With zero-sugar challenges and an increasing interest for natural substitutes, sugar is being abandoned by more and more people for various good reasons. Almost every packaged and processed items you find at your local supermarket are filled with sugars! This has lead to a widespread sugar addiction across the world.
Even if there is no sugar mentioned on a label, it most likely comes in another unrecognizable form, hidden under a different name. Given what we already know and think about intake of sugar along with the consequences of having excessive amounts of it, it is about high time that we start thinking about how it contributes to unhealthy aging.
The Hidden Truth About Sugar
We all know that sweet, sugary treats can add some inches to the waistline, not to mention contribute to a myriad of different diseases. But what most of us don’t know, is that excessive consumption of sugars add up wrinkles and fine lines to our face.
This is due to the fact that advanced glycation end products (or AGES), a complex group of proteins or lipids, become glycated when exposed to sugars. This occur both naturally within our bodies or we can be acquire from the processed food we eat.
Apart from the increase in wrinkles in our skin, they can also contribute to the development or aggravation of chronic and degenerative conditions, such as, poor eyesight (which can lead to blindness), nonalcoholic fatty liver, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Why Sugar Visibly Ages Us Faster
Eating sugar or high glycemic foods that easily break down as sugar, become glucose inside our bodies, which in return, raise our insulin levels. Thanks to glycation, digested sugar also permanently attaches to the collagen in our skin. Foods with refined sugar, such as, soda or white bread causes a spike in our insulin levels, which also causes a rupture of inflammation in our entire body. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down elastin and collagen. The result of this process is wrinkles and soggy skin. Apart from the visible marks it leaves, it can also worsen skin conditions, such as, rosacea or acne.
What Sugar Does to the Rest of Our Body
While the formation of AGES occurs as part of the natural aging process, it also contributes to a range of other health problems. Diabetes and heart disease are the most common, but here are other illnesses caused by sugar:
Sugar Gradually Causes Poor Eyesight
Poor eyesight has been commonly associated with overexposure to self illuminating devices, such as: television screens, computer monitors, and mobile device screens. However, AGES can also result in deterioration of our eyesight, by acting as mediators of irreversible changes in the matrix of our cells, brain function degeneration, dysfunction in the veins and arteries, as well as inflammation signalling.
Considering that these affected areas profoundly influence the cells and tissues in our eyes, glycation as a result of excessive sugar intake is regarded as a key contributor to gradually deteriorating eye sight. It is also explains why blindness is one of the most extreme complications of diabetes.
Liver Health Can Also Be Affected by Sugar
Regardless of the amount we consume, sugar gets stored in our liver as potential energy in the form of glucose until the body requires the energy for basic movement and function. But when we have excessive amounts of sugar, the liver gets overwhelmed and overloaded so it converts the excess sugar into fat.
Natural sources of sugar, such as, sugar derived from fruits, are definitely much better than their refined, artificial counterparts. However, despite their stark differences, our liver is simply unable to differentiate them. In addition, consuming sugar-rich beverages, such as, fizzy drinks, can lead to a fatty liver.
Cancer Can also be Caused by Sugar
Among the stream of known carcinogens that have emerged over the years, none of us would ever suspect that sugar would be one of them.
Thousands of cancer cells are formed in the body everyday and when by being on a high sugar diet, we only ensure their growth in our bodies. Likewise, excessive sugar in our body strains the pancreas to produce excessive amounts of insulin. In time, our pancreas can wear out and may no longer produce the hormone that gets the sugar off our bloodstream.
Normally it could lead to a metabolic problem, such as: diabetes, but chronic inflammation as a result of insufficient insulin may actually stimulate tumor growth and progression in certain areas like the pancreas, colon, prostate, or breasts.
Reducing Your Sugar Cravings
There are various ways to cut down our sugar intake by sneaking in some healthier options to sweeten our meals and drinks:
- Completely rid your cupboard of all sugars, refined sugars, processed honey or syrup, and molasses.
- If you need something sweet, you can also opt for natural sugar, such as raw organic honey, agave syrup or coconut sugar.
- Drink water, vegetable juices, or coconut water instead of sugary drinks
- Never eat canned fruits drenched in syrup. Buy fresh fruits instead
- Use fresh fruits, such as, bananas or berries to sweeten your breakfast cereal.
- Refrain from using artificial sweeteners, they can cause more damage than refined sugars ever could.