There are no downsides to giving up sugar or even cutting back (other than cravings). So why don’t we? We all love sugar, and, in many cases, are addicted to it. What’s a birthday without our cake? Not fun. It all comes down to our choices. Here’s how sugar can increase your health risks.

Sugar crowds out nutritious foods. There is zero nutrition in sugar or high carbs, and that’s why we’re hungry a lot of the time. Sugar also causes insulin resistance and constant release of insulin, which often leads to pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. It’s also the biggest cause of obesity. Most of us do not realize that sugar, not fat, causes heart disorders.

According to the Mayo Clinic, research suggests a connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s, especially Type 2. However, this research is still in the initial stages with no final conclusions yet.

Sugar also…

*suppresses your immune system and can cause depression.

*affects macular degeneration because sugar decreases the health of small blood vessels.

*causes wrinkles by attacking elastin and collagen which keep skin supple.

*causes inflammation in the body. Inflammation is involved in arthritis, heart disease, and macular degeneration.

*can cause osteoporosis (weakening of our bones). Main culprits are sugary drinks.

*increased estrogen production in men [man boobs], especially in young boys like never seen before.

*damages kidney vessels, which in turn affects the ability of the kidneys to regulate excretion.

*can cause men to lose their mojo. Sorry but true. It affects good blood flow and hormone levels + damages nerves.

Foods high in sugar: salad dressings, BBQ sauce, dried fruits, granola, ketchup, spaghetti sauce in a jar, sports drinks and soft drinks, chocolate milk, flavored coffee from coffee houses, protein bars, vitamin waters have a lot of hidden sugars, canned fruit, canned baked beans, some breakfast cereals.

Foods that reduce high sugar levels: whole grain breads, most fruits (blueberries/apples/grapes), oatmeal, bran, garlic, cold-water fish, nuts, legumes, sweet potatoes or yams. Exercise also helps to reduce the effects of too much sugar.

Unless we cook everything from “scratch” at home, it’s impossible to avoid foods that have sugar. Our modern-day lifestyle does not typically allow us to live like this as perhaps our grandparents did. If we are more aware of hidden sugar in foods, we can make better food choices and reduce the amount of sugar we’ve become accustomed to eating.

P.S. I’m still having that slice of birthday cake, but maybe not a 2nd piece.

WebMD / /