What health conditions does sugar contribute to?

Americans eat and drink too many added sugars, which can contribute to health problems such as weight gain and obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease. To live longer and healthier, most Americans need to move more and eat better, including consuming fewer added sugars. Eating too much added sugar can have a lot of negative health effects. Sugar-sweetened beverages are an important source of added sugar for Americans.

If you drink a can of soda every day and don't reduce calories elsewhere, in three years you'll weigh 15 pounds more. Gaining too much weight can cause problems such as diabetes and some types of cancer. Sugary drinks, in particular, may increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. This can happen because when sugar stays in the blood, the body can react by producing less insulin, the hormone that converts the food you eat into energy.

Or the insulin doesn't work as well. If you're overweight, losing even 10 to 15 pounds can help you control your blood sugar. Sugary drinks can increase your biological age for years. DNA, called telomeres, covers the ends of chromosomes to protect them from harm.

Shortened telomeres can go hand in hand with age-related diseases, such as diabetes. A study found that people who drink 20 ounces of soda a day have shorter telomeres. The researchers calculate that it is like adding more than 4 years to the age of the cells. Eating too much sugar can contribute to people consuming too many calories, which can lead to weight gain.

This trial also demonstrated that under free living conditions, it is possible to lose weight by following an ad libitum diet with a high sugar content, using a strategy to freely replace energy from high-fructose sugars with other sources of energy in the diet. Focusing on preparing healthy meals and limiting your intake of foods that contain added sweeteners can help you reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. However, in hypercaloric trials, an exception can be made for diets that contain more than 20% of calories from simple sugars, which can cause an increase in triglycerides. A healthy diet can include moderate amounts of sugar along with a variety of carbohydrate options with a low glycemic index.

However, the authors consider that a reasonable recommended maximum sugar limit may consist of consuming no more than 20% of calories from added sugar and, in that case, only in a hypercaloric situation. Check the information on nutrition labels and ingredient lists to help you reduce your intake of free sugars. You can get an idea if a food has a high content of free sugars by consulting the list of ingredients that appears on the package. The figure “what sugars” describes the total amount of sugars from all sources: free sugars, those in milk and those found in fruits and vegetables.

These four research groups also conducted meta-analyses in studies in which more sugar calories were given to adults following ad libitum diets. This means that foods that contain fruit or milk will be a healthier choice than those that contain lots of free sugars, even if both products contain the same total amount of sugar. Too much sugar in the diet can make your diet high in calories or “energy dense” and contribute to health problems such as obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. The government recommends that free sugars (the sugars added to foods or beverages and the sugars found naturally in honey, syrups and juices, smoothies and unsweetened fruit and vegetable purees) represent no more than 5% of the energy (calories) you get from food and drink every day.

Sticky sugars that stick to your teeth are worse than easily swallowed sugars, such as fresh fruit. There were no significant differences between the high-sugar ad libitum diet and the high-complex carbohydrate diet ad libitum. Taken together, it does not appear that consuming sugar within the normal range of the human diet increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Shelley Musselman
Shelley Musselman

Avid social media fan. Award-winning coffee specialist. Subtly charming coffee enthusiast. Total bacon fan. Total pizza guru.

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