is involved in almost all chronic disease, such as arthritis, cardiovascular disease, macular degeneration, atherosclerosis, and vascular dementia.
- Sugar can affect children's IQ - There is evidence that a poor diet associated with processed food in early childhood may be associated with reductions in IQ in later childhood, while a healthy diet, associated with high intakes of nutrient-rich foods may be associated with small increases in IQ.
- Sugar causes metabolic syndrome - Metabolic syndrome (hypertension, obesity, dyslipidaemia and insulin resistance) results in an inflammatory state which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, PCOS, gallstones, fatty liver and sleep apnoea.
- Sugar can cause osteoporosis - Drinking carbonated sugary drinks causes increased calcium excretion and calcium loss from the body which can weaken bones in those who are at risk of osteoporosis. New research is also shedding light on the link between insulin and osteoporosis. Watch this space!
- Sugar can cause cataracts - Poor blood sugar control weakens the cell membranes and causes oxidative damage in the lens. Good blood sugar control, interestingly, strengthens antioxidant defences and protects cell membranes from leakage.
- Sugar can cause oxidative stress and free radical production - oxidative stress is known to be the precursor of over 200 age-related diseases so it's imperative to reduce it. Oxidation is likened to rusting of our insides, or when fruit goes brown. Age spots, liver spots or macular degeneration are often signs of oxidative stress. Cut back on sugars and eat a diet full of nutrients and antioxidants. Oxidative stress can induce hypertension and peripheral vascular disease.
- Sugar can cause oestrogen production in men - MOOBS (man boobs) is on the rise! Especially in young boys like it has never been seen before.
- Sugar causes kidney disease - high blood sugar is a major risk factor for kidney disease. Sugar damages the microvascular vessels in the kidney which affect the ability of the kidneys to regulate the excretion of harmful waste, blood pressure, salt, mineral, protein and fluid balance.
- Sugar causes high blood pressure - salt for too long has been blamed for high blood pressure but in fact, the wrong white crystals were criticised. "Sugar is more strongly associated with hypertension and cardiometabolic risk". OpenHeart.BMJ.
- Sugar promotes acne - sugar promotes sebum (oil) on the face, sugar promotes inflammation, sugar reduces our immunity, sugar aggravates hormonal acne. Your skin will pay the price of a high sugar diet.
- Sugar can aggravate psoriasis - a poor diet can cause reduced immunity, bacterial overgrowth in the gut and inflammation, all of which can aggravate psoriasis, eczema and other skin conditions. Often a low sugar diet is prescribed.
- Sugar can affect fertility - problems with ovulation and fertility can be affected by dietary carbohydrate and sugar intake. In addition, women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) often have issues with sugar and insulin regulation which may be improved on a low sugar diet. PCOS is closely related to insulin resistance and hormone imbalances.
- Sugar can cause men to lose their mojo - sorry guys, it's true. Poor blood sugar control causes microvascular damage and erectile dysfunction. Sugar affects blood flow, causes microvascular damage, nerve damage and hormone imbalances. These are all common causes of ED (erectile dysfunction). What is even more important, that if a male is experiencing ED this may be the very first sign that something more serious is occurring. It's time to go for a thorough examination by your doctor.
If I Give Up Sugar Will I Live Longer?
By giving up sugar are we guaranteed to prevent all of the above? Maybe, maybe not, but look at what we might prevent. If there are a hundred problems associated with sugar, I for one want to eliminate as many as I can.
There are no downsides to giving up sugar, no complications so why wouldn't you?
It is all about choice. If you chose to eat sugar, you will be at higher risks of the above. Our health is determined by many factors. The one factor that we have the most control over is what we eat.
How Do I Quit Sugar?
If you are new here, you may find some of my previous articles helpful.
I explain exactly what to avoid. What to enjoy. How to give up slowly using my Stepwise Method. You'll even learn how to help your children give up sugar and junk food (even if you've got picky eaters).