Episode 7: Effects Of Sugar

Episode 7: Effects Of Sugar

May 17, 2019

Just take a moment to realize how often you consume sugar.

What do you think sugar is in?

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), 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).

12oz can of soda has about 39g of sugar.

What are the different types of sugars?


Sucrose is 50% fructose and 50% glucose. Sucrose is commonly known as table sugar and is obtained from sugar cane or sugar beets. Fruits and vegetables also naturally contain sucrose. When sucrose is consumed, the enzyme beta-fructosidase separates sucrose into its individual sugar units of glucose and fructose. Both sugars are then taken up by their specific transport mechanisms. The body responds to the glucose content of the meal in its usual manner; however, fructose uptake occurs at the same time. The body will use glucose as its main energy source and the excess energy from fructose, if not needed, will be poured into fat synthesis, which is stimulated by the insulin released in response to glucose¹⁰.



The majority of the carbs we eat get turned into glucose. The most important monosaccharide is glucose, the body’s preferred energy source. Glucose is also called blood sugar, as it circulates in the blood, and relies on the enzymes glucokinase or hexokinase to initiate metabolism. Your body processes most carbohydrates you eat into glucose, either to be used immediately for energy or to be stored in muscle cells or the liver as glycogen for later use. Unlike fructose, insulin is secreted primarily in response to elevated blood concentrations of glucose, and insulin facilitates the entry of glucose into cells¹⁰.



Fructose is a sugar found naturally in many fruits and vegetables and added to various beverages such as soda and fruit-flavored drinks. However, it is very different from other sugars because it has a different metabolic pathway and is not the preferred energy source for muscles or the brain. Fructose is only metabolized in the liver and relies on fructokinase to initiate metabolism. It is also more lipogenic, or fat-producing, than glucose. Unlike glucose, too, it does not cause insulin to be released or stimulate the production of leptin, a key hormone for regulating energy intake and expenditure. These factors raise concerns about chronically high intakes of dietary fructose, because it appears to behave more like fat in the body than like other carbohydrates¹⁰.

Fruit are whole foods, with plenty of fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants. It’s very difficult to overeat fructose if you're only getting it from whole fruit

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is a type of artificial sugar made from corn syrup. Why is it bad? HFCS adds unnatural amounts of fructose to your diet, which the human body has not evolved to handle properly.

In fact, up until the last few decades, your diet would have contained only a very small amount of fructose from natural sources such as fruits and vegetables


Research continues to highlight the role of high-fructose corn syrup, fructose, in obesity. Diabetes and obesity are interconnected: According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with diabetes has risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.

Approximately 10 percent of U.S. adults were classified as obese during the 1950s. In 2011 to 2012, however, the CDC reported approximately 35 percent of U.S. adults were obese; the prevalence of obesity among American adults has more than tripled within the last six decades.

Obesity facts: A BMI of 30 and higher is considered obese.

According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2013–2014.

  • About 1 in 3 adults (32.5 percent) were considered to be overweight.
  • More than 1 in 3 adults (37.7 percent) were considered to have obesity.
  • Obesity was higher in women (about 40 percent) than men (35 percent).

The OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (36 countries) updated the statics of Obesity in 2017. OECD projection of obesity in 2030 in the United States is estimated to be closer to 47%.

How did the government contribute to this pandemic? Well in 1982 the American Heart Association, the Medical Health Association, and the US Department Of Agriculture admonished us by to reduce our total fat consumption from 40 to 30%. To compensate for that decrease in fat producers turned to added sugars.

Weight Gain and Addiction (Hormones)

Consuming fructose increases hunger and desire for food more than any other sugar. Fructose decreases lectin, which is the hunger hormone that tells your body when to stop eating. Glucose is associated with Insulin sensitivity and is linked to an increase in adipose tissue.

In healthy individuals, insulin increases in response to the consumption of carbs, transporting them out of the bloodstream and into the cells. The regular consumption of excess glucose can make your body resistant to insulin's effects and regular consumption of excess fructose leads to lipogenesis.

Fructose doesn't suppress appetite as much as glucose does. As a result, it might promote overeating. Excess fructose consumption may cause leptin resistance, disturbing body fat regulation and contributing to obesity

Specifically, sugar dampens the suppression of the hormone ghrelin, which signals hunger to the brain. It also interferes with the normal transport and signaling of the hormone leptin, which helps to produce the feeling of satiety. And it reduces dopamine signaling in the brain's reward center, thereby decreasing the pleasure derived from food and compelling the individual to consume more.


