There are reasons to avoid sugar that have nothing to do with a slimmer waistline. We know sugar leads to weight gain and obesity, and contributes to a growing number of diseases. Yet it seems the more research that is done, the more negative things we discover about sugar and its effects. Following are some of the more harmful side effects of sugar - and there are many!
1. Sugar is addictive
Sugar affects the pleasure centres in our brains in exactly the same way hard drugs like cocaine and heroin do. Just like drugs, the more sugar we consume, the more we need in order to recapture the same feelings of pleasure. Once addicted, sugar creates powerful withdrawal symptoms that make it difficult to stop consuming it.
2. Sugar causes aging
Sugar is proven to accelerate the aging process in our skin through a process called glycation. Sugar molecules attach to proteins and form harmful new advanced glycation end products(AGE). These molecules reduce the production and effect of collagen and elastin in our skin, leading to mottling, wrinkles, and sagging.
3. Sugar suppresses the immune system
White blood cells need Vitamin C to effectively combat infection. Sugar and Vitamin C have a similar chemical structure so when you eat sugar it directly competes for space in our immune cells with Vitamin C. This results in a weakened defence for up to 5 hours after eating sugar.
4. Sugar causes anxiety and depression
The peaks and troughs in blood glucose from eating sugar cause a yo-yoing mood effect that ends in fatigue, irritability, insomnia, and anxiety. Part of the reason for this is that high sugar, high carbohydrate foods use up the mood enhancing B vitamins and the nutrient chromium which is involved in the regulation of our moods. Many recent studies have shownthat high sugar diets are associated with an increased risk of depression.
5. Sugar increases triglycerides
Triglycerides are one of the key indicators in heart disease. Extra calories which aren’t immediately utilized for energy, such as those from sugar, are converted into triglycerides and are normally stored in fat tissue. The danger is that some of the extra triglycerides created from sugar end up clinging to artery walls, inhibiting blood flow and leading to heart disease.
6. Sugar increases blood pressure
Eating sugar causes significant increases in blood pressure independent of its effect upon weight gain (which also increases blood pressure). A recent analysisof 49 different trials showed that sugar contributes to high blood pressure directly, and that cutting back on how much we eat helps to reduce it.
7. Sugar affects digestion
Eating too much sugar causes bad bacteria and yeast to rapidly multiply in our guts, creating inflammation and disrupting the delicate pH of our small intestines. That can lead to bloating, discomfort, constipation, and more serious diseases such as ulcers and leaky gut syndrome. On top of that, the inflammatory state created by eating too much sugar is a general cause of disease.
8. Sugar creates hormonal imbalance
Because of its effect upon insulin which impacts all the other hormones in our bodies, sugar has a direct effect upon estrogen and testosterone levels. When insulin spikes it can lead to lower levels of the important sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which then can’t do its job in regulating the sex hormones. This affects our moods, and particularly affects women, making the effects of their normal hormonal cycle more extreme.
9. Sugar promotes tooth decay
Sugar, along with other carbohydrates, is broken down by bacteria living in our mouths to produce an acid that combines with saliva to form plaque. Plaque, as we all know, leads to tooth decay.
10. Sugar increases water retention and bloating
Sugar is a carbohydrate, and all carbohydrate causes fluid retention. This is because one of the things insulin does is to stimulate our kidneys to retain fluid.
11. Sugar can cause headaches and migraine
Dehydration is a common cause of headache and sugar makes it worse. Increased blood sugar forces our bodies to dilute the extra sugar to keep it from causing harm, as sugar in our blood is actually toxic to our organs. Water is pulled from all parts of our bodies to do this, but our heads suffer the most. This cerebral dehydration often causes headaches. Sugar can also trigger migraines, although the exact reasons for this are not known.
12. Sugar makes us sleepy
High blood sugar causes our bodies to over respond with high insulin levels. This inevitably leads to the well known post-sugar crash and fatigue as the rush of insulin rapidly depletes our blood of glucose. Sugar’s role in helping serotonin get to our brains also results in a surge of relaxation, and a double whammy of sleepiness.
The good news!
The good news is it's possible to reverse many of the harmful effects of sugar simply by no longer eating it. Xndo recommends a diet based upon a food pyramid that avoids sugar altogether, emphasizes protein and fiber, and limits carbohydrate. We provide the tools and products to help achieve that.