In a stunning acknowledgement that fat is not the dietary villain we were once led to believe, the AARP talks about the growing recognition that excessive intake of sugar is the real cause of many serious health conditions, including:
1. Type 2 diabetes — It goes without saying that too much sugar in your diet can contribute to blood sugar levels, both high and low, depending on whether you’re already a diabetic and how much of it you consume.
2. Cardiovascular disease — Although it may come as a surprise to you, besides diabetes, sugar intake is closely related to heart disease. In fact, studies show that those who consume 25 percent or more of their daily calories as sugar are twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who get less than 7 percent of their calories from sugar.
3. Chronic inflammation — Sugar is one of the biggest culprits of chronic inflammation. Research shows that sugar intake activates the innate immune system and stimulates higher production of pro-inflammatory cytokines.
4. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) — The truth is excess sugar consumption is driving the rising rates of NAFLD, even in children. NAFLD can cause fatigue, mental confusion and other ills, underscoring why it’s important to eliminate processed fructose from your diet.
5. Certain cancers — The metabolic theory of cancer is one that I ascribe to, and research confirms that sugar may be directly responsible for cancer growth.
With the average person downing 152 pounds of sugar a year, the AARP points out that all this sweetness isn’t so sweet, especially when you consider that you may not even realize you’re eating extra sugar in a lot of the foods you consume. That’s because many processed foods, from condiments to cereals to potato chips and beverages contain added sugars. When you also consider that it can also cause many other diseases, such as those listed below, isn’t it time to reconsider what’s in your diet?
6. Weight gain — We all know that if you eat too much, we’re going to gain weight, but sugar only adds to the problem, often sneakily and without you knowing it — especially if you’re eat processed foods labeled as “natural” but with hidden sugars in them.
7. Feelings of depression — This is another thing you may not realize, but depression is linked to inflammation. In fact, approximately one-third of depressed patients have been found to have high levels of inflammation in their bodies, and since sugar directly affects the inflammatory processes in your body, the connection is clear.
8. Acne and other skin problems — The condition of your skin is hugely dependent on what you eat. If you eat foods that are high in carbs and sugars, these substances can adversely affect your hormone production, which can cause inflammation and increase your risk of acne.
9. Cellular aging — As I explain in my book, “Fat for Fuel” and in the metabolic theory of cancer link I posted earlier in this blog, too much sugar not only can slow you down and make you tired, but it can age you faster. If your cells are aging too quickly, then you are also prone to more diseases and illnesses.
10. Kidney disease — Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body by interfering with calcium and magnesium absorption. It can even increase your risk for kidney stones.
11. Gout — Did you know that fructose is the only type of sugar that will raise your uric acid levels connected with gout? I first became aware of this when I interviewed Dr. Richard Johnson on this topic. That’s why, once again, sensible food choices are important to your overall health.
And that list of 11 contains just a few of the many reasons why too much sugar in your diet is killing you. One of the best ways to get off the sugar merry-go-round is to teach your body to burn fat for fuel, such as the ketogenic diet I describe in my book. Coupled with intermittent fasting, you can put the stops on chronic illness and get on the road to health.