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Sugar and Disease

Most people know that eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, but did you know that consuming too much of the sweet stuff can make you sick?

Consuming sugar, especially in the large quantities common in the American diet, can cause significant health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Many speculate that consuming too much sugar can even lead to the development of cancer.

Sugar has no nutritional value. There are no vitamins, minerals, essential fats, or proteins in sugar – just empty calories. While sugar itself is not harmful, the additive becomes a problem when it replaces nutritious food in the everyday diet, starving the body of the nutrients it needs to function properly while simultaneously causing weight gain. This one-two punch of too many calories and not enough nutrients leads to illness and disease.

Sugar and Cancer

Added sugars make up about 10 percent of the calories the typical American eats every day, according to Harvard Health Publications. A 15-year study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), shows that people who consumed more than 25 percent of their calories as sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease than were those whose caloric intake included only 10 percent sugar. In general, the odds of dying from heart disease rose at the same rate as the percentage of sugar in one’s diet, regardless of the person’s body mass index (BMI), age, physical activity, or gender.

Excessive sugar intake can lead to obesity, which increases the risk for many types of cancer. Research shows a strong association between a higher BMI and increased risk of colorectal cancer, which is cancer of the colon or rectum, among men. Distribution of the body fat seems to be an important factor, with extra weight around the waist showing the strongest association with colorectal cancer risk. There is association between BMI, waist circumference, and colon cancer risk in women, but the connection is weaker.

Scientists do not yet know the mechanisms behind this association of obesity and increased colon cancer risk. Some think high levels of insulin, which helps the body absorb sugar from the bloodstream, or insulin-related growth factors may promote the development of colon cancer in obese people. High body mass index is also associated with a moderately increased risk of rectal cancer.

Lower Your Sugar Intake

Remove sugar and sugary foods, such as honey and syrup, from view. Out of sight, out of mind!

Cut back on the amount of sugar you add to coffee, tea, cereal, and other foods and beverages. Also, cut back on sugary beverages altogether.

Buy sugar-free or low sugar beverages.

Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional to learn more about the association between sugar intake and illness, and to learn more tips for lowering your sugar intake. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at 770.730.0119 today to make an appointment with Virtual Imaging.