Sorry to Ruin Your Day: Sugar is Toxic!
The sweet stuff is wrecking your body! (Photo: iStock)
The sweet stuff is wrecking your body! (Photo: iStock)

Sorry to Ruin Your Day: Sugar is Toxic!

‘Death by sugar’ is not an overstatement.

Science is totally out to wreck your week - first it was bacon causing cancer, and now sugar is deemed toxic - at least in obese kids.

Can’t we just have one nice thing?

As India continues to choke down more sugar than ever before, our annual consumption is predicted to touch nearly 30 million tonnes in the next four years, which is already 13% of the total global consumption.

An alarming new study published in medical journal Obesity, claims to prove that sugar is actually toxic to your body. Till now, there was not much clarity on whether it was sugar itself or the weight gain caused by eating lots of sugar that led to health issues.

I have never seen results as striking or significant as this in human studies.
Jean-Marc Schwart, Senior Study Author

The Study

Scientists at the University of Touro California and UC San Francisco recruited 43 obese children between the ages of 9 and 18 who had at least one metabolic disorder, like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.

The kids were given the diet of the same fat, protein, carbohydrate and calorie levels but replaced all added sugar with starch. Overall the researchers brought down the dietary sugar to just 10% of the kids’ calories.

We took chicken teriyaki out, and put turkey hot dogs in. We took sweetened yogurt out, and put baked potato chips in. We took pastries out and put bagels in. So there was no change in [the children’s] weight and no change in calories.
Dr Robert Lustig, Department of Pediatrics, University of California
The diet wasn’t health food at all; instead it was “kid food” like potato chips, pizza, and bean burritos. (Photo: iStock)
The diet wasn’t health food at all; instead it was “kid food” like potato chips, pizza, and bean burritos. (Photo: iStock)

The kids were weighed every day, the goal was to maintain the same weight and not lose anything. If they did drop a few pounds, they were given more food to eat. The results were astonishing. Without losing any weight, the kids saw a dramatic health improvement after just 10 days of a no sugar diet. Their blood pressure dropped, their sugar levels were reduced by half, they produced less insulin, their levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides dipped considerably and they had less fat in their liver.

This completely proves that it’s not just the fat or the oils from junk food which are the bad guys, sugar is muscling in to be the real villain.

The study concluded that sugar turns to fat in the liver and affects the insulin resistance. Clearly, sugar is toxic irrespective of its calories and the weight gain it causes.

Now Watch: India Has a Sugar Problem and It’s Not Sweet

But to be fair, this study had its limitations. It was done on a very small size of obese kids. There are no clear answers if it will have the same impact on healthy adults as well.

Overall, experts say that people should look at the total number of calories they are taking, because if you’re stuffing too much in general, your health is going to suffer either way.

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Sugar Shockers!

Ah, this sweet poison! Don’t we just love a good villain? (Photo: iStock)
Ah, this sweet poison! Don’t we just love a good villain? (Photo: iStock)

It makes your organs fat by triggering the liver to store fat more efficiently. Over time a diet high in sugar could lead to globules of fat building around the liver, often the first step of non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases, something which was unheard of till the 1980s.

Sugar hammers your heart: Heart disease and diabetes are related. Did you know that heart disease and stroke are the number one cause of death among people with type 2 diabetes accounting for more than 65% deaths.

It turns you into a junkie. True story. Science has well established that sugar addiction makes the same chemical changes in your brain as heroin and other hard drugs.

Sugar primes your body for diabetes: A PLoS study found that for every 150 calories from artificial sugar your risk of diabetes ups by a little more than 1%. Not a sweet deal this is! Cue sad trombone.

It creates tense blood vessels. Added sugars cause excess insulin in the bloodstream, which tense the artery walls. Now that puts you on the road to high blood pressure, and ultimately, makes a stroke or heart attack more likely.

Genuine question: We found water on Mars but still can’t figure out a way to bake a delicious cake without the goodness of sugar and fats?

The 56 Different Names of Sugar

Sugar might be sneaking in your packaged foods by these names. Know them well:

 (Photo: Women’s Health Magazine)
(Photo: Women’s Health Magazine)

Also Watch: The Bittersweet Truth About Ketchup

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