The average American swallows a whopping 130 pounds of added sugars each year. According to prevention.com, this is approximately 22 teaspoons a day.
Here are nine more interesting yet strange facts about how sugar affects the human body.
1. Sugar can make organs fat
Fructose is found in added sugars and is a component of table sugar. This causes the liver to store up more fat in certain places.
Over time, it could lead to globules of fat building up around the liver, which may lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
Teresa Barlow, senior health education major, said eating an excess of sugar is not good for the teeth because one can start to have dentil issues causing cavities.
Barlow also said sweet and sugar intake, calories, can store fat in the body when one consumes too much unnecessary sugar.
“It’s OK to have a cookie or something sweet two to three times out of the week, but if you have it constantly your body stores up extra calories in the body,” Barlow said.
2. Sugar can cause diabetes
Studies show that consuming 150 calories of sugar a day can increase the probability of diabetes by 1.1 percent.
Dr. Melissa Wigginton, assistant professor in the Department of Health Sciences, said the brain and muscle cells require sugar. The body needs to release insulin, made in the pancreas, in order for the body to release energy.
“Type 2 Diabetes is when the pancreas can no longer keep up with the insulin production that the body needs,” Wigginton said. “So what winds up happening is that one can develop Type 2 diabetes, which of course is a chronic illness.”
3. Sugar can damage the heart
Heart disease and strokes are the leading cause of death among those who are diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, a disease caused by increased sugar consumption.
4. Sugar creates tense blood vessels
Added sugars in foods cause insulin to enter the bloodstream and takes a toll on the body’s arteries over time.
5. Type 3 Diabetes is caused by an excessive sugar intake
According to prevention.com, increased sugar consumption can also cause bad cholesterol levels as well as Type 3 diabetes, which is referred to as diabetes within the brain and the disease is closely linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Addiction to sugar
Like any other addiction, sugar triggers the release of chemicals that can set off a message in the brain, such as opioids and dopamine.
People then begin to develop a tolerance for sugar — the more sugar they eat, the more they need. This then causes chattering teeth, tremors, shakes and anxiety.
Wigginton said the release of insulin helps one’s body absorb the sugar it needs and uses for energy.
“Glucose itself can come from plants and is a type of carbohydrate,” Wingginton said. “When one consumes too much sugar what happens is that the glucose remains in your bloodstream and the levels of sugar in the blood remain higher than should.”
7. Can cause energy deficiency
Sugar tends to drain energy from the body and eating too much of it can make one feel fatigued.
According to prevention.com, sugar triggers the release of serotonin, a sleep regulator.
“Loads of sugar can have an effect on one’s energy levels which causes one to be sluggish and tired in the afternoon,” Barlow said.
Barlow suggests taking in sugary foods in moderation as recommend on the Food Guide Pyramid.
8. Eating too much sugar can cause depression
Prevention.com explains that people with insulin resistance receive lower levels of feel-good dopamine from the brain.
9. Sugar damages the skin
Eating too much sugar can cause damage to the skin causing dry, brittle protein fibers that lead to wrinkles and saggy skin.
Eating sweets that contain lots of sugar, although tasty, can have negative effects on the human body.