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76 Ways Sugar Harms Your Health (at least)

Contributed by Nancy Appleton, PhD – Author of the book Lick The Sugar Habit

In addition to throwing off the body’s homeostasis, excess sugar may result in a number of other significant consequences.

The following is a listing of some of sugar’s metabolic consequences from a variety of medical journals and other scientific publications.

  1. Sugar can suppress your immune system and impair your defenses against infectious disease.1,2
  2. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in your body: causes chromium and copper deficiencies and interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium. 3,4,5,6
  3. Sugar can cause can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.7,8
  4. Sugar can produce a significant rise in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad cholesterol and a decrease in good cholesterol.9,10,11,12
  5. Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function.13
  6. Sugar feeds cancer cells and has been connected with the development of cancer of the breast, ovaries, prostate, rectum, pancreas, biliary tract, lung, gallbladder and stomach.14,15,16,17,18,19,20
  7. Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose and can cause reactive hypoglycemia.21,22
  8. Sugar can weaken eyesight.23
  9. Sugar can cause many problems with the gastrointestinal tract including: an acidic digestive tract, indigestion, malabsorption in patients with functional bowel disease, increased risk of Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis.24,25,26,27,28
  10. Sugar can cause premature aging.29
  11. Sugar can lead to alcoholism.30
  12. Sugar can cause your saliva to become acidic, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.31,32,33
  13. Sugar contributes to obesity.34
  14. Sugar can cause autoimmune diseases such as: arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis.35,36,37
  15. Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections).38
  16. Sugar can cause gallstones.39
  17. Sugar can cause appendicitis.40
  18. Sugar can cause hemorrhoids.41
  19. Sugar can cause varicose veins.42
  20. Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses in oral contraceptive users.43
  21. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.44
  22. Sugar can cause a decrease in your insulin sensitivity thereby causing an abnormally high insulin levels and eventually diabetes.45,46,47
  23. Sugar can lower your Vitamin E levels.48
  24. Sugar can increase your systolic blood pressure.49
  25. Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.50
  26. High sugar intake increases advanced glycation end products (AGEs)(Sugar molecules attaching to and thereby damaging proteins in the body).51
  27. Sugar can interfere with your absorption of protein.52
  28. Sugar causes food allergies.53
  29. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.54
  30. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.55
  31. Sugar can cause atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.56,57
  32. Sugar can impair the structure of your DNA.58
  33. Sugar can change the structure of protein and cause a permanent alteration of the way the proteins act in your body.59,60
  34. Sugar can make your skin age by changing the structure of collagen.61
  35. Sugar can cause cataracts and nearsightedness.62,63
  36. Sugar can cause emphysema.64
  37. High sugar intake can impair the physiological homeostasis of many systems in your body.65
  38. Sugar lowers the ability of enzymes to function.66
  39. Sugar intake is higher in people with Parkinson’s disease.67
  40. Sugar can increase the size of your liver by making your liver cells divide and it can increase the amount of liver fat.68,69
  41. Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney such as the formation of kidney stones.70,71
  42. Sugar can damage your pancreas.72
  43. Sugar can increase your body’s fluid retention.73
  44. Sugar is enemy #1 of your bowel movement.74
  45. Sugar can compromise the lining of your capillaries.75
  46. Sugar can make your tendons more brittle.76
  47. Sugar can cause headaches, including migraines.77
  48. Sugar can reduce the learning capacity, adversely affect school children’s grades and cause learning disorders.78,79
  49. Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves which can alter your mind’s ability to think clearly.80
  50. Sugar can cause depression.81
  51. Sugar can increase your risk of gout.82
  52. Sugar can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.83
  53. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalances such as: increasing estrogen in men, exacerbating PMS, and decreasing growth hormone.84,85,86,87
  54. Sugar can lead to dizziness.88
  55. Diets high in sugar will increase free radicals and oxidative stress.89
  56. High sucrose diets of subjects with peripheral vascular disease significantly increases platelet adhesion.90
  57. High sugar consumption of pregnant adolescents can lead to substantial decrease in gestation duration and is associated with a twofold increased risk for delivering a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infant.91,92
  58. Sugar is an addictive substance.93
  59. Sugar can be intoxicating, similar to alcohol.94
  60. Sugar given to premature babies can affect the amount of carbon dioxide they produce.95
  61. Decrease in sugar intake can increase emotional stability.96
  62. Your body changes sugar into 2 to 5 times more fat in the bloodstream than it does starch.97
  63. The rapid absorption of sugar promotes excessive food intake in obese subjects.98
  64. Sugar can worsen the symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).99
  65. Sugar adversely affects urinary electrolyte composition.100
  66. Sugar can slow down the ability of your adrenal glands to function.101
  67. Sugar has the potential of inducing abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual and to promote chronic degenerative diseases.102
  68. I.V.s (intravenous feedings) of sugar water can cut off oxygen to your brain.103
  69. Sugar increases your risk of polio.104
  70. High sugar intake can cause epileptic seizures.105
  71. Sugar causes high blood pressure in obese people.106
  72. In intensive care units: Limiting sugar saves lives.107
  73. Sugar may induce cell death.108
  74. In juvenile rehabilitation camps, when children  were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44 percent drop in antisocial behavior.109
  75. Sugar dehydrates newborns.110
  1. Sugar can cause gum disease.111


