Because of these harmful effects, many health organizations recommend that Americans cut down on added sugars. However, added sugars can be difficult to identify. In a list of ingredients, they may be listed as sucrose (table sugar), corn sweetener, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juice concentrates, nectars, raw sugar, malt syrup, maple syrup, sugar sweeteners. Fructose, liquid fructose, honey, molasses, anhydrous dextrose, or other words ending in “ose,” the chemical suffix for sugars. If any of these words are among the first ingredients on a food label, the food is likely high in sugar. The total amount of sugar in a food is listed as “Total Carbohydrates” on its Nutrition Facts label.
Many people cut calories by swapping sugar-sweetened foods for diet foods and drinks with or without low-calorie sweeteners. These artificial sweeteners, also known as sugar substitutes, are often sweeter than table sugar, so smaller amounts are needed to create the same level of sweetness.
The safety of artificial sweeteners has been debated for decades. To date, researchers have not found clear evidence that artificial sweeteners approved for use in the United States cause cancer or other serious health problems in humans.
However, can they help you lose weight? The scientific evidence is mixed. Some studies suggest that diet drinks can help you lose weight in the short term, but weight tends to increase again over time slowly. Rother and other NIH-funded researchers are working to understand better the complex effects artificial sweeteners can have on the human body.
Studies in rodents and small groups suggest that artificial sweeteners can affect healthy gut microbes that help us digest food. This, in turn, can alter the body’s ability to use glucose, which can then lead to weight gain. However, until larger-scale studies are done in people, the long-term effect of these sweeteners on gut microbes and weight remains uncertain.
“There is a lot of controversy about the health effects of artificial sweeteners and the differences between sugars and sweeteners,” says Dr. Iván de Araujo of Yale University. “Some studies in animals indicate that sweeteners can have physiological effects. However, depending on the type of measure used, the results can be contradictory.”
De Araujo and others have been studying the effects of low-calorie sugars and sweeteners on the brain. Their animal studies found that sugar and sweeteners penetrate the brain’s reward circuits differently, with sugars having the most potent and pleasurable effect.
Substitute sugar for sweeteners to lose weight
Aspartame and saccharin are two of the most widely used artificial sweeteners.
Sweeteners: Is there scientific evidence that they can alter the microbiota?
Although sugar consumption must indeed be moderated, if you use sweeteners with little or very low nutritional value such as saccharin or stevia “in the long run, it does not provide any benefit in weight control because it does not help educate the palate and develop a taste for other types of flavours. ” In addition, unhealthy nutritional habits continue to be promoted, such as consuming sweetened sodas instead of water.
Overeating sugar can make you diabetic
The OCU points out that a “direct and unequivocal” relationship has not been established between the excessive consumption of sugars and the increased chances of the appearance of type 2 diabetes. This does not mean that it is not harmful and favours the appearance of other diseases such as obesity, which is a risk factor for the development of diabetes.
Sugars in the blood, by binding to proteins, carry out a process known as glycation, resulting in compounds called advanced glycation end products (known as AGEs). This is natural, but one of its effects is cell death and, therefore, ageing.
If sugar is consumed in excess, this entire process is accelerated, which causes wrinkles and other marks of the passage of time to appear earlier. Glycation also alters the quality of collagen. In addition to more facial lines, this contributes to the skin’s appearance being drier and dull.
Furthermore, sugars promote inflammation, increasing the risk of suffering from dermatological disorders such as acne and rosacea, especially in people prone to these problems.
Difficulty satisfying hunger
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas, which allows the body to use glucose for energy. If a person ingests too much sugar, the pancreas works too hard: it generates very high amounts of insulin, which are a risk factor for diabetes and alter appetite regulation.
This is because hyperinsulinemia – the presence of a higher than average amount of insulin in the blood – is involved in this process, along with other hormones such as leptin (which inhibits the feeling of hunger, that is, it stimulates satiety). And ghrelin (which does the opposite: induces the urge to eat).
Therefore, sugars have adverse effects due to their intake itself and because they encourage you to continue ingesting. Something that favours overweight and obesity, with all its derived negative consequences, is also related to the following, the last point of this list.
There is no consensus among health professionals about whether it can be ensured –even in cases of compulsive ingestion of some product– that there is a food addiction. On the other hand, some products, including sweet ones (and very salty ones, carbohydrates, fats and ultra-processed ones), can be considered “potentially addictive.”
That’s because consuming sugar causes the brain to release dopamine and opioids, substances that are also activated during other pleasurable and addictive activities, from taking drugs to having sex.
For this reason, although in human beings, it is not confirmed that one can speak of “sugar addiction,” the behaviours that this product generates on certain occasions also place it in a place of risk.