You may hear all sorts of stories about sugar and the negative effects it can have on your health, so this blog will explain exactly why eating too much can be so bad for you.
There are few dietary changes that are so simple, yet have so many positive effects on your overall health and looks (and it's why I developed the 21 Day Sugar Detox Program.)
First off, whenever anyone talks about ‘sugar’ being bad for you, it’s actually the fructose in the sugar that causes the problems. So what is fructose, and why is it so bad!?
Almost all types of sugar are made up of roughly 50% glucose and 50% fructose. We don’t need to worry too much about the glucose as it is actually what powers all living things - it provides power to living cells and can be absorbed and utilised by pretty much any cell in the human body.
Fructose however is what causes the problems.
For a start, fructose gets converted to fat instead of used up as energy. It can only be processed by the liver, which quickly gets overloaded with fructose, and which then gets turned into fat. So it’s a really simple equation - the more sugar you eat, the more fat your body will store.
It's The Worst Type Of Fat...
And to make matters worse, the type of fat that fructose turns into is called visceral fat, which sits in and around your organs. This is a fat that is difficult to get rid of and is more dangerous than normal subcutaneous fat that sits under your skin because visceral fat can affect your metabolism as well as strangling your organs.
This type of fat is linked to the development of all sorts of diseases including heart disease, which is the number one killer.
And to make matters worse, once you start, it’s very difficult to stop eating fructose. Unfortunately we are wired to keep on eating the stuff because unlike every other type of food we eat, fructose has no ‘off switch’ built in.
All other types of food have hormones that trigger our ‘full feeling’, meaning we can only eat so much of a particular type of food and basically tell us when we are ‘full’.
However, it’s much easier to keep on eating and drinking things like sodas and sweets until we literally feel sick.
If this was a ‘normal’ food we would have stopped eating it before it made us nauseous, but the fructose just wants us to keep on eating and eating…
We Just Can't Stop Eating It!
The reason fructose has no ‘off switch’ is down to our biology and our evolution. Thousands of years ago there was very little sugar, or fructose available for us to eat - maybe the odd piece of fruit here or a few berries there, and it didn’t matter that it might be temporarily stored as fat to be used later as an energy source.
Unfortunately our bodies haven’t really evolved since then but our diet has. Everywhere we go we are presented with foods that have a high fructose content.
Fructose is also highly addictive as proven in various scientific studies. It triggers the release of dopamine in our brains and basically makes us ‘feel good’, which means we eat more and more!
Here are some of the ways that excessive fructose can negatively affect your health:
Insulin Resistance: Continually eating too much sugar raises and lowers blood sugar levels in spikes that eventually lead to the body not being able to produce enough insulin. Insulin lowers blood sugar levels by taking the glucose to the cells of the body.
Not being able to produce insulin is called insulin resistance, and can lead to type 2 Diabetes as well as heart disease.
Increased Risk Of Cancer: Because sugar causes raised insulin levels and insulin is an important part of cell growth and multiplication, it is now believed that there is a direct link between eating too much sugar and developing some types of cancer.
Raised Cortisol Levels: Cortisol is our ‘fight or flight’ hormone which should only normally become raised in a high stress environment. As it is effectively an ‘emergency situation’ it shuts down non vital elements like our immune system, and puts an overall stress on our bodies.
Eating sugary foods and drinking sugary drinks that all contain fructose cause spikes in our cortisol levels, so we are constantly putting our bodies into a stressed state with reduced immunity.
Premature Ageing: Excessive fructose consumption can make you look older due to a process called glycation. Fructose depletes two of the essential elements of your skin that keep it looking young and supple.
Acne: While on the subject of your skin, excess sugar consumption can cause acne because your body becomes stressed due to the raised cortisol levels I mentioned above.
Bad Teeth: You have probably already heard this one from your school days, but it’s true that too much sugar breaks down the enamel on your teeth, causing cavities and even the teeth themselves.
These are just some of the reasons that sugar is so bad for you, so maybe it’s time to rethink how much you are eating?
Just Look At The Benefits!
In a nutshell, here is a list of benefits of cutting sugar out of your life.
A healthier heart
Fewer mood swings
A better memory
Increased sex drive
Improved quality of sleep
Younger looking skin
Reduced chance of type 2 diabetes
Overall feeling happier
Decreased chance of developing cancer
Fewer joint pains
A healthier liver
Less fatty organs
For more info on all of the good things that happen when you quit sugar I have written an in depth blog post here: 17 Amazing Things That Happen When You Stop Eating Sugar.
So Why Is Our Body So Bad At Processing Sugar?
The human body hasn’t really evolved much in the last 10,000 years - back then any source of sugar was scarce and eating too much simply wasn’t an option.
The average person now eats nearly 50kg of sugar a year. Our diets have changed drastically even just over the last 50 years, but our biology hasn’t.
We simply haven’t physically caught up with the modern high sugar diet, our bodies can’t cope, so we’re just getting fatter, more tired and more ill, unless of course, we decide to do something about it!
If you would like to quit sugar and regain control of your food choices you can transform your life with my 21 Day Sugar Detox Program.