We are opening a real Pandora’s box by asking can eating too much sugar cause diabetes because the answer is yes, but the answer is also no. The real answer is that it can contribute.
There are so many myths out there when it comes to diabetes. No one really knows what causes type 1 diabetes. We know that genetics and family history is a common factor, environmental and lifestyle factors play a part as well. Type 2 diabetes is caused by genetic factors as well, however lifestyle factors play a much bigger role. Obesity and inactivity are two major lifestyle factors in type 2 diabetes.
Can eating too much sugar cause diabetes? The facts
If you eat a diet high in sugar or high in GI carbohydrates for that matter then you are going gain weight. Weight gain is a big factor especially in developing type 2 diabetes. Eating lots of sugar on a daily basis makes no sense at all and can have very bad effects on the body. Remember that sugar is addictive like a drug and can be hard to give up.
The world health organisation says that sugar should be limited to 6 teaspoons per day. The average western diet in the developed world is more like 40 teaspoons per day. No wonder there is such a high incidence of diabetes. Now more than 400 million people have the disease. That number is constantly growing. So, can eating too much sugar cause diabetes? I believe that the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that it can!
Can diabetics eat sugar?
Yes they can. In fact sugar is essential especially if a diabetic is having a hypoglycemic episode. Sugar in fact, can save a diabetics life in certain situations. I know it has saved my life on a couple of occasions.
Our bodies breakdown carbs and turn them into sugars so eating carbs is closely correlated to eating sugars. White bread, white rice and even potatoes is converted by our bodies into sugar. Personally I think that eating these starchy foods is very bad for you and there is a lot of misinformation out there about them. Personally, I have a very hard time stabilizing my blood sugar levels after eating any of these high GI carbs especially white rice.
Also remember that sugar can hide in foods that people consider to be low in sugar eg tomato sauce, low fat salad dressings, tonic water and low fat yoghurt so be aware.
Diets like the Atkins diet are very interesting. It can make more sense for a type 2 diabetic and can be healthier for you. The Atkins diet is very low in carbs and in sugar. Please read more about the Atkins diet and diabetes here.
What sugar does to the body
Many people assume that a diet high in sugar is better for you than a diet high in fat. This is an assumption that was born out of the 1970’s and 1980’s when fat was seen as the real evil. Recent research suggests that sugar not fat is the real killer. Here are some facts about sugar
- Sugar makes you fat. Excess sugar consumption will ultimately add bad fat to the stomach area, especially for men. The excess sugar in your body needs to be burned off or it will go straight to your stomach.
- Eating sugar or sugary foods does not make you feel full. Eating sugary foods raises your blood sugar levels quickly but sees them just as quickly crash, making you hungry again. This is bad news if you are trying to watch your calorie intake.
- Sugar is really bad for your heart. In the Journal of the American Heart Association evidence showed that sugar effects the pumping mechanism of your heart and could increase the risk of heart failure.
- Sugar is very bad for the liver. A 2012 paper in the journal Nature, brought forth the idea that limitations and warnings should be placed on sugar similar to warnings we see on alcohol. It showed evidence that fructose and glucose in excess can have a toxic effect on the liver.
Eating sugar and carbs is considered part of a normal healthy diet. Eating excess sugar and carbs can have a bad effect on the body and may lead to diabetes. There is also a lot of sugar hidden in foods you would otherwise consider healthy eg low fat yoghurt. I choose to make a lot of foods I eat for myself at home. Foods I go for are home-made soups and home made smoothies. One of the best products I have ever purchased to help me is the Vitamix 6300. Read my review on that product here.
What is your take? Can eating too much sugar cause diabetes in your opinion? Please add your comments below.