What’s that donut doing to your body? How about that café latte? You understand that consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain, but that processed stuff impacts your body all the way down to the cellular level. Learn these 7 Scary Things Processed Sugar Does to Your Body.
When we talk about processed sugar, we’re talking about more than the white granules you add to baking recipes, coffee, and tea. Food manufacturers use sugar in many different forms. There are at least 50 Names for Sugar we need to be aware of when reading food labels. Learn how to spot sugar on nutrition labels so you can reduce sugar intake. You’re going to want to after finding out what sugar does to your body!
When you’re done learning more about the scary side effects of processed sugar, try the 7-Day Sugar Detox or our 30-Day No Sugar Challenge. For extra motivation, challenge a friend or loved one to do one of these detoxes with you.
1. Sugar has an addiction-like effect.
While sugar doesn’t create an actual addiction, it does have addictive qualities. Sugar is a substance that feeds our body’s cells. When you consume sugar, the brain sees it as a reward, making you want more. Sugars addictive effect has been compared to that of cocaine. People who eat excess sugar often crave it and then lose control while eating sugary foods. That’s why it’s so easy to virtually inhale an entire row of chocolate-crème cookies!
2. Sugar and bad cholesterol.
Research suggests that added sugar is connected to higher levels of triglycerides (a fat found in blood) and lower levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Although researchers couldn’t make a direct connection, the link is worth considering before reaching for a second helping of dessert . Heart disease is the leading cause of death among U.S. women. If you struggle with high cholesterol, check out our Low-Cholesterol Shopping List.
3. Sugar and the heart.
In addition to messing with healthy cholesterol levels, processed sugar has a negative impact on heart functions. A study suggests that a molecule in sugar triggers changes in one of the heart’s muscle proteins. This affects the way your heart pumps and boosts your risk for heart failure . Instead, nourish your ticker with these 4 Heart-Healthy Foods or the Heart-Healthy Grocery List.
4. Sugar increases belly fat.
Excess refined sugar increases belly fat by causing fat cells to mature, leading to a bulky belly. Abdominal fat raises the risk for diabetes and heart disease. If you’re already battling belly bulge, start reducing sugar intake and try the 10-Minute Fat Burning Challenge or 4-Minute Fat Blasters to Burn Belly Fat.
5. Excess sugar may raise cancer risk.
Normally we don’t think of sugar in relation to cancer risk, but researchers believe there may be a link. Consuming too much added sugar may trigger the release of a protein that impacts cells’ vulnerability to cancer formation . Add these 15 Cancer-Fighting Superfoods to your menu plan.
6. Lots of sugar = liver toxicity.
Many of us understand how alcohol consumption impacts liver function. It turns out that excess added sugar may have a similar negative impact on this critical organ, even when the sugar intake doesn’t lead to weight gain . One way to jumpstart healthier organs and reduce processed sugar consumption is to try a 7-Day Clean-Eating Detox Menu or a 3-Day Cleanse & Detox Menu.
7. Refined sugar increases risk of disease.
This is one of the overall side effects of processed sugar that’s enough to make you want to say “no thanks” for good. A 15-year study found that people with a caloric intake of more than 25% sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease as those who ate diets with less than 10% of calories coming from added sugar. The results remained consistent regardless of the person’s gender, age, activity level, and body mass index (BMI) . Yikes!
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 Harvard Health