I wrote yesterday about the negative impact sugar has on the body but there is so much more that I thought I should continue the discussion again today. We all probably know that eating too much sugar can cause weight gain which is where I left off yesterday.
It's more than just excess pounds that will accumulate on your frame. You could also develop non-alcoholic fatty liver disease which I touched on yesterday. When too much sugar enters the body, the cells are unable to utilize it and the liver stores it as fat. That's an oversimplified explanation but it tells the story. When that happens, you become insulin resistant and can be at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. You don't have to be overweight to develop a fatty liver. The condition is caused by the overload of sugar and especially high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). The impact of sugar overload on the liver is as detrimental as alcohol.
Fructose is the sugar found in fruit and consumed in its natural state as whole fruit, can be beneficial. Included in the fruit is also fiber, water and vitamins. The fiber in the fruit slows down the impact of fructose on blood sugar levels. However, high levels of fructose found in processed food have all the nutrients stripped out and all that is left is the sugar which floods the system. Our bodies were not made to process all that sugar.
Almost all versions of sugar contain some level of fructose, some more than others. High fructose corn syrup, in some instances, has been found to contain nearly 90% fructose in its makeup. What makes fructose unique is that it is processed through the liver and when consumed as part of a natural piece of fruit, will enter and exit the liver in small amounts over time because it takes time to eat the fruit and the fiber will help to slow the introduction of the sugar into the bloodstream. When you consume processed foods with an abundance of fructose and none of the fiber, you flood the system and the liver cannot handle it. This is especially true of liquid versions as in sugary soft drinks. Consumed on an empty stomach makes it even worse.
For many years, fatty liver disease was the purview of alcoholics but when the food industry introduced HFCS into the food supply in the 1970s and 1980s, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) became a real issue. Another condition caused by overconsumption of HFCS is non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This shows up as fatty liver and steatosis, which is the scar tissue developed by the liver in an attempt to heal itself which ultimately results in cutting off the blood supply, cause non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.
In conjunction with the increase in fructose consumption since 1980, the incidence of these non-alcoholic liver diseases has doubled. NASH is now the third-highest reason for the need for liver transplant. Estimates of 31% of adults and 13% of children are suffering from NAFLD and those numbers are expected to grow as sugar consumption increases in the American population.
You can read the whole disturbing article here.
If you feel like this is a problem for you, it's time to get a handle on it now. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to reverse. The sugar addiction in the US has become alarmingly prevalent. If you need help overcoming this addiction, and make no mistake, it IS an addiction, feel free to set up a free consultation with me at the link below.
In case you missed my post on June 30th, I am using this 31 day challenge to hold myself accountable for walking my talk. Several years ago, I was able to take off 135 pounds and essentially save my own life. I have regained much of that weight so I am working my way back down.
If you choose to join me on this journey, I hope I am able to impart some nutritional and lifestyle wisdom. Even though I may have gone off the rails temporarily I can still share some of my first hand experience as well as my acquired knowledge and training to help you make the right changes for your best life.
As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.