Many healthy foods, such as dairy products, vegetables, and fruit, contain sugars naturally. Natural sugars in these foods provide people with valuable nutrients.
However, there is another type of sugar called added sugars. Added sugars are sugars added into foods during preparation, processing, or on the table. They can be listed as many names, such as syrup, agave nectar, palm sugar, cane juice, or sucrose.
From soft drinks to bread, added sugars can be found in almost every food product. Fast and processed foods also contain many added sugars.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, Americans consume about 270 calories of sugar (about 17 teaspoons) each day. It is much higher than the number recommended by the World Health Organization (less than 5% of daily calories, about 6 teaspoons).
Americans are eating too many added sugars. Added sugars have no nutritional value and have a negative impact on people’s health. In the short-term, they may cause weight gain and acne. In the long-term, they will increase the risk of chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
It is easy to understand that eating too many added sugars can lead to weight gain. However, acne may also be the result of excess added sugars.
According to a study published in the journal of Advances in Dermatology and Allergology, sugary foods can rapidly raise blood sugar and insulin levels, causing increased androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation, all of which play an important role in the formation of acne.
There is a link between consuming sugary drinks and developing type 2 diabetes.
Studies published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigation showed that people who drink sugary drinks, such as soft drinks and fruit juice, are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes over time.
Excess added sugars in those drinks can cause obesity. However, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) already added obesity as a risk factor of type 2 diabetes.
A high sugar diet is associated with a risk factor of heart disease.
Insulin can absorb glucose (sugar) from the blood. When eating excess sugar, the extra insulin in the bloodstream can affect people’s arteries all over the body. The walls of the heart will become inflamed, grow thicker, and more stiff than normal, and the heart will be damaged over time.
Studies have shown that people who eat a sugary diet (sugars share at least 25% of daily calories) are twice as likely to die of heart disease as those who eat less added sugars.
Wrinkles are a natural sign of aging. They will appear as time goes by. However, a sugary diet can worsen wrinkles. Excess sugars in the diet can lead to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs will damage the formation of collagen and elastin and accelerate the skin aging process.
Consuming too many added sugars can cause health problems. Therefore, added sugars should be kept to a minimum whenever possible. Try to swap soft drinks for water or milk and avoid processed foods. The less added sugars you eat, the healthier you will be.