Can Too Much Sugar Cause Diabetes?
Sugar is sweet. Sugar and spice and all things nice. Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Eat less sugar. You are sweet enough. Sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine. Pretty please with sugar on top. Everybody has got their poison and mine is sugar. Of course, we have all heard these famous sugar quotes from various famous people.
We feast on sugar whether it is a holiday, birthday, special occasion, and almost, anytime. Sugar consumption has been the highest it has been in years; it is part our culture. In contrast, glucose provides energy to every living cell in our body! Above all, without glucose, you could not survive. Can too much sugar cause diabetes?
So, there is no simple answer. As an illustration, everyone says it is OK in moderation. Is it like smoking? Is smoking OK in moderation? Although, true or not, let us define moderation.
What is moderation?
How do you define moderation for a toxic substance known as sweet poison. Can we compare sugar to moderation in smoking? Is 1 cigarette smoked moderation? Can we safely say? No, because each and every person will have a different limit before a health issue occurs. Do you want to take your chance with moderation? Gary Taubes wrote a piece on moderation in his book “A Case Against Sugar”.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), February 2017 – The maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons). Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons). This is true for all added sugars. See this detailed study. One teaspoon is equivalent to just over 4 grams of sugar.
There are four calories in one gram. Definition of a teaspoon – perfectly level and not a rounded heaping teaspoon, anything above will raise the grams and calorie count.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) MARCH 2015 GENEVA – The WHO guideline recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of free sugars to less than 10% of their total energy intake. A further reduction to below 5% or roughly 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day would provide additional health benefits.
See detailed study for sugar intake for adults and children.
According to the FDA
According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) May 2016 – It is difficult to meet nutrient needs while staying within calorie requirements. If you consume more than 10 percent of your total daily calories from added sugars. Americans intake 13 percent of their total calories from added sugars.
With the major sources being sugar-sweetened beverages (including soft drinks, fruit drinks, coffee and tea, sport and energy drinks, and alcoholic beverages) snacks and sweets (including grain-based desserts, dairy desserts, candies, sugars, jams, syrups, and sweet toppings).
The definition of added sugars includes sugars that are either added during the processing of foods, or are packaged as such, and include sugars (free, mono- and disaccharides), sugars from syrups and honey. Sugars from concentrated fruit or vegetable juices that are in excess of what would be expected from the same volume of 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice of the same type.
The definition excludes fruit or vegetable juice concentrated from 100 percent fruit juice that is sold to consumers (e.g. frozen 100 percent fruit juice concentrate). As well as some sugars found in fruit and vegetable juices, jellies, jams, preserves, and fruit spreads.
Further more, any added sugars contain zero nutrients, definition from the FDA on added sugar. As a result, this means sugar provides no benefits.
To summarize, moderation of sugar consumption is clearly undefined. My understanding is less is better.
Pop or Soda drinks
One 12-ounce (355 ml) can of regular soda contains 40 grams (g), ten teaspoons of sugar, or 140 calories. Some quick math. If you drink a can every day for one year, 35 pounds (lbs) or 15.9 kilograms (kg) of sugar. As a result, you could gain 15 lbs or 7 kg of fat if you do not work it off and most people do not.
A 20-ounce soda is labeled as two and a half servings, 68 g, 17 teaspoons of sugar, or 250 calories, 91,250 calories a year. Consequently, you could gain 26 lbs or 12 kg. In addition, this size is now the standard. For .99 cents, how could you lose?
In fact, 200 or 300 years ago the average sugar consumption was 4 lbs per year. In the United Kingdom people consumed over 100 lbs of sugar in 1972. The US consumption was 123 lbs.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2014 reported the average American consumes 150 to 170 lbs per year. Thus, 120 teaspoons equal 1 lb. Even to this day sugar consumption is still on the rise.
Abundance of Sugar
The problem consequently, with sugar is that it is in almost everything. Pop, juice, energy drinks, milk, bread, pasta, pastries, snacks, chips, chocolate, and candy. Processed foods, packaged foods, yogurt, fruits, and yes in addition, vegetables. As we consume sugar, it is slowly unknowingly destroying our bodies and further more, killing us.
