Why Diabetes Patients Should Not Consume Sugar

Why Diabetes Patients Should Not Consume Sugar (1)
  • 5th July 2024

A metabolic disorder, diabetes mellitus leads to elevated blood sugar levels. There are two possible outcomes: insufficient insulin production or ineffective insulin utilization by your body.


Sugar is transported from the blood into your cells to be stored or utilized for energy by the hormone insulin. You could be suffering from diabetes if this breaks down.


Damage to various organs, including nerves, eyes, and kidneys, can result from untreated high blood sugar caused by diabetes. Your health can be better protected, though, if you learn about diabetes and do what you can to avoid or control it.


If you are diabetic and you eat sugar, then according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), hyperglycemia, a condition of high blood glucose. Glycemia is the level of sugar or glucose in the blood, and hyper means above or high.


When blood sugar levels are too high, several things can happen. People with diabetes often complain of excessive thirst, as if they just can't seem to drink enough fluids. So, this is known as polydipsia.


When you have polydipsia, you may also have polyuria, or the urge to pee more often than usual. Both of these things indicate that your blood sugar level is too high. On top of that, you could feel exhausted, have headaches, or have blurred vision.


Damage to various organs, including nerves, eyes, and kidneys, can result from untreated high blood sugar caused by diabetes. Your health can be better protected, though, if you learn about diabetes and do what you can to avoid or control it.


Understanding Diabetes


When blood sugar levels are not properly regulated, diabetes develops. Insufficient insulin production by the pancreas or insulin resistance in the cells are the two main causes of this condition.


One hormone that facilitates the transport of sugar from the blood into cells is insulin. Low insulin production or insulin resistance can lead to persistently high blood sugar levels.


Maintaining normal blood sugar levels is crucial because long-term hyperglycemia increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, and kidney damage.


Types of Diabetes


  • Type 1 diabetes: There is an autoimmune disease known as type 1 diabetes. Insulin is produced in the pancreas, but the immune system mistakenly targets and kills cells there. What triggers this attack remains unknown.
  • Type 2 diabetes: When insulin resistance develops and blood sugar levels rise, type 2 diabetes sets in. Nearly 90% to 95% of the time, it's this kind. Type 2 is the etiology of diabetes in the general population.
  • Type 1.5 diabetes: Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) is another name for type 1.5 diabetes. Like type 2 diabetes, it develops slowly over the course of adulthood. Because it is an autoimmune disorder, LADA has no dietary or lifestyle treatments.
  • Gestational diabetes: Diabetes mellitus or type 2 occurs when a woman's blood sugar levels skyrocket while she is pregnant. The placenta's hormones that block insulin are the root cause of gestational diabetes.


The majority of cases involve adults and are classified as type 2 diabetes, which happens when the body either stops producing enough insulin or develops resistance to it. The incidence of type 2 diabetes has increased substantially over the last 30 years across all global income brackets. 


The disease is directly responsible for 1.5 million deaths annually and affects 422 million people globally; most of these people reside in low- and middle-income nations. Diabetes has been more common and the number of new cases have been rising over the last several decades.


The Role of Sugar in the Diet


What is Sugar?


Natural Sugars: Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products contain these sugars naturally. Fruit sugars (fructose) and milk sugar (lactose) are two examples. To help keep blood sugar levels stable, natural sweets include extra nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and fiber.


Added Sugars: Syrups and sugars that are added to food and drink while they are being processed or prepared. Honey, high fructose corn syrup, and sucrose are common examples. Numerous processed foods and beverages contain added sugars, which add empty calories to the diet.


Digestion and Absorption of Sugar in Diabetes


After ingesting sugar, the digestive tract breaks it down into simpler sugars, the most common of which is glucose, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream.


The pancreatic hormone insulin is essential for maintaining normal blood sugar levels. The body's cells are able to take glucose from the bloodstream and either use it for energy or store it for later when this process is complete.


When it comes to individuals who do not have diabetes, insulin does a great job of controlling blood sugar levels and avoiding dangerous spikes. However, high blood sugar levels are caused by cells becoming resistant to the effects of insulin (Type 2 diabetes) or by the body not producing enough insulin (Type 1 diabetes).


Few examples of typical foods and drinks that are heavy in added sugars


  • Sugary Beverages: A lot of added sugars are in sodas, fruit juices, energy drinks, and sweetened teas. Even though they are sugary, these drinks don't provide any nutritional value.


  • Processed foods: Many processed foods contain added sugars that are not readily apparent. Things like granola bars, flavored yogurts, breakfast cereals, and condiments like ketchup and salad dressings fall into this category.


  • Baked Goods: Refined carbs and added sugars are common in baked goods like cakes, cookies, pastries, and doughnuts.


  • Confectionery and Sweets: Added sugars abound in candies, chocolates, and other sweets.


  • Restaurant and Fast Food: Sauces, dressings, and marinades are common places to find added sugars in restaurant and fast food dishes.


The Impact of Sugar on Diabetes


Blood sugar spikes


The mechanism behind blood sugar spikes is the rapid breakdown and absorption of sugar into glucose after consumption of sugary foods or drinks. As a result, blood glucose levels spike sharply.


