Food, Reviews, science, Sugar

10 Reasons Sugar Is Bad For You

My first video series on Instagram explored 10 detrimental effects of sugar on our health. Here are the scientific references behind each of my 15-second videos (and my face, courtesy of yours truly). Enjoy!


NUMBER 1: It is absolutely unnecessary. Table sugar (white sugar) increases the caloric content and sweetness of foods, without giving your body anything it needs. As a counter example, consider raw honey. It is sweet but also contains vitamins and amino acids. It’s a better option!


Sugar is calories. That’s it. Adding to this fact, people who eat a high-sugar diet also reduce their intake of nutritious foods, making their overall diet even poorer in value. 

Highly-processed, nutrient-depleted foods replace fresh produce and quality meals.


NUMBER 2: Sugar makes you fat!Contrary to popular belief, fat you eat (butter, oil, avocados, meat…) is not transformed into fat on your body. In fact, it is actually sugar (from desserts, cookies, ice cream, table sugar…) which gets transformed into fat. Eating sugar will make you put on weight.


A myriad of observational studies have shown that sugar consumption is associated with weight gain. Perhaps more interestingly, research has found the mechanism by which dietary fructose molecules are bound to end up as fat on our body. Science shows that any spoonful of table sugar you eat will be stored as fat on your [insert body part of choice here]. Hence the huge scam behind low-fat ‘diet’ foods. They contain a lot of added sugars which will get turned into fat… precisely what they claim to help you get rid of.


NUMBER 3: Eating sugar leads to diabetes. Over decades, too many insulin spikes due to eating sugar exhausts insulin reserves, AND renders your body resistant to insulin. Result: uncontrolled high blood sugar, and Type 2 Diabetes.


The upward trend of Type 2 Diabetes during the 20th century is indeed concomitant with the consumption of refined sugars, and particularly of High Fructose Corn Syrup, which’s consumption has increased >1000% between 1970 and 1990.


NUMBER 4: it is highly addictive. If you tend to reach for sweets when you are feeling down, or if you definitely cannot have only one piece of that chocolate bar, you are addicted to sugar.


The necessity to eat food is hardwired in our biology, and reinforced by the release of dopamine in our brain each time we have a meal. Drugs like cocaine take advantage of the same dopamine reward pathway and deregulate it: dopamine receptors are desensitised, meaning that you never feel like you ‘have enough’ of cocaine.
This disregulation is also set off by sugar consumption! Eating sugar has the same effect as cocaine on our dopamine system. Sugar consumption does not make us feel satisfied and leaves us addicted and craving more. Precisely, sweetness in the absence of fat (like all low-fat, ‘diet’ products) are responsible for producing addictive-like behaviours. Sugar withdrawal symptoms are qualitatively similar to morphine or nicotine withdrawal. Sugar is by all accounts a drug which produces the same neurochemical changes in our brains as drugs of abuse.


NUMBER 5: over 90% of cancers are due to non-genetic (=environmental) factors. One of the few environmental variables that we can control is our diet. Sugar fuels cancer development, whereas low sugar diets seem to stall its progression. For instance, the ketogenic diet has recently been proven as an effective treatment for advanced brain cancer patients.


Research shows that high insulin levels due to a high-sugar diet increase the growth rate of prostate cancer. The ketogenic diet, which is very low in sugar and high in fat (think animal protein, animal and plant fats, vegetables, nuts, and maybe a few berries) is now proven as an effective therapy for malignant brain cancer.


NUMBER 6: Eating sugar causes heart disease. 💔 Overconsumption creates inflammation and oxidation of cholesterol particules in your blood stream, which are to blame for strokes. For a long time, we (wrongly) thought that saturated fat and dietary cholesterol were the root cause… They aren’t! Eat those eggs! 🍳🍳🍳


In the past year, theories suggesting that cholesterol and saturated fat were to blame for cardio-vascular disease have been disproven. We know have mounting evidence that the consumption of sugar has a direct detrimental effect on heart health. High-sugar diets induce cardiomyopathy (heart dysfunction), increase the risk of coronary heart disease, even independently of known heart disease factors.


NUMBER 7: Eating sugar compromises your immune system. For a few hours after sugar ingestion, your neutrophils (a type of leukocytes, aka white blood cells) are not as responsive as they usually are. The influx of sugar occupies them, and your body’s immune response to invading microbes is diminished. If you are ill, or chronically sick, reduce your sugar intake to give your body the best chances to fight off the offender.


Research shows that our white blood cells’ capacity to kill invading microbes (this is called ‘phagocytosis’) is impaired during hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar due to a meal rich in sugar). The effects have been shown to last for at least five hours after sugar ingestion. That is, consuming sugar compromises your system for at least 5 hours- if you eat it at every meal, your ability to deploy phagocytosis is almost constantly impaired.


NUMBER 8: Sugar prevents you from feeling full. Leptin is a very important hormone that signals to your body that you have eaten enough, and that you can stop. High insulin levels (caused by eating sugar) interfere with leptin. This is why on a high sugar diet, it is so hard to feel full (pass that cookie, please). 🍪 For obese patients, this is a big issue, because they become leptin resistant: even though they have a lot of reserve calories in the form of bodyfat, their brains firmly believe they need to keep eating at excessive levels.


The presence of leptin in our bodies reduces food intake and body weight. Obese patients have high levels of this hormone, but have high body weight and consume food in excess. This finding points to leptin resistance: the inability of our bodies to register the leptin which is present. High levels of insulin, due to a high-sugar diet, interfere with leptin signalling and prevents you from feeling full.


NUMBER 9: Sugar consumption sends your blood glucose levels on a roller-coaster ride. You oscillate between feeling momentarily pumped by a sugar high 😛 to feeling down and lethargic on a sugar low 😩. If you keep your diet high in fats and low in rapidly-absorbed carbohydrates, you will be able to avoid this and enjoy a steady mood.


A food’s Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load inform us on how much eating the food spikes blood sugar levels. Consuming sugar and easily digested carbohydrates (which have a high glycemic index) dramatically spikes blood sugar levels. After the action of insulin which reduces these levels, blood glucose levels fall below normal levels- this is what causes mood swings, hunger, and self-control failure. In the case of a slowly digested carbohydrate (for example, vegetables) blood glucose levels do not fall below 0 after insulin secretion. Therefore, no ‘sugar low’, and a relatively more steady energy supply.

Source: Dr. Sherman, GUMC


NUMBER 10: Sugar consumption promotes unhealthy gut bacteria.
An unhealthy microbiome has been linked to a whole host of diseases, from depression to arthritis. The pathogenic bacteria which use sugar as fuel have detrimental effects on our health. The most direct way to influence our microbiome is by changing our diet: a diet low in sugar and processed foods will optimize your gut flora and allow the health-promoting bacteria to thrive.


Candida Albicans is a yeast pathogen mostly present in our gut microbiome. It is the number 1 fungal pathogen for humans and an infection from it is the leading cause of death due to septicaemia in hospitals.
We know that dietary habits modulate the composition of our gut microbiome– in particular, sugar-rich diets encourage Candida Albans to grow in our gut and develop at an increased rate. Further, high blood sugar promotes the infectious power of this yeast pathogen: in a high blood glucose environment, Candida Albicans binds to immune cells, subverting them and empeding the immune response of the host.

2 thoughts on “10 Reasons Sugar Is Bad For You

  1. says:

    Great job Jessica ! Even More impact with your videos I am Convinced, all is about execution… So I start my next half century with less 🍨🍧🍦🍰🍪🍩🍮 another big challenge… Thanks! Chrystele schoenlaub

    Envoyé de mon iPhone



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