Ghrelin is termed the ‘hunger hormone’ because it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage. When administered to humans, ghrelin increases food intake by up to 30%; it circulates in the bloodstream and acts at the hypothalamus, an area of the brain crucial in the control of appetite. Ghrelin has also been shown to act on regions of the brain involved in reward processing such as the amygdala. Ghrelin is secreted primarily in the lining of the stomach. Ghrelin increases hunger..

Ghrelin levels correlate with insulin.


Leptin is sometimes called the satiety hormone. It decreases hunger. It helps inhibit hunger and regulate energy balance, so the body does not trigger hunger responses when it does not need energy.

It is released in the bloodstream and goes to various organs in the body to tell the organs there is enough energy on board to engage in energy-expensive metabolic processes.

In other words, leptin ensures the body is not starving. When leptin rises your appetite diminishes. Consuming high levels of sugar leads to Leptin resistance. That is, there's plenty of leptin but the brain is not responding to it. Insulin blocks leptin¹.

Leptin is secreted primarily in fat cells, as well as the stomach, heart, placenta, and skeletal muscle. Leptin decreases hunger.

When levels of the leptin fall, which happens when an individual loses weight, the lower levels can trigger huge increases in appetite and food cravings. 

Sugar also has a potential for abuse. Like tobacco and alcohol, it acts on the brain to encourage subsequent intake. There are now numerous studies examining the dependence-producing properties of sugar in humans.

Sugar consumption just like a certain drug works on the reward system of your body. When the brain is exposed to something rewarding, sugar responds to the rewarding stimulus by increasing dopamine. This is why the structures that are associated with the brain reward system are found along the major dopamine pathways in the brain.

Now, let's consider the toxicity. A growing body of epidemiological and mechanistic evidence argues that excessive sugar consumption affects human health beyond simply adding calories. Importantly, sugar induces all of the diseases associated with metabolic syndrome This includes hypertension (fructose increases uric acid, which raises blood pressure), visceral obesity (high BMI), low HDL, insulin resistance, high triglycerides.

Your body converts any calories it doesn't need to use right away into triglycerides.

It can also be argued that fructose exerts toxic effects on the liver that are similar to those of alcohol. This is no surprise because alcohol is derived from the fermentation of sugar. Some early studies have also linked sugar consumption to human cancer and cognitive decline.

Fatty liver disease

Your liver is the largest internal organ. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons. Fatty liver disease is a condition in which fat builds up in your liver. There are two types of fatty liver disease: alcoholic and fatty liver disease from dietary consumption. Fructose is broken down in the liver. High amounts of fructose overwork the liver. Since fructose is broken down by the liver and is used secondly to glucose it rarely gets completely used up, leading fructose to be converted into fat.

Closing thoughts

The Food and Drug Administration assessed the sugar question, what is the limit on sugar, back in 1986. Since then the last time an agency of the federal government looked into the question of sugar and health in any detail was in 2005, in a report by the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academies. They concluded that there is a lack of scientific agreement about the number of sugars that can be consumed in a healthy diet and that is the same response they gave is 1986.

Cigarette timeline:

1800’s: Cigarettes become popular

1965: required caution labels saying smoking might be harmful, small print

1967: “Warning: Cigarette Smoking Is Dangerous to Health and May Cause

Death from Cancer and Other Diseases.”

1981: Surgeon General warnings

1986: law required labels saying the smoking may cause mouth cancer 

It took over 100 years for cigarettes to get recognized as clearly carcinogenic and deadly. When will other truths come out?


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  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18703413
  2. https://chriskresser.com/is-refined-sugar-really-toxic/
  3. https://mindfulmindset.life/blogs/wellness/metabolic-syndrome-is-your-body-at-risk
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-high-fructose-corn-syrup-is-bad
  5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/why-is-fructose-bad-for-you#section3
  6. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/overweight-obesity
  7. https://www.nature.com/articles/482027a
  8. https://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html
  9. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-sugar-and-fat-trick-the-brain-into-wanting-more-food/
  10. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sucrose-glucose-fructose#what-are-they

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