Sugar is one of the most common ingredients in the foods we eat, but just like anything else, too much is bad for our body and can have detrimental effects on our body.
Weakens the immune system
Many studies have shown that spikes in blood sugar levels can suppress immune system response as an increase in blood sugar levels can increase the activation of an enzyme called protein kinase C which affects how immune cells like neutrophils function.
Having a weaker immune system can make us more prone to diseases and even worse illnesses. So we want to cut back on sugar as much as possible. It can also increase the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) which can impair the function of the immune system and decrease its ability to ward off diseases.
Increases insulin resistance
Frequent sugar spikes in our blood can often lead to insulin resistance. This happens when our pancreas stops responding to the frequent spikes of sugar in our blood which leads to type 2 diabetes and other blood sugar-related problems.
Increased cancer risk
It only gets worse for sugar because it is also linked with an increased risk of developing not only type 2 diabetes, but also cancer. This is due to studies suggesting that those with high insulin levels as found in type 2 diabetes patients who are insulin resistant are more likely to develop cancer as blood sugar spikes can increase the rate of Insulin-like growth factors (IGF) in our body as this can accelerate cancer cells’ growth.
Not only that, but cancer cells also have up to 10 times more glucose receptors than somatic cells which allows them to use up more glucose from our blood. As such, consuming a diet with high sugar levels can lead to us giving more fuel for cancer cells to use.
Increased risk of inflammation
Just like blood sugar levels, increased sugar intake can also heighten our risk for chronic inflammation and also increase our blood pressure. This is because sugar can increase the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines which has been shown to increase inflammation in our body. Additionally, sugar has been shown to interfere with the balance of gut bacteria, which can also contribute to inflammation in the body.
Anxiety and depression
With fluctuating blood sugar levels, negative emotions such as anxiety, mood swings, and others become more frequent. The increased risk of inflammation we have mentioned before also adds to the burden on our brains to function properly. This makes us more at risk for mood disorders and for developing anxiety and depression. Studies have also concluded that those with high amounts of sugar in their diets are more prone to developing such disorders.
Sugar can give our brains a surge of dopamine. This is why you often see people resort to sugary foods in order to feel more relaxed and happy. Some people even use it to alleviate stress like in stress-eating. However, as our brain gets used to the normal amount of sugar we take in regularly, dopamine no longer gets released since it has become the new normal. What happens then is that we start to eat even more sugary foods in order for us to feel the happy and feel-good hormones once again.
Disrupts hormonal balance
We have mentioned before how blood sugar spikes become more common with high consumption of sugary foods. This leads to higher levels of insulin as your body needs to balance your blood sugar out, but there’s only so much that your pancreas can do for you and this often ends up in insulin resistance which leads to diseases like type 2 diabetes.
With a constantly high blood sugar level, our pancreas struggles to keep up with the demand and we become less sensitive to insulin which prevents this hormone from completing its task of balancing out our blood sugar levels. This negatively impacts our hormonal health as well as our health overall.
Increases stress levels
Sugar has also been found to be linked with stress hormones like cortisol and dopamine. Stress and blood sugar levels are always found to be linked with diabetes. So chronic stress can also be influenced by high sugar levels and poses an increased likelihood of us developing worse diseases.
This is due to how chronic stress and blood sugar, as we have mentioned before, can weaken our immune system’s response to bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens that may attack our body.
Lastly, we need to tell you about glycation. Glycation is a reaction that takes place between sugar molecules and proteins that form “Advanced Glycation End products” (AGEs) which are harmful free radicals and can accumulate to cause damage to the other cells and tissues in your body. This affects their function and accelerates the aging process. The more sugar you consume, the more AGEs can build up and increase the risk of age-related diseases.
The bottom line is, sugar in general is bad for your health especially if it’s consumed at high amounts. We were never meant to consume the high amounts of sugar we do now in the modern age, but the convenience and affordability of sugary foods have made it more convenient for us to spike our blood sugar levels at a constant rate.
Hence, this is why we must be aware of all the negative effects high blood sugar can have on our bodies. In this way, we might be able to discipline ourselves better and take a second guess whether or not we really want to take another bite off of our donuts or other desserts! 😊
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