Sugar is also a factor in type 1 diabetes. The temporary cure for type 1 diabetes is insulin. People that are diabetic should consume as little added sugar as possible. Therefore, quitting sugar is the best plan and many people have done it, including myself.
The numbers for moderation from the mentioned organizations are maximums for daily consumptions. If we listen to the WHO and use 5 % that to me is very high. Is OK to drink a soda or juice or energy drink every day for the rest of your life? In the long term, not a chance, short term tastes good.
Studies have shown sugar is not good
People that are used in these studies have diabetes due to the fact that starting a study for diabetes or anything long term is hard to accomplish. It is easier to find diabetics, work backward ask questions concerning diets and base studies on that. Short-term studies have used rats due to the similarities in organ function to humans.
John Yudkin used rats and fed them with sugar and they developed a decreased glucose tolerance resembling the condition in diabetes. When glucose is given by mouth to a fasted animal, the already high level of glucose increases to a still more abnormal level and does not return to the fasting level within 2 hours.
Glucose tolerance was back to normal following the diet change. The cycle repeated when it was switched to the sugar diet.
A High Sugar Diet
In human subjects, a high-sugar diet maintained for several weeks showed reduced sugar tolerance. A low sugar diet for several weeks showed improvement. The first effect of the sugar would be to improve the body’s use of the glucose by the process of adaptation.
It would do this by producing insulin from the pancreas or by improving the sensitivity of the body tissues to the action of the insulin. Continuing to give a high-sugar diet adaptation would diminish and exhaustion takes place, and the use of glucose would now be less than normal. This experiment was performed twice with the same results.
Decreased glucose tolerance found in diabetes is a characteristic along with some other long-standing issues. Another issue includes ‘diabetic retinopathy’ or ‘retinitis’ an abnormality in the retina. Professor Aharon Cohen showed that sugar produced abnormalities of the eye in the rat.
A detailed study by a London Group concluded that the abnormalities from careful biochemical and microscopic examination were identical with those found in diabetic rats. Sugar produces enlargement of the liver and kidneys. As a result, sugar is the main cause of cavities if proper brushing and flossing is not done.
Further more, John Yudkin, god bless this man, was a pioneer and saw the bad in sugar. Regular consumption on a day to day basis for 2 to 3 weeks will show decreased glucose tolerance. In susceptible people increased insulin concentration in the fasting glucose. This means insulin resistance.
Quick Sugar basics
Sucrose is the chemical name for white table sugar and is a common disaccharide. A disaccharide is made up of 2 simple monosaccharides in the form of glucose and fructose bonded together. A fifty-fifty mix of glucose and fructose, produced after digestion called ‘invert sugar’.
Glucose or blood sugar provides energy for every cell in the body. In addition, we cannot live without it. Fructose after digestion goes straight to the liver and is stored as fat. Furthermore, fructose does not get converted into glucose through the liver. For this reason, it only takes 2 weeks for the fat to become fatty liver. It is like consuming alcohol.
In other words, fructose is the worst part of sugar. It is also part of table sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). HFCS is the key sweetener in soda. For a detailed analysis see this study by Sharon S. Elliott et al that describes the effects of fructose. Hence, see The Deadly Effects of Fructose by Jason Fung.
Non-Acoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)
In the last decade, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is the leading cause of liver disease in the US. It is closely associated to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol. Liver disease has been linked to alcohol and drug abuse. People do not go to a hepatologist (liver doctor) because they are afraid of being labelled “drug abuser”. This is not the case nowadays.
The reason people develop NAFLD is by an unhealthy lifestyle habit and not enough physical exercise. Having NAFLD may not show any symptoms and you may carry on life as normal. The liver will be the last thing on your mind. In reality, a neglected or diseased liver will bring consequences beyond your control.
You may exist for a day or 2 if your liver stopped functioning. Don’t count on it.
A fatty liver contains deposits (bubbles) of fat that can cause inflammation. Next, if the condition is allowed to progress fibrosis, scar tissues form. If the injury persists, further damage to the liver cells and then on to cirrhosis. Cirrhosis is scarring and hardening of the liver making it unable to function.
Once cirrhosis sets in, there is a “Point of no Return” and you will need a liver transplant.
Satiety and Leptin resistance
Two hormones that affect our regulation of appetite are ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin is a hunger hormone that stimulates the appetite. It is high before you eat and low after you eat .
