5 Surprising Facts About Sugar You May Not Know That Could Affect Your Health

5 Surprising Facts About Sugar You May Not Know That Could Affect Your HealthSugar is blamed for everything from diabetes to dental cavities, and there’s little doubt that most people get too much of it. Would you believe that almost a quarter of the calories in the average American’s diet comes from this sweet substance? Sugar is a readily available source of energy, but it has no nutritional value to speak of. Plus, Americans get a whopping 22 teaspoons of it a day. Surprised? Here are some other interesting facts you may not know about sugar that could affect your health.

Sugar Ages Your Skin

Sugar isn’t just bad for your waistline – it ages your skin too. Sugar that circulates in your bloodstream binds to proteins like collagen and elastin that keep skin firm and youthful. When they attach to these proteins deep in the dermis of the skin, it damages them and changes their structure. The result? Skin becomes less firm and more prone to wrinkling and sagging. To protect your skin from aging, wear sunscreen, eat more antioxidant-rich food and cut back on sugar and processed carbs.

Sugar Promotes Aging in General

Sugar not only binds to proteins in the skin, but it also attaches to other proteins through a process called glycation. Experts believe that sugar glycation of proteins increases the risk of diseases like heart and blood vessel disease, Alzheimer’s disease, peripheral neuropathy, some eye diseases, and cancer. It partially explains why diabetics who have more glycated proteins are at greater risk for these diseases. To protect yourself cut back on sugar and processed carbs. Replace them with more fruits and vegetables.

Sugar Fuels Cancer Growth

Does cancer have a sweet tooth? A number of studies have linked a high-glycemic diet of processed carbs and other foods that raise blood sugar levels rapidly with a greater risk of some types of cancer including colon cancer, uterine cancer, breast cancer, and pancreatic cancer. In addition to the direct effect, sugar has on cancer cells, diets high in sugar and processed carbs stimulate more insulin release. Insulin is a growth factor that fuels the growth of cancer cells. If you’re concerned about your risk for cancer, cut back on processed foods and eliminate refined sugar.

Brown Sugar and Raw Sugar Are Still Sugar

Some people think brown sugar and raw forms of sugar are better for them. Brown sugar looks brown because it contains a little more molasses, but don’t use that as an excuse to eat more. The molasses adds a little calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron but not enough to make a difference. It still causes the same insulin surge as white sugar. Get your calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron from other nutritious sources.

Sugar is Addictive

There is evidence in animals and humans that sugar activates reward centers in the brain and boosts levels of “feel good” neurotransmitters like dopamine. That keeps you coming back for another sugar “fix,” especially if you’re stressed. Sugar addictions can be broken. The best way to kick the habit is to gradually replace processed carbs and refined sugar in your diet with whole foods. You’ll be weaning yourself off of sugar and replacing it with healthy, unprocessed foods. It may take several weeks to months to stop craving sweets, but you’ll gradually lose your taste for them. Don’t be surprised if you feel and look better too.



Women’s Health Magazine. “Curb Your Sweet Tooth”
Natural News. “Ten Studies Showing the Link Between Sugar and Increased Cancer Risk”
Life Extension Magazine. “Prevent Glycation-Induced Skin Aging with Topical Nutrients”
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2008; 32(1): 20-39.


Related Articles By Cathe:

Is There a Link Between Sugar and Cancer?

Does a Diet High in Sugar Increase the Risk of Cancer?

Why Women Crave Sugary Foods More Than Men

Are Beverages that Contain Sugar Less Hydrating?

5 Things That Happen When You Stop Sugar Cravings

Despite Its Natural Sugar Content, Fruit May Actually Help with Blood Sugar Control

Eat Your Protein but Not with a Sugar-Sweetened Drink

Should You Be Concerned about the Sugar in Fruit?

Coconut Sugar: a Healthy Alternative to Sugar or Not?

Hi, I'm Cathe

I want to help you get in the best shape of your life and stay healthy with my workout videos, DVDs and Free Weekly Newsletter. Here are several ways you can watch and work out to my exercise videos and purchase my fitness products:

Get Your Free Weekly Cathe Friedrich Newsletter

Get free weekly tips on Fitness, Health, Weight Loss and Nutrition delivered directly to your email inbox. Plus get Special Cathe Product Offers and learn about What’s New at Cathe Dot Com.

Enter your email address below to start receiving my free weekly updates. Don’t worry…I guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared and you can easily unsubscribe whenever you like. Our Privacy Policy