Presse Santé

Excess sugar: the 7 wounds for health

More and more studies confirm that excess sugar can be the cause of many diseases. In addition to sweet foods, the presence of hidden sugar in processed foods increases the amount of sugar we eat on a daily basis. While weight gain and tooth decay are among the most well-known risks, other problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, or sleep problems are also associated with high levels of sugar in the body.

Here are 7 reasons why it’s imperative to watch your sugar intake.

  1. Caries (and gingivitis)

Sugar is not only a source of energy for the body, it also gives “more power” to the bacteria in the mouth. When we consume sugar, these bacteria become more active, multiply and form plaque on the surface of the teeth. This sticky film produces acid that will dissolve the minerals that coat the outside of the tooth. This process results in the formation of small holes or an increase in the porosity of the tooth until it becomes caries. This bacterial plaque can also be deposited on the surface of the teeth and on the gums, which in this case favors the inflammation of the gums and the appearance of gingivitis. Keep in mind that there are more than 500 species of bacteria that live in the mouth.

  1. Fatten

Sugar changes into glucose once it reaches the body. Refined sugars undergo this transformation more quickly. However, if we eat too much sugar, the insulin produced by the pancreas and whose function is to keep blood sugar levels at a stable level, will transfer the excess sugar to the cells. In less active people, only a smaller part will be used as energy reserves, the greater part will be transformed into fat reserves. You should know that weight gain, especially at the abdominal level, is particularly dangerous for cardiovascular health.

  1. Alzheimer’s disease (and stroke)

Several studies have shown that consuming excess sugar can increase the risk of dementias such as Alzheimer’s. We also know that a Mediterranean diet, low in added sugars, is an excellent way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

A study published in April 2017 in the specialized journal Stroke showed that people who drank at least one light drink a day were about 3 times more likely to develop a stroke or dementia. To reach these conclusions, the scientists analyzed data from about 2,900 people over the age of 45 in the stroke group and about 1,500 people over the age of 60 in the dementia group.

  1. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH) is a liver disease characterized by the abnormal accumulation of fat in the liver. This disorder can progress to liver cell damage or inflammation. If alcohol is not involved in the onset of this disease, a sedentary lifestyle, poor food hygiene and, above all, a diet rich in sugars are considered the main factors. In fact, studies have shown that fructose precipitates fat accumulation in the liver due to increased lipogenesis and impaired fat oxidation. Similarly, excess carbohydrates in the blood cause a strong secretion of insulin. To maintain the balance, insulin will transfer all the excess sugar to the fat cells, but also to the muscles and the liver.

  1. sleep disorder

A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine showed that eating too much sugar promoted sleep disruption, with more awakenings at night and less restful sleep. This could be explained by a higher percentage of energy coming from sugar and other carbohydrates that are not always considered sugar. This excess energy acts as a stimulant that maintains a certain state of excitement, causing a lighter sleep.

  1. Heart disease

Too much sugar increases the level of bad cholesterol and reduces the concentration of good cholesterol or HDL. As mentioned above, excess sugar promotes overweight and obesity, as well as the accumulation of fat in the liver. A study published in the scientific journal JAMA Internal showed that a high intake of added sugars was associated with risk factors for cardiovascular disease. In addition, a study at the European Society of Cardiology congress showed that the accumulation of fat in the belly was bad for the heart.

  1. Hypertension

A study published in 2010 showed that a diet that is too high in fructose could increase blood pressure. The risk is exceeding the threshold of 120/80 mmHg, considered the upper limit that should not be exceeded, especially in certain countries such as the United States. There may be differences from one country to another.

Researchers have concluded that there is growing evidence that excessive fructose consumption can have a multitude of adverse health effects, such as increased blood pressure, induction of metabolic syndrome, fatty liver and, sometimes, the onset or acceleration of kidney disease.


Gunter GC Kuhnle (al): Association between sucrose intake and risk of overweight and obesity in a prospective sub-cohort of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer in Norfolk (EPIC-Norfolk). Public Health Nutrition doi.10.1017/S1368980015000300

St-Onge: Fiber and saturated fat are associated with sleep arousals and slow-wave sleep. J Clin Sleep Med. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.5384.

Anita Slomski: Too much sugar puts hearts in the danger zone. JAMA

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information provided can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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