Thoughts on Better Aging

Is Your Sweet Tooth Hurting Your Health?

January 8th, 2016

If you have been overindulging in sweet treats, you could be at risk for serious health problems.

In and of itself, sugar isn’t really a bad thing. After all, plenty of healthy fruits contain natural sugar. The problem is that our diet is bursting with added sugars, causing the average American to take in almost 4 times the daily recommended amount of sugar. This excessive sugar consumption can lead to issues with:

Heart Disease: Eating too much sugar can cause triglyceride levels to rise. The more triglycerides you have in your bloodstream and fat tissue, the higher your risk of heart disease can be. This is why the American Heart Association recommends only 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women, which is less than the official US dietary guidelines.

Breast Cancer: According to new research recently published in the journal Cancer Research, the high amount of dietary sugar the typical American takes in could increase the risk of breast cancer and metastasis to the lungs. The research, which was done on mice, showed a link between sugar and increased expression of an enzymatic signaling pathway related to breast cancer.

Inflammation: Numerous studies have shown that eating a lot of sugar can lead to inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation causes the body’s own immune system to attack itself, contributing to health issues such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and more.

Weight Gain: Added sugar makes all kinds of foods more calorie dense, which in and of itself can contribute to weight gain. To make matters worse, people who eat a lot of sugary food also tend to skimp on the nutritious foods their bodies need to build muscle instead of fat.

Will Switching to Artificial Sweeteners Help?

Unfortunately, artificial sweeteners are an even less healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth. Research has linked artificial sweeteners (such as those found in diet soda and other diet foods) to:

Heart Disease: In the Women’s Health Observational Study, researchers found an increased risk of heart disease risks among postmenopausal women who drank two or more diet sodas daily. Specifically, these women were 30 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke and 50 percent more likely to die from cardiovascular-related causes.

Diabetes: Artificial sweeteners can interfere with the body’s ability to process glucose in a healthy way, causing insulin spikes that can potentially lead to type 2 diabetes.

Weight Gain: Just because artificial sweeteners are low calorie or no calorie products does not necessarily mean they can protect you from weight gain. In fact, women who eat a lot of artificial sweeteners often see the exact opposite result. Artificial sweeteners trigger blood sugar spikes that lead to cravings, and they can also cause the gut to send false hunger signals. So you may actually take in more calories in the long run.

How to Protect Your Health

The best way to protect your health from the negative consequences of too much sugar or artificial sweeteners is to cut back on all kinds of processed food. Instead, eat more whole grains, vegetables, healthy fats, and a bit of fruit. If you would like expert help changing your diet to support healthy aging, please contact Renew Woman™.

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