Sugar from Head-to-Toe
What the Sweet Stuff Does to Your Body

Sugar is so delicious that it can be easy to forget it is essentially a drug that acts on every system in our body. Scientists have consistently found that eating too much of the sweet stuff is not only bad for our waistlines and teeth but can actually harm our bodies from head to toe. Consider this the next time the cookies in the break room are calling your name.


Our brains are the most complex organ in our body and keep everything else in line, so it makes sense to keep them in top form. A 2013 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a significant link between high blood sugar and dementia The researchers examined 2,067 older adults and found that the higher a person’s blood sugar levels, the greater the risk of dementia. A separate study published in the Journal of Neurology found that even people whose blood sugar was on the higher end of normal still showed memory loss and cognitive impairment compared to their less-sugared-up counterparts When they looked at brain scans of the participants, the scientists found shrinkage in the hippocampus and the amygdala – areas of the brain associated with memory and cognitive function.


Did you know your eye doctor may be able to spot the early signs of diabetes? According to Brian Francis, an ophthalmologist at the Doheny Eye Center, high blood sugar causes retinal vascular changes and can cause blood vessels in your eyes to hemorrhage. Left untreated long enough, it could cause you to go blind.

  Normal Eye VS. Diabetic Pupil


Too many slices of birthday cake can make you look far older than the number of candles on the cake, according to a surprising 2011 study from the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Pictures of 600 people were shown to independent observers and those who had higher blood sugar levels were consistently marked as looking older – even when factors like sun exposure and smoking were taken into account. The researchers said it was because sugar inhibits the production of collagen and elastin, the stuff that gives our faces that youthful glow.


No matter how many miles you run to burn off last night’s dessert, the sugar is still taking a toll on your heart. “Studies suggest that sugar causes the liver to produce more uric acid, and this leads to high blood pressure – the leading cause of death globally because it raises the risk of heart disease and stroke. Sugar also seems to raise cholesterol,” explains cardiologist Dr. Aseem Malhotra “What people don’t realize is that you can develop these problems and have a normal body mass index (BMI). I see it all in the time in my clinic – people aren’t overweight and don’t have diabetes, yet they’ve had a heart attack. I think sugar is one of the main culprits.”

  Rate of Avoidable Heart Disease by State


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) may sound like an obscure illness but thanks to rising consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates, it now accounts for over 75 percent of all chronic liver disease and affects about 25 percent of people in the U.S. According to Malhotra, if left untreated the liver can become damaged to the point where cirrhosis – irreversible liver damage – begins. Not only can liver failure be fatal, but having NAFLD also increases the risk of dying from cardiovascular causes

  The Spectrum of NAFLD


Diets high in sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks were found to be a risk factor in developing bowel cancer, said researchers in a 2012 study from the University of Edinburgh In addition, that pint of ice cream may be the cause of your constipation, diarrhea, and other gastrointestinal issues as sugar has been shown to worsen the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome


Answering the call of nature more times than is, well, natural? If you haven’t upped your water intake, you might want to get your blood sugar levels checked, says Muhammad Shamim Khan, MD, a urologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital. “If a patient consumes more sugar than the body can handle, it will be passed out in the urine and it may affect their frequency.” He adds that it is one of the first symptoms of diabetes.


A yeast infection won’t kill you but it can definitely ruin your day, and high sugar intake has been shown to increase your susceptibility to the itchy infection Just like brownies make the perfect welcome gift for your new neighbors, eating a brownie creates the perfect welcoming environment for the bacteria that cause yeast infections.


Gout, that the painful condition caused by uric acid build-up in joints, isn’t just for the elderly anymore. A 2009 study published in the British Medical Journal found that the illness, which can lead to full-blown arthritis, is linked to sugar consumption. The researchers found that even a few sodas a week was associated with an increasing risk of gout

  Sugar from Head-to-Toe
Embed the article on your site