Why you should give up sugar from now on

Written by Magdalena Koller
8 minutes reading time
17. July 2023 zuletzt aktualisiert am 1. August 2023 von

Table of contents

    1. first of all - what is sugar?

    Not all sugar is the same. You probably know several types of sugar, for example: sucrose (common household sugar), fructose (fruit sugar) or glucose (sugar measured in our blood). In addition, there are many other sugars and, similar to fats, there is also a certain classification into different groups. For example, glucose is a monosaccharide, or single sugar, but sucrose is a disaccharide, or double sugar consisting of glucose and fructose. Other carbohydrates, such as starch, are polysaccharides, or multiple sugars made up of several glucose molecules. As different as the various sugars are, so are their effects and their metabolism in your body.

    2. sugar worsens your blood values

    Fructose has been shown to increase atherogenic LDL (atherosclerosis-causing low density lipoprotein) in the blood. Beverages sweetened with sucrose or glucose also lead to a similar deterioration of the blood count. Fasting glucose and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein levels show a significant increase with the ingestion of all three sugars mentioned. This particular protein is also abbreviated as hs-CRP and is a marker for inflammation in the body: the more hs-CRP present in the blood, the more pronounced the inflammation.

    Small side note: “Significant” may sound super turgid and academic – it means in statistics jargon that the values obtained differ unambiguously and not just by chance.

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    3. sugar promotes stroke and heart attack

    In addition to the blood levels already mentioned, sugar or even a very high-carbohydrate diet lead to an increase in fasting plasma triglycerides in the blood . The combination of increased inflammation and elevated triglyceride levels can lead to artherosclerosis. It is a chronic inflammatory reaction and pathological fatty deposit in the wall of blood vessels and the most common cause of stroke and heart attack. Atherosclerosis is a disease of civilization and the most common cause of death in industrialized countries today.

    4. fructose is not a healthy sugar

    Fructose has been shown to worsen several blood parameters in several studies. Thus, compared with glucose, it leads to a significant increase in fasting TG (TG: triglycerides), postprandial TG (postprandial: after a meal), and 24-h triglyceride levels in men. In women, a diet with more fructose had no effect on fasting TG or postprandial TG concentrations. Again, this means that increased fructose intake in men has been shown to contribute to poor blood lipid levels.

    Many studies comparing these two sugars find that the effect of too much fructose is usually worse than the effect of comparable amounts of glucose. However, there are also studies that find no difference.

    For example, this study on the effect of fructose on insulin sensitivity shows a comparison of glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Values for LDL and total cholesterol are particularly poor with moderately to severely elevated fructose. The measured parameters are also worse with an increased intake of sucrose. Again, it has been shown that the amount of free fatty acids are increased after a moderate intake of fructose.

    Also, moderate amounts of fructose and sucrose (consists of fructose + glucose) were found to result in a significant change in hepatic insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism, compared to an intake of the same amount of glucose. Hepatic means “in the liver” or “affecting the liver”.

    5. sugar promotes obesity

    In general, sugar is strongly associated with obesity. For example, people have studied how limiting sugar intake affects BMI (body mass index). Adolescents who consumed fewer sweetened beverages showed a reduction in BMI. The reduction in BMI was greater the higher the baseline BMI.

    You may also drink an energy drink in the morning to wake up, flavored mineral water during the day, and a Coke, Sprite, or other soft drink in the evening. Take yourself by the nose and try to replace these things, including fruit juices, with tea or water. Sugar, ingested in drinks, is particularly unhealthy because it enters the bloodstream insanely fast.

    6. sugar promotes inflammation

    Sugar contributes greatly to the inflammatory process in your body. What can happen when sugar causes too much inflammation is seen in diabetics who, for example, see worse and worse (or even go blind) or develop a diabetic leg. These consequences of diabetes are caused by inflammation of small and large blood vessels throughout the body – caused by the constant high level of glucose in the blood.

    As described above, increased glucose leads to an increase in CRP – the inflammatory marker.

    Blood levels of haptoglobin, which is part of the nonspecific immune response and is involved in the inflammatory process as an acute-phase protein, have also been shown to increase. Similarly, transferrin levels increase when glucose intake is increased. Tranferrin is an iron transport protein. An elevated transferrin value occurs, for example, in conjunction with an iron deficiency.

    7. sugar makes a bad mood

    It has been recognized that sugar negatively affects our mood. For example, it turns out that sugar gives you a short-term energy boost, but this is quickly over again and you feel even flabbier. But if you go for a walk for 10 minutes, for example, you will have a much longer “cheering up” effect. You don’t feel an energy boost right away, but you feel all the better and more refreshed after about 1 hour.

