Not all that glitters is gold, not all that is sweet is good. That is what a recent study has authentically proven after showing that processed sugar does the human health more harm than good. Before the study, many others have in the past also indicated the same thing, prompting loud and unending sensitization by medical bodies and health media platforms to reduce the intake of this sweetner.
What is most shocking about the discovery is that the sugar industry has always known the adverse health implications of sugar for more than 50 years. Instead of publicizing the truth, researchers from the University of California at San Francisco found that the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) covered up an initial proof that sugar was dangerous to health.
“The sugar industry did not disclose evidence of harm from animal studies that would have (1) strengthened the case that the coronary heart disease risk of sucrose is greater than starch and (2) caused sucrose to be scrutinized as a potential carcinogen.”
Sugar production is incomplete without the use of High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).
Also known as glucose-fructose syrup, HFCS is a sweetener made from corn starch that has been processed by glucose isomerase to convert some of its glucose into fructose.
Fructose from added sugars is the major deal breaker with sugar. High intake of fructose leads to serious health defects in as little as 10 weeks. It is good to mention that fructose from fruits is very healthy.
In a controlled study, people were assigned to drink 25% of calories as either a glucose-sweetened drink or a fructose-sweetened drink for 10 weeks.
It was found that the group who took the fructose-sweetened drink had these:
- Increased blood triglycerides
- Increased small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL (very bad cholesterol)
- Higher fasting glucose and insulin
- Decreased insulin sensitivity
- Increased fat in the abdominal cavity (visceral fat)
The above findings explain why sugars can trigger obesity, heart disease, diabetes and poor health in general. And this is why you should re-evaluate your sugar intake:
1. Low/No Nutritional Value
To start with, sugar has no known nutritional value. In hypoglycemic conditions, highly concentrated sugar drinks are essential. Outside of that, sourcing your glucose from natural food sources and fruits are better than industrialized sugar.
Sugar lacks vitamins, minerals, fibre, and calories. They are usually found in pastries, sodas and candy bars, making them minimally nutritious.
2. Deposits Fat In The Liver
The only organ that can metabolize fructose is the liver. For physically active persons, fructose helps to replenish the low glycogen as a result of an intense activity like a run.
Where this is not the case, an excess of the fructose is converted to fat. While some of these fats are exported and stored in adipose tissue, some others stay back in the liver. When built up over time, it can cause the Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease.
3. Increases The Bad Cholesterol
Most of the fat generated in the liver gets moved out as Very Low-Density Lipoprotein (VLDL) particles which are rich in triglycerides and bad cholesterol.
Sugar makes you more hungry and causes you to consume more of it. Little wonder why it’s one of the leading causes of obesity.
As derived from the 10-week study of the group consuming artificially sweetened drinks, excess fructose causes insulin resistance. This becomes a direct cause of Obesity.
It is insulin that helps the sugar in the bloodstream to be absorbed and used for energy. Where in excess, the body cells tend to become resistant to the effects of insulin.
Fructose elevates blood glucose which is toxic.
Sugar may be addictive. When tested with rats, researchers found that they became physically addicted to sugar. Judging from the rates at which junk foods are consumed, it may actually be so for humans.
In summation, there are many health conditions that are directly or indirectly linked to this component as indicated above. Here are some of such:
- Cancer: It is revealed that those who take diet high in glycemic load (GL), may get their chances of ending up with prostate cancer by as much as 30%.
- Alzheimer’s: The consumption of sugar over time, could as well lead to the shrinking of the hippocampus. This is mostly found in people suffering from Alzheimer’s.
While Fructose has been mentioned above, there are also other forms of sugar:
- Glucose: This is the most popular of them all, and it is the simplest form of sugar and it is gotten from almost all daily food, even though the quantity varies. It is more in honey and fruits.
- Fructose: Among the everyday things that give fructose are Soda, candy, sweetened yogurt, bread, canned fruits, and many more.
- Galactose: Also referred to as milk sugar, this is found in dairy products and both human and animal milk.
- Other forms are Lactose, Maltose, Sucrose, and Xylose.