Type 1 and type 2 diabetes affect the ability of the body to regulate its sugar levels. However, eating sugar or sugary foods will not cause type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes or also known as diabetes insipidus is an autoimmune condition that causes the body to attack its own insulin-producing cells. The damage your cells go through undermines the regulation of your blood sugar.
Type 2 diabetes or also known as diabetes mellitus is a little bit more complicated. Consuming sugar does not cause type 2 diabetes directly. But eating too much of it can cause obesity and it is one of the factors that could lead to diabetes.
Because this condition makes it difficult for your body to manage its glucose levels well, a person with this metabolic disorder can worsen their situation by eating sugar more than the recommended amount.
The Link Between Diabetes And Sugar
Eating sugar does not directly mean you will develop diabetes. But there is evidence from research that suggests that the availability of sugar increases the prevalence of diabetes. This study looked into 175 countries and concluded that countries with more sugar supply have a higher diabetes rates.
A recent study sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases conducted by the researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School suggests that consuming too much dietary sugar can possibly spark a process in the body that could lead to prediabetes.
An assistant professor at Duke University School of Medicine named Mark Herman, M.D. from the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition addressed the controversy of sugar and its relation with diabetes by publishing a study in the the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
He said consuming large amounts of sugar, particularly fructose appears to trigger a specific mechanism that could lead to diabetes. Furthermore, Dr. Herman said that this current findings has allowed them to better understand the fundamental principles on how diabetes develops.
Sugar-Related Health Problems
Although the link between sugar and type 2 diabetes is not direct, the link between sugar and other diabetes-causing health problems is.
Here is a list of other risks associated with too much sugar consumption:
- Liver diseases
- Hormonal changes
- High cholesterol
- Obesity or weight gain
- Chronic inflammation
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Immune dysfunction
The Recommended Sugar Intake
Sugar is widely present in food and is therefore completely impossible to avoid. However, the sugar found in whole foods are enough to suffice your body’s need for energy. So there is no need to drink sweet beverages like fruit juices, sodas, eat cookies, cakes, donuts, sweetened treats or any processed foods that are particularly unhealthy.
According to the American Heart Association, they recommend that an average man should not consume more than 150 calories, 36 grams or 9 teaspoons of sugar a day. As for the average woman, the limit should not exceed 100 calories, 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar.
The American Diabetes Association also offers food recommendations and alternatives. You can prevent yourself from diabetes by eliminating high glycemic foods and simple carbs in your diet and replace them with complex carbohydrates like whole wheat or oatmeal.
According to 7 steps to health, eating more fiber-rich foods will help you maintain your glucose levels and sustain your energy throughout the day. This also stops you from craving or overeating. Choose lean proteins and source your fat from healthy foods that are rich in essential fatty acids.
Eliminate processed foods from your diet as they contain extra sugars, unhealthy trans fats and are generally high in sodium. Your sodium intake should only be less than 2,300 mg per day.
Lastly, to prevent glucose spikes, eat smaller but frequent meals every day. Instead of eating three large meals, spread them out to five. This will help you feel fuller and satiated throughout the day and prevent you from unhealthy snacking.
When your body can no longer regulate your glucose levels properly due to diabetes, eating too much sugar will worsen your symptoms. Always remember to eat healthy and live an active lifestyle. This will not only help reverse the problem but it will also prevent it from plaguing your life again.