Sugar Hit on Your Health

pHion Balance  |  0 Comment

Also known as glucose, sucrose, lactose, fructose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses and dextrose, no matter what it’s called, it is still…sugar. Eating too much sugar causes blood sugar to rise rapidly. This sends a message to your organs that there is plenty of energy available as fuel for your body to use. Your body thinks it should stop burning fat as fuel and should store it instead. It also thinks that because so much fuel is readily available, it slows down a little bit, resulting in fewer calories burned each day. Consistently having too much sugar in your bloodstream, whether because of what you've eaten or because of low or no insulin, makes you feel thirsty, tired and weak and causes you to urinate more frequently, commonly known as hyperglycemia. If not treated, conditions may worsen, to include shortness of breath, dry mouth, breath that smells fruity, nausea and vomiting, a condition known as ketoacidosis. Eventually, it can also cause blurred vision, unexpected weight loss, bladder infections and dry skin. Not surprisingly, these are all warning signs of diabetes. If you don't produce enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or you are insulin resistant (Type 2 diabetes), glucose does not move into the cells efficiently. Your cells do not receive the energy they need, so you feel tired. Your kidneys work overtime, making you thirsty and sending you to the bathroom more often. In Type 1 diabetes, because glucose isn't getting into the cells from the bloodstream, your body burns muscle and other tissues for energy, causing weight loss. High blood glucose concentrations create a friendly environment for bacteria, making you more prone to infection. If you perspire, your sweat contains glucose, which dries on your skin, making it itch. Glucose is a fairly large molecule, which attaches to your red blood cells. As your blood circulates, insulin helps the glucose molecules to leave the blood and enter other cells. When the levels of glucose in your blood are consistently too high, you have diabetes. The excess glucose can result from your pancreas not producing insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or from insulin resistance (Type 2 diabetes). Because the glucose molecule is large, blood circulation through your smallest blood vessels is diminished when you have an excess of sugar in your blood and eventually those capillaries can be damaged. Damaged capillaries and decreased blood flow cause serious health problems.

Gaining Weight

People who eat too much sugar can gain weight because of the rise in blood sugar and its effect on metabolism and the body's ability to burn fat. Also, eating a lot of sugar causes the body to crave more sweets, which may lead to over eating. A 2011 study using survey data collected over two decades by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health found that weight gain in men and women corresponded with the increase in eating foods with added sugars. The researchers also found an increase in sugar in processed and pre-packaged foods since survey data was collected in the first Minnesota Heart Survey in the 1980s.

Dental Health

Eating too much sugar can cause erosions of tooth enamel, decay and cavities. The bacteria on your teeth use sugar as energy to make plaque to stick to your teeth, resulting in decay. If you do eat something sweet, it is a good idea to brush your teeth afterwards.

Eye and Kidney Disease

Damaged capillaries in your eyes can cause diabetic retinopathy. Early on, symptoms are nonexistent, but can later include blurred vision, loss of vision, floating spots, loss of night vision and dark or red streaks across your sight. Ultimately, diabetic retinopathy will cause blindness. Your kidneys contain millions of clusters of tiny blood vessels. Damaged capillaries in your kidneys can cause kidney failure or disease, and require dialysis or a kidney transplant.??

Nerve Damage

Because the blood vessels in your nerves are tiny, excess glucose, which damages those capillaries, creates neuropathy, or nerve damage in your extremities. Numbness, tingling or burning sensations begin at the farthest points the tips of your fingers and toes, and spread toward the torso over time. Cuts, bruises, blisters and other damage to the feet can end up as severe infections, possibly requiring amputation of toes, the foot or the leg. If nerves in the digestive system become damaged, constipation, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting can occur.

Heart Disease

The most important muscle in your body, your heart, is not immune to blood vessel damage. Stroke, coronary artery disease and other heart conditions are twice as common among diabetics as among the general population.

Carbohydrates and Sugar

Low sugar diets are essentially the same thing as low carbohydrate diets. Your body processes sugar the same as it does carbohydrates, using it as fuel. Low carbohydrate diets, such as the Zone and Nutri-System, are based on eating foods that don't cause spikes in blood sugar levels. These diets don't make you count calories, but instead have you eat foods based on what's called the "Glycemic Index," in which foods with carbohydrates are rated on how they affect blood sugar. High GI foods include white rice and white bread. Foods ranked with a low GI include some raw vegetables and fruits, and skim milk. The Mayo Clinic website reports that some research has shown that eating foods with a low glycemic index can help maintain a healthy weight, although other studies have shown that this is not always the case.

Recommended Sugar Intake

Whenever possible, avoid eating foods with labels that indicate added sugars. Beware of terms that attempt to mask the amount of sugar in foods, such as "fructose corn syrup," "cane sugar" and "corn sweetener." The American Heart Association recommends that women limit added sugars to about 100 calories a day and men cap it at 150 calories a day.


If you have diabetes, keep your blood glucose levels within acceptable parameters by eating a healthy diet, exercising, and getting adequate rest. You may not be able to eliminate the damage caused by too much glucose, but you can minimize it.

Here's to your wellness,


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