    8. sugar - overall uncool

    There are many studies on the effects of sugar. Unfortunately, sugar results in many bad changes to your metabolism – at the latest with increased consumption. For example, it shows that increased sugar consumption can lead to obesity, tooth decay, fatigue, depression, migraines, tension headaches and other symptoms. One would think that these are enough disadvantages of sugar, but the development of chronic diseases that are becoming more common in the Western population such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver, hypertension, hypertriglyceridemia, cardiovascular disease, kidney stones, chronic diarrhea and IBS are also becoming more common.

    The ingestion of household sugar causes a sudden, sharp rise in blood glucose and thus a strong release of insulin. High insulin secretion can lead to hypoglycemia (low blood glucose levels), and this in turn leads to a compensatory release of blood sugar-increasing substances, such as epinephrine and cortisol. This process, as well as other disturbances of normal metabolism, can be reasons for the above-mentioned diseases.

    9. honey and agave syrup are not alternatives

    Did you know that the supposedly healthy sugar alternatives like honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, etc. contain large amounts of fructose? This is no better than classic household sugar.

    10. start your sugar withdrawal

    The best way to combat constant cravings for sweets is absolute sugar withdrawal. Completely eliminate all sweetened foods and fruit juices for 30 days. Also, do not use light drinks or sugar substitutes. This is the only way to retrain your taste buds and re-learn how good and flavorful natural food can be. After the first 30 days, we recommend xylitol (birch sugar) or erythritol as the best alternative to sugar, both of which have positive effects on metabolism. You should steer clear of everything else – aspartame, acesulfame-K, and so on and so forth.

    Get started right away with our free guide to a Foodpunk Carb Detox!

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    Are you perhaps already actively avoiding sugar? How are you doing with it? What changes have you noticed? Or are you trying to do without, but it’s not quite working out yet? What’s in your way? We look forward to your comment on this topic!

    Foto: Shutterstock.com / Karol Kostialova


    Further reading:

    Aeberli I, Gerber PA, Hochuli M, Kohler S, Haile SR, Gouni-Berthold I, Berthold HK, Spinas GA, Berneis K. 2011. Low to moderate sugar-sweetened beverage consumption impairs glucose and lipid metabolism and promotes inflammation in healthy young men: a randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr.2011 Aug;94(2):479-85. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.013540 Epub 2011 Jun 15.

    Aeberli I, Hochuli M, Gerber PA, Sze L, Murer SB, Tappy L, Spinas GA, Berneis K. 2013. Moderate amounts of fructose consumption impair insulin sensitivity in healthy young men: a randomized controlled trial. Diabetes Care. 2013 Jan;36(1):150-6. doi: 10.2337/dc12-0540 Epub 2012 Aug 28.

    Alan Gaby, MD. 2013. A Review of the Fundamentals of Diet; 饮食基本原则概述; Una revisión de los aspectos básicos de la alimentación. Glob Adv Health Med. 2013 Jan; 2(1): 58-63. Published online 2013 Jan 1. doi: 10.7453/gahmj.2013.2.1.010

    Bantle JP, Raatz SK, Thomas W, Georgopoulos A. 2010. Effects of dietary fructose on plasma lipids in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000 Nov;72(5):1128-34.

    Cara B. Ebbeling, Henry A. Feldman, Stavroula K. Osganian, Virginia R. Chomitz, Sheila J. Ellenbogen, David S. Ludwig. 2006. Effects of Decreasing Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption on Body Weight in Adolescents: A Randomized, Controlled Pilot Study. Pediatrics March 2006, VOLUME 117 / ISSUE 3

    Hayford JT, Danney MM, Wiebe D, Roberts S, Thompson RG. 1979. Triglyceride integrated concentrations: effect of variation of source and amount of dietary carbohydrate. Am J Clin Nutr. 1979 Aug;32(8):1670-8.

    Sørensen LB, Raben A, Stender S, Astrup A. 2005. Effect of sucrose on inflammatory markers in overweight humans. Am J Clin Nutr.2005 Aug;82(2):421-7.

    Thayer, R. E. 1987. Energy, tiredness, and tension effects of a sugar snack versus moderate exercise. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(1), 119-125.

    This article was written by

    Magdalena Koller

    The author of this article is Magdalena. She successfully completed her bachelor's degree in nutrition science at the University of Vienna. After her bachelor's degree and a short adventure abroad, Magdalena moved to Cologne, where she has been writing articles for the Science editorial team of Foodpunk since 2017, in addition to her job as a key account manager.

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