Research on sugar: 22 Findings about Sugar

If you eat something and no one sees you eat it, it has no calories.
(A joke)

It seems that these days everybody knows that sugar is not good for us. But why? What exactly is happening when we eat sugar?

What does the latest research on sugar show?

Well... read all about it below and find out.

by Elia Strange

girl with ice cream

Research on Sugar:

Sugar consists of glucose and fructose. Whilst glucose is largely good for us, fructose is highly destructive to our health. So, when you read ‘fructose’, this also means ‘sugar’ and ‘high fructose corn syrup’ (by the way they affect your health)(1).

2. Sugar-sweetened drinks, particularly the carbonated ones, such as soda and coke, lead to weight gain, obesity, and possibly, diabetes, fractures, and dental problems(2,3,4).

3. Sugar-sweetened drinks can cause heart disease(5).

4. Sugar can cause inflammation of kidneys(6).

5.Sugar can cause diabetes type 2, cardiovascular disease, and inflammation in the body(7).

6.Sugar makes your blood pressure go high(8).

7. Sugar can cause inflammation in the body, particularly in the liver(9).

8. Sugar disrupts the function of normal biochemistry, leading to obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and, eventually, cancer(1).

9. Regularly drinking sugar-sweetened drinks (soft drinks) and fruit juices can lead to pancreatic cancer(10).

10. Sugar creates metabolic abnormalities and poor cardiovascular health(11).

11. Sugar steals minerals from your body. For example, copper deficiency can create a fatty liver, and sugar strips copper from our bodies(12).

12.Consuming sugary foods and beverages can cause digestive problems even in healthy individuals(13).

13. Eating and drinking sugary foods can cause metabolic syndrome (a group of risk factors that often lead to heart disease)(14, 4).

14. Sugar can cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (which currently affects 20-30% of adults and 10% of children). Fatty liver disease can become liver cirrhosis or liver cancer(15).

15. High fructose corn syrup and sugar are similar in the way that they destroy human health(1).

16. High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), also called glucose-fructose syrup in the UK, is a cheaper alternative to sugar, and now it’s been added to most food products on the market – from breads to condiments and canned soups(1). I even found it in ‘Non-sweetened Cappuccino’!

17. Eating sugary foods (or drinking sugary drinks) messes up your ‘hunger/satiety’ signals, making you feel hungry even when you have consumed a high-calorie food (e.g. chocolate cake or McDonald’s milkshake)(16).

18. Regular consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and drinks creates high amounts of uric acid in our bodies. Uric acid is a toxic substance (it's a by-product created from cellular activity) and can lead to various health problems, including arthritis(17).

19. Sugar has to be processed by your liver, just like any other toxic substance(1).

20. Because of the clear link between sugar and chronic diseases, many countries are considering taxes on sweetened drinks(18).

21. Sugar is a poisonous substance to the body, which can be compared to drinking ethanol(1).

22. I have to disappoint you if you still think that fruit juice is a healthy alternative. Fruit juice contains fructose. A regular consumption of fruit juices may lead to weight gain, obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes(19).

So, what to do?

If you are a 'sugar addict' like I am, then you must read

13 Facts about Sugar Addiction before you go any further! I've researched and created these articles so both you and I can come back to them whenever we feel 'controlled by the sugar monster', and then re-read this interesting (and shocking) info.

Also, read on How to stop (or reduce) your sugar addiction

... or go to Articles Archives

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... or go to Home Page (Coping with Stress)

'Research on Sugar' References:

American Diabetes. (2011). New guidelines for sugar intake. Retrieved from the American Diabetes Web site:

Aoyama, M., Isshiki, K., Kume, S., Chin-Kanasaki, M., Araki, H., Araki, S.I., Koya, D., Haneda, M., Kashiwagi, A., Maegawa, H., & Uzu, T. (2012). Fructose induces tubulointerestitial injury in the kidney of mice. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications (in Press).(6)

Bray, G.A., Nielsen, S.J. & Popkin, B.M. (2004). Consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in beverages may play a role in the epidemic of obesity. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 79 (4), 537-543.(16)

