Sugar Gives you Wrinkles and 4 Other Things You Didn't Know

February 04, 2014

Thought you knew the top reasons to avoid sugar? Find out the top five things about sugar here

UCSF School of Medicine professor and researcher Dr. Lustig is well known for his fight against sugar.  He believes that obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol issues, and heart disease are all related to the over-consumption of sugar. And over consume we do!

The average American consumes over 130 pounds of sugar a year. Kids consume about 300 calories from added sugars daily, that’s way over the American Heart Association’s recommended intake of less than 150 calories for men and 100 calories for women- the numbers are even lower for kids. This is roughly 6 and 9 teaspoons respectively, or approximately 25 and 37 grams. For reference one 12-ounce can of regular soda contains eight teaspoons of sugar, or 130 calories.

Here are five things you need to know about sugar.

Sugar lowers your immune system. A study demonstrated that the ingestion of 3.5 oz of sugar (glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, or pasteurized orange juice) impeded the ability of neutrophils to engulf and destroy bacteria (Sanchez et al., 1973 American Journal of Clinical Nutrition). Neutrophil activity was reduced by 50 percent after two hours. The function of the neutrophils was affected; this means that one of our body’s early defenses was asleep at the wheel!  A 50 percent reduction could have a significant impact on health and how often we get sick. To put it into perspective, 1 can of soda = 1.378 oz of sugar.

Sugar may give you wrinkles. Yes sugars can cause an excess of free radicals and deplete your minerals, therefore low levels will be available for your skin. Another process called glycation is increased with sugar intake, in which excess blood sugar binds to collagen in the skin, making it less elastic.

Can you imagine eating 16 sugar cubes at once? It’s possible you’ve done this with out even knowing. That’s a little less than what is contained in a 20-ounce bottle of cola.

Released this past Monday a study online in JAMA Internal Medicine found that, consuming too much added sugar, from soda, cakes, cookies and candy, increases your risk of death from heart disease. For instance, the study found that people who consumed more than 21 percent of daily calories from added sugar had double the risk of death from heart disease as those who consumed less than 10 percent of calories from added sugars.

Sugar is addicitive! According to Eric Stice, a neuroscientist at the Oregon Research Institute, sugar is addictive and activates the same regions of the brain as addictive substances like cocaine. Yikes! That’s why when you start you just can’t stop!

Here are some suggestion on how to decrease your sugar intake: 

Cut back on the amount of added sugars you consume. This includes, coffee, tea, and breakfast items that you may add syrup or a teaspoon of sugar to (or sweet breakfast items in general!). To start, try cutting the usual amount of sugar you add by half and wean from there. Anther great tip is to remove sugar, and sweeteners from the table and possibly even you cupboard! Also try adding nutrient dense fruits including berries and bananas to sweeten naturally.