Diabetes. When your body is not able convert blood sugar into energy and the blood sugar rises to an unhealthy level, diabetes develops. Although the relationship between consuming large amounts of added sugar and developing diabetes is murky, scientists have found that drinking sugary beverages is associated with the development of diabetes. Diabetes can have devastating effects on a person’s quality of life.
Insulin Resistance. Over time, too much added sugar in the diet (in addition to inactivity and obesity) can cause insulin resistance. Insulin regulates the amount of sugar that is in the bloodstream. One analogy is that insulin is like a key that opens the door to let blood sugar out of the bloodstream and into the cells where it can be converted to energy. When someone becomes resistant to insulin, the body produces more and more insulin in an effort to regulate blood sugar. This results in high levels of both glucose (sugar) and insulin in the blood. Insulin resistance can also result in excess fat storage in muscle and liver tissue.
Raging Hunger. A chronic intake of the sugar fructose can lead to leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that tells your body, “I’m full.” If you develop leptin resistance, you never get that full signal, and develop a drive to eat that just won’t quit. You can imagine that doesn’t fare well for weight control.
Cavities. Eating sweets causes the germs in your mouth to create acid. It is this acid that eats holes in your teeth, forming cavities. Frequent consumption of sweets throughout the day, especially those that are sticky or acidic (like soft drinks), bathe your teeth in acid and accelerate the formation of cavities.
The damage to our health and well-being from excess added sugar in our diets is becoming recognized by the medical community. The American Heart Association recommends that women limit added sugar to 25 grams and men 37 grams a day. The 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee recommends that we keep added sugar to 10% of daily calories and the World Health Organization recommends limiting added sugars to 10% of daily calories stating that reducing it to 5% would result in further benefits. Why are these health organizations calling on a reduction in added sugar intake? Too much added sugar in our diets day-after-day, year-after-year isn’t healthy and leads to a slew of chronic health issues.