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How Sugar Affects Your Body

by Epoch on Wednesday, May 10, 2017

SOURCE: MensHealth.com


 

It’s no secret that Americans love sugar. It’s everywhere, and even in places you wouldn’t expect—everything from sandwich breads to granola bars are packed with the sweet stuff. We’re not talking about the natural sugars you’d find in fruit or milk. If you read your packaged-food labels, you may notice words like maltose, sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, and more on your box—these are all sugars that are added to your food as it’s processed, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Men should consume no more than 36 grams of added sugar a day, the equivalent of 9 teaspoons and 150 calories, the AHA recommends.

But many Americans go way overboard: From the late 1970s to 2010, sugar consumption increased by more than 30 percent in the United States, according to study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The top 20 percent of adult sugar-lovers eat an average of 721 calories of added a sugar every day, the researchers found. That’s eating about nine chocolate frosted caked donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts every single day.

Let’s be clear: Eating some sugar isn’t going to kill you—but consuming too much added sugar puts your body at risk for deadly diseases. Read on for six ways your sweet tooth can get you into trouble.

TOO MUCH SUGAR DOUBLES YOUR RISK OF HEART DISEASE

 Consuming too many heart disease than those who at less than 10 percent of their calories from added sugars.

Past research suggests that overloading on sugar can increase your blood pressure, triglycerides levels, and inflammation in your body—all precursors to cardiovascular disease, the study authors say.

 

TOO MUCH SUGAR MIGHT MAKE YOU BREAK OUT

Foods with a high glycemic index (GI) ranking—which is based on their potential to spike your sugar levels—may be behind your pesky breakouts, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. High GI foods are generally higher in added sugars or refined carbs, and include things like white bread, white rice, potato chips, and ice cream.

While a lot more research needs to be done to understand the complex relationship between your diet and acne, multiple studies have found that following a low-GI diet may help improve your skin, according to a review published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.

Why? Higher sugar levels leads to more production of the hormone insulin, which in turn, increases sebum, or oil, production in your skin. Eating a diet rich in low-GI foods—like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, which don’t cause as big a blood sugar spike—may actually reduce the size of your oil glands and decrease inflammation in your skin, the review concluded. And that can mean smoother skin.

TOO MUCH SUGAR MAKES YOUR BELLY BIGGER

Unsurprisingly, sugary foods pack on the pounds—so much so that sugar has been identified as one of the main culprits behind America’s obesity epidemic. In fact, in a meta-analysis of 68 trials and studies, researchers concluded that people who ate however they wanted typically weighed more when they loaded up on sugar and less when they didn’t consume as much.

Why? Sugary drinks don’t keep you feeling full like naturally sweet foods do, so you’re more likely to go overboard with a sweetened beverage, which, of course, packs in the extra calories. And sugary foods (we’re looking at you, delicious chocolate chip cookies) are typically higher in calories than the more nutrient-dense stuff, the researchers say. The more extra calories you eat, the heavier you’ll be.

To put it in perspective, just one gram of sugar equals about four calories, according to the AHA. So if you eat something with 15 grams of sugar in it, you’re downing 60 calories from the sugar alone.

Plus, once you eat one cookie, you won’t really want to stop. Your brain craves sugar more than fat and can cause you to overeat, a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests. (Don’t want the extra calories to sneak up on you?

TOO MUCH SUGAR CAN CAUSE KIDNEY STONES

Steer clear of sugar in bubbly form, too: People who sipped on one or more regular sodas daily had a 23 percent higher risk of developing kidney stonesthan those who drank less than one serving a week, according to a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

That’s because the soda’s fructose content can increase how much calcium, uric acid, and oxalate you pee out, the researchers say, which boosts your risk of stones.

Skeptical? Keep in mind that passing a stone may be more painful than childbirth for some guys