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We’ve all heard about sugars negative effect on the body, but do we ever stop to think of why it’s so bad? What exactly are the chemical reactions that occur in our bodies due to ingesting sugar that can cause us so much harm in the long run? This article explores some of the answers to these questions. This decade our sugar intake levels are at the highest in history. The average child in North America now consumes 27 teaspoons of sugar and the average adult 18 teaspoons of sugar! Processed sugar lacks any essential nutrients, causes blood sugars to rise and over time when taken in excess can lead to insulin resistance. Excess blood sugar as well as insulin resistance leads to inflammation in the body. This inflammation is what leads to disease. It has an impact on many bodily systems including:

1 ) Skin Aging

Yes it’s that culprit inflammation that causes the skin aging related to your sugar intake. When you are inflamed your produce enzymes that break down the integrity of your skin. Skin integrity is primarily maintained by healthy firm collagen and elastin. Digested sugar attaches to these and weakens them through a process known as glycation. Glucose and fructose link the amino acids present in the collagen and elastin that support the dermis, producing Advanced Glycation End products or “AGES”. This process is accelerated in ALL body tissues when sugar is elevated and is further stimulated by exposure to the sun and UV light. (Clinics in Dermatology, 2010); (Dermato Endocrinology, 2012).

2) Acne

The same glycation end products that cause premature skin aging and wrinkling can also worsen skin conditions such as rosacea and acne. Going sugar free and lowering your blood sugar levels and insulin secretion can do wonders for these conditions. Also, if you eat so much sugar over time that you develop insulin resistance this can cause excess hair growth and dark patches on the neck and body creases (Clinics in Dermatology, 2010).

3) Coronary Heart Disease

There is a definite and proven link between sugar intake and elevated Serum Trigliceride Levels. This link was first established in Annals of Internal Medicine in June 1965. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2016 have openly commented that the sugar industry sponsored research programs in the 1960’s and 1970’s to purposely casted doubt about the hazards of sugar. They instead deliberately and misleadingly promoted saturated fat as the dietary culprit in Coronary Heart Disease. Now that we know this was unethical practice in order to protect their own interests we can be guided by valid scientific facts i.e. that processed sugar is bad for our health – not healthy fats.

4) Cancer

Dr. Josh Axe explains the link between sugar and cancer well. He explains it as when you get more sugar than you need your body releases a protein called s-catenin from your pancreas. This causes your cells to replicate and become immortal…they don’t die off like normal cells do. Sound familiar? Yep because that’s just like cancer cells. The second study from (Science Daily, 2017) shows that there is a link between sugar and a gene named Ras. Unfortunately for sugar lovers, Ras is an oncogene activated by sugar and when it mutates it can turn a regular cell into a malignant one. In a nutshell the research is showing us that a steady supply of sugar awakens cancer cells and can make tumors more aggressive.

5) Brain Health

Sugar affects the supernatural release of levels of dopamine, opioids and acetylcholine in the brain and that is what makes it so addictive (Frontiers in Psychology, 2014); Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008). These are the same addictive hormones that would lead to addiction to heroine or cocaine. The brain chemistry of those addicted to drugs and those addicted to sugar are virtually identical. Not everyone that eats sugar becomes addicted, we are all unique, it is important to recognize your own level of susceptibility. In addition, there is now established research that links sugar and brain inflammation hence the medical term for Alzheimer’s Disease being called Diabetes “3”.

What’s the message here folks? It’s a pretty strong case to avoid sugar whenever you can.