February 10th, 2014
Americans love their sugary sweets.
And lucky for them, there are thousands of easily accessible options when it comes to satiating their sweet tooth. You can barely step out of a grocery store without seeing an entire aisle full of colorful treats, excessive sugar consumption is becoming our habit!
In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reported that the United States is the world’s largest consumer of sweeteners, including high-fructose corn syrup. Besides ranking as one of the largest global sugar producers, it is also among the largest sugar importers. However, our bodies have been paying a high price for excessive sugar consumption. It’s time to learn the bitter truth about sugar.
A recent study in the Journal of the American Heart Association provided evidence that sugar can increase the risk for heart failure. The study focused on a specific sugar molecule, glucose metabolite glucose 6-phosphate (G6P), which researchers determined was responsible for altering the muscle protein of the heart. Excessive sugar consumption and these changes could eventually lead to heart failure.
A 2008 study found that excess fructose consumption was linked to an increase in a condition called leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that tells you when you’ve had enough food. Without the hormone functioning properly, the body does not receive a signal that it has enough food to function. This in turn can lead to over consumption of food and consequently, obesity.
A recent study found that sugars in the intestine triggered the formation of a hormone called GIP, that in turn, increases insulin released by the pancreas. Researchers found that GIP may in fact affect the cells susceptibility to cancer formation.
A 2012 paper in the journal Nature revealed evidence that fructose and glucose in excess can have a toxic effect on the liver. Further, sugar increased the risk for several of the same chronic conditions that alcohol was responsible for, including malnutrition, obesity and pancreatitis.
A 2013 study estimated that 180,000 deaths worldwide may be attributed to sweetened beverage consumption. The United States alone accounted for 25,000 deaths in 2010. The authors summarize that deaths occurred due to the association with sugar-sweetened beverages and chronic disease risk such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.