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    3. Ringsdorf, W., Cheraskin, E. and Ramsay R. Sucrose,Neutrophilic Phagocytosis and Resistance to Disease, Dental Survey. 1976;52(12):46_48.
    4. Couzy, F., et al. “Nutritional Implicationsof the Interaction Minerals,” Progressive Food and Nutrition Science 17;1933:65-87
    5. Kozlovsky, A., et al. Effects of Diets High inSimple Sugars on Urinary Chromium Losses. Metabolism. June 1986;35:515_518.
    6. Fields, M.., et al. Effect of Copper Deficiencyon Metabolism and Mortality in Rats Fed Sucrose or Starch Diets, Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1983;113:1335_1345.
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    9. Jones, T. W., et al. Enhanced AdrenomedullaryResponse and Increased Susceptibility to Neuroglygopenia: Mechanisms Underlying the Adverse Effect of Sugar Ingestion in Children. Journal of Pediatrics. Feb 1995;126:171-7.
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    46. Tjäderhane, L. and Larmas, M. A High SucroseDiet Decreases the Mechanical Strength of Bones in Growing Rats. Journal of Nutrition. 1998:128:1807_1810.
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    50. Behar, D., et al. Sugar Challenge Testing withChildren Considered Behaviorally Sugar Reactive. Nutritional Behavior. 1984;1:277_288.
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    54. Lave, T. The Saccharine Disease: (New CanaanCt: Keats Publishing, Inc., 1974).131. Ibid. 132
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    56. Vaccaro O., Ruth, K. J. and Stamler J. Relationshipof Postload Plasma Glucose to Mortality with 19 yr Follow up. Diabetes Care. Oct 15,1992;10:328_334. Tominaga, M., et al, Impaired Glucose Tolerance Is a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease, but Not Fasting Glucose. Diabetes Care. 1999:2(6):920-924.
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    58. Monnier, V. M. Nonenzymatic Glycosylation, theMaillard Reaction and the Aging Process. Journal of Gerontology 1990:45(4):105_110.
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    60. Dyer, D. G., et al. Accumulation of Maillard ReactionProducts in Skin Collagen in Diabetes and Aging. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 1993:93(6):421_22.
    61. Veromann, al.”Dietary Sugar and SaltRepresent Real Risk Factors for Cataract Development.” Ophthalmologica. 2003 Jul-Aug;217(4):302-307.
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    64. Ceriello, A. Oxidative Stress and Glycemic Regulation.Metabolism. Feb 2000;49(2 Suppl 1):27-29.
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    70. Goulart, F. S. Are You Sugar Smart? American Fitness.March_April 1991:00:00 34_38. Milwakuee, WI,: Ibid. fluid retention Ibid. bowel movement Ibid. compromise the lining of the capillaries
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    73. Schauss, A. Diet, Crime and Delinquency. (BerkleyCa; Parker House, 1981.)
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    85. Christensen L., et al. Impact of A Dietary Changeon Emotional Distress. Journal of Abnormal Psychology.1985;94(4):565_79. Nutrition Health Review. Fall 85 changes sugarinto fat faster than fat
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    88. Blacklock, N. J. Sucrose and Idiopathic RenalStone. Nutrition Health. 1987;5(1 & 2):9-
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    90. Fields, M. Journal of the American College ofNutrition. Aug 1998;17(4):317_321.
    91. Arieff, A. I. Veterans Administration MedicalCenter in San Francisco. San Jose Mercury; June 12/86. IVs of sugar water can cut off oxygen to the brain.
    92. Sandler, Benjamin P. Diet Prevents Polio. Milwakuee,WI,:The Lee Foundation for for Nutritional Research, 1951
    93. Murphy, Patricia. The Role of Sugar in EpilepticSeizures. Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients. May, 2001 Murphy Is Editor of Epilepsy Wellness Newsletter, 1462 West 5th Ave., Eugene, Oregon 97402
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    95. Christansen, D. Critical Care: Sugar Limit SavesLives. Science News. June 30, 2001; 159:404.
    96. Donnini, D. et al. Glucose May Induce Cell Deaththrough a Free Radical-mediated Mechanism.Biochem Biohhys Res Commun. Feb 15, 1996:219(2):412-417.
    97. Schoenthaler, S. The Los Angeles Probation DepartmentDiet-Behavior Program: Am Empirical Analysis of Six Institutional Settings. Int J Biosocial Res 5(2):88-89. Gluconeogenesis in Very Low Birth Weight InfantsReceiving Total Parenteral Nutrition.
    98. Diabetes. 1999 Apr;48(4):791-800.Glinsmann, W., et al. Evaluation of Health Aspectsof Sugar Contained in Carbohydrate Sweeteners.” FDA Reportof Sugars Task Force -1986 39 123 Yud se and Oestradiol Concentration in Young Men. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. 1988;32(2):53-5.

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