Leptin is a hormone that suppresses (decreases) the hunger after eating. Eating too much sugar causes leptin resistance. Once you develop leptin resistance there will be no signal to tell you that you are full.
Ghrelin and leptin are ineffective as the intake of sugar increases and obesity slowly occurs. As you become obese leptin resistance sets in similar to insulin resistance. Both have similar pathways which the brain is ignoring. Leptin resistance leads to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Is there a moderation for sugar intake?
According to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers, the study provides empirical evidence that intake of sugary beverages should be limited to reduce the risk of these conditions. A high sugar diet will increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. This finding showed that drinking one to two sugary drinks per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 26%.
Metabolic syndrome up 20% compared with those who consumed less than one sugary drink per month. In fact, drinking one 12-ounce serving per day increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by about 15%.
“The association that we observed between soda consumption and risk of diabetes is likely a cause-and-effect relationship because other studies have documented that sugary beverages cause weight gain, and weight gain is closely linked to the development of type 2 diabetes,” said Frank Hu.
Are soft drinks the cause of obesity?
Surprisingly, it depends on who you ask.
“There is no association between sugar consumption and obesity”
Richard Adamson Scientist for National Soft Drink Association BMJ 326, March 2003
“Each additional sugar-sweetened drink increase over a 19-month follow-up increases – Body Mass index (BMI) and obesity odds risk at 60 %.”
Ludwig et al. Lancet 2001 Boston’s children hospital
Can too much sugar cause diabetes?
The answer is yes it can cause type 2 diabetes long term. Affect type 1 diabetics as sugar intake is increased. As a result, sugar affects the liver and kidneys after 2 to 3 weeks of regular consumption. The proof is in the pudding, no pun intended. Cut down or eliminate sugar from your diet. In the event that type 2 diabetes does not affect you. There are other medical problems like Metabolic syndrome, hypertension, heart disease, gout, neuropathy, retinopathy and or an amputation that will.
As a result, you will have high blood sugar which is a slow, painful, uncomfortable, lifelong, journey into old age. In addition, you will become an economic burden to the healthcare system and your family. Consequently, one billion people have diabetes knowingly or not. Therefore, I would not wish diabetes on anyone.
I congratulate you on reading this far, something must have caught your attention.
Note the harmful effects of sugar, stay clear and it will change your life for the better.
Absolute recommended viewing – Sugar: The Bitter Truth – by Dr. Robert Lustig. Dr. Lustig is a medical doctor, advocate, and scientist in the crusade against sugar as well as myself. The video is very informative and as a result has over seven million views.
Take action by educating yourself because no one is going to help you but you yourself. Further more, double check my research and form your own opinion. I am hoping to push you in the right direction.
I appreciate all feedback, comments, questions and or concerns. Please send me an email.
Many thanks for dropping by and viewing.
- John Yudkin, Pure, White and Deadly, Penguin Books, London England, 1986 p 38.
- John Yudkin, Pure, White and Deadly, Penguin Books, London England, 1986 p 108.
- John Yudkin, Pure, White and Deadly, Penguin Books, London England, 1986 p 109.
- John Yudkin, Pure, White and Deadly, Penguin Books, London England, 1986 p 110.
- John Yudkin, Pure, White and Deadly, Penguin Books, London England, 1986 p 112.
- Kristin Kirkpatrick: Skinny Liver – A Proven Program to Prevent and Reverse the new Silent Epidemic – Fatty Liver Disease, Da Capo Press, 2017 p 27.
Recommended Reading (See also Recommended Books To Read)
Robert H. Lustig: Fat Chance: Beating the Odds against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, Hudson Street Press, December 27, 2012.
Gary Taubes: The Case Against Sugar, Knopf Publishing Group, December 27, 2016.
John Yudkin: Pure, White and Deadly: The new facts about the sugar you eat as a cause of heart disease, diabetes and other killers, Penguin Books, November 24, 1986.
Kristin Kirkpatrick: Skinny Liver – A Proven Program to Prevent and Reverse the new Silent Epidemic – Fatty Liver Disease, Da Capo Press , 2017.
Robert H. Lustig: Sugar Has 56 Names: A Shopper’s Guide, A Penguin Special from Hudson Street Press, 2013.