Brown, I.M., Stamler, J., Horn, L.V., Robertson, C.E., Chan, Q., Dyer, A.R., Huang, C.C., Rodriguez, B.L., Zhao, L., Daviglus, M.L., Ueshima, H., Elliott, P. (2011). Sugar-sweetened beverage, sugar intake of individuals, and their blood pressure. Hypertension, 57, 695-701.(8)

Brownell, K.D., Farley, T., Willett, W.C., Popkin, B.M., Chaloupka, F.J., Thompson, J.W., & Ludwig, D.S. (2009). The public health and economic benefits of taxing sugar-sweetened beverages. The New England Journal of Medicine, 361 (16), 1599-1605.(18)

Dekker, M.J., Su, Q., Baker, C., Rutledge, A.C., & Adeli, K. (2010). Fructose: a highly lipogenic nutrient implicated in insulin resistance, hepatic steatosis, and the metabolic syndrome. American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism, 299, 685-694.(7)

Johnson, R.K., Lawrence, J.A., Brands, M., Howard, B.V., Lefevre, M., Lustig, R.H., Sacks, F., Steffen, L.M., Wylie-Rosett, J. (2009). Journal of American Heart Association, 120, 1011-1020. (11)

Fung TT, Malik V, Rexrode KM, Manson JE, Willett WC, Hu FB. Sweetened beverage consumption and risk of coronary heart disease in women. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;89:1037–42.(5)

Kim, Y., Park, S.C., Wolf, B.W., Hertzler, S.R. (2011). Combination of erythritol and fructose increases gastrointenstinal symptoms in healthy adults. Nutrition Research, 31 (11), 836-841. (13)

Lanaspa, M.A., Tapia, E., Soto, V., Sautin, Y., & Sanchez-Lozada, L.G. (2011). Uric acid and fructose: Potential biological mechanisms. Seminars in Nephrology, 31 (5), 426-432.(17)

Lustig, R. (2011). Sugar: The bitter truth. Video. Retrieved from YouTube Web site:

Malik, V.S., Popkin, B.M., Bray, G.A., Despres, J.P., Willett, W.C., & Hu, F.B. (2010). Sugar-sweetened beverages and risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis. Diabetes Care, 33 (11), 2477-2483.(19)

Malik VS, Schulze MB, Hu FB. Intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and weight gain: a systematic review. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006;84:274–88.(2)

Mueller, N.T., Odegaard, A., Anderson, K., Yuan, J.M., Gross, M., Koh, W.P., & Pereira, M.A. (2010). Soft drink and juice consumption and risk of pancreatic cancer: The Singapore Chinese health study. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 19, 447-455.(10)

Nomura, K. & Yamanouchi, T. (2012). The role of fructose-enriched diets in mechanisms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, 23 (3), 203-208.(15)

Tappy, L., Le, K.A., Tran, C., & Paquot, N. (2010). Fructose and metabolic diseases: New findings, new questions. Nutrition, 26 (11-12), 1044-1049.(14)

Sivakumar, A.S. & Anuradha, C.V. (2011). Effect of galangin supplementation on oxidative damage and inflammatory changes in fructose-fed rat liver. Chemico-Biological Interactions, 193 (2), 141-148.(9)

Sun, S.Z., Anderson, G.H., Flickinger, B.D., Williamson-Hughes, P.S., & Empie, M.W. (2011). Fructose and non-fructose sugar intakes in the US population and their associations with indicators of metabolic syndrome. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 49 (11), 2875-2882.(4)

Song, M., Schuschke, D.A., Zhou, Z., Chen, T., Pierce, W.M.Jr., Wang, R., Johnson, W.T., & McClain, C.J. (2012). High fructose feeding induces copper deficiency in Sprague-Dawley rats: A novel mechanism for obesity related fatty liver. Journal of Hepatology, 56 (2), 433-440.(12)

Vartanian LR, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD. Effects of soft drink consumption on nutrition and health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Public Health. 2007;97:667–75.(3)

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