In people who do not have diabetes, the pancreas releases insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels by facilitating glucose absorption by cells.


People who have diabetes have problems with this process, which affects their response. Insulin resistance characterizes Type 1 diabetes. The cells in the body become less sensitive to insulin in people with Type 2 diabetes. Consequently, hyperglycemia sets in and blood glucose levels stay high for a longer time.


Insulin resistance


The term "insulin resistance" refers to a medical condition in which the body's cells stop responding to insulin, leading to an increase in the amount of insulin needed to control blood glucose levels.


In order to keep blood sugar levels normal, the pancreas needs to secrete more insulin if the amount of sugar consumed on a regular basis is high. The pancreas may become overwhelmed and insulin resistance may develop as a result of this.


Insulin resistance is a characteristic of type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar levels occur when cells in the body develop a resistance to insulin, making it difficult for the pancreas to meet the body's insulin needs.


Complications of Diabetes


Some major health problems that can arise from diabetes that is not well controlled and from eating a lot of sugar include:


  • Heart disease: Cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes, is more likely to occur in people with diabetes because high blood sugar damages blood vessels and the nerves that regulate the heart.
  • Neuropathy: Diabetic neuropathy, a condition characterized by widespread nerve damage, can develop when blood sugar levels are consistently high. Pain, tingling, and numbness, especially in the limbs, are symptoms to look out for.
  • Kidney disease: Chronic kidney disease or kidney failure can develop from gradual damage to the kidneys' filtering system, which can happen as a result of long-term high blood sugar levels.
  • Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy, Vision Problems, and Blindness can result from High Blood Sugar damaging the retinal blood vessels.
  • Foot Issues: Infections, ulcers, and severe consequences like amputation can result from poor blood flow and nerve damage in the feet.


People with diabetes would do well to familiarize themselves with the effects of sugar on the disease so that they can control their sugar consumption and thereby avoid dangerous blood sugar spikes, insulin resistance, and other consequences.


Benefits of Reducing Sugar Intake for Diabetes Patients


1. Helps with Maintaining a Healthy Weight


If you stick to the daily recommended amounts for added sugar, you probably won't put on any weight. 


Obesity around the middle is associated with sugar-heavy diets in particular. Belly fat, which is also called visceral fat, surrounds the internal organs of the body. Diabetes and heart disease are among the chronic diseases that are associated with it.


Reduce your consumption of sugary foods and drinks to improve your health in the long run. Fruits, vegetables, carbonated water, and other low-sugar options are good choices. You can control your weight and lose belly fat with this.


2. It aids in blood sugar regulation


Insulin resistance develops when the pancreas secretes an excessive amount of insulin to control blood sugar levels. In the long run, it can cause diabetes type 2 and prediabetes. A higher incidence of type 2 diabetes has been associated with regular consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.


One way to improve insulin sensitivity is to cut back on added sugar, exercise regularly, and eat healthily. Less insulin is needed for glucose absorption by insulin-sensitive cells. If you want to lower your risk of diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels under control, this can help.


3. Supports Heart Wellness


There is indirect and direct evidence linking added sugars to cardiovascular disease. Triglycerides are a form of blood fat, and they tend to be higher in diets where added sugars make up more than 20% of total calories. A higher chance of cardiovascular disease is associated with elevated triglycerides.


A healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride level can be maintained by reducing the consumption of added sugar, even in individuals who are already at a healthy weight. Additionally, this can lower your danger of cardiovascular disease.


4. Promotes Better Dental Health


Bacteria in your mouth can break down sugar into an acid that erodes tooth enamel and causes cavities. Additionally, gum disease can develop when there is an overabundance of bacteria in the mouth.


A person can lessen their likelihood of getting cavities by limiting their daily intake of added sugar to 10% of their total calories.


Maintaining proper dental hygiene is important regardless of your sugar consumption.


  • Using a fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth two times a day
  • Once a day, Floss
  • Scheduling annual dental checkups 


5. Possible Decrease in Depressive Illness Risk


Our mood may be influenced by the food we eat because it influences brain function. Consuming whole grains and fresh produce, for instance, is linked to a reduced risk of depressive symptoms.


Several studies have also found that drinking sugary drinks increases the likelihood of developing depression and depressive symptoms. Nevertheless, there is no correlation between sugar consumption and the risk of depression according to other research. The effects of sugar on mood require further investigation.


6. Could Help Clear Up Acne and Promote Healthy Skin


Inflammation throughout the body and an increase in sebum production (an oily skin substance) are symptoms of consuming an excessive amount of sugar. When sebum production is excessive, acne may develop.


Reducing your intake of added sugar may potentially delay the aging process of your skin. There may be more substances in sugary, fried, or roasted foods that react with your skin's collagen and elastic fibers.


7. Decreases the Chances of Liver Disease


Research has shown a connection between NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease) and an excess of added sugar. These other forms of liver disease have nothing to do with:


  • Alcohol
  • Heavy metal poisoning
  • A viral infection


The breakdown of fructose, an added sugar, is the responsibility of your liver. When fructose, especially from sugary drinks, reaches the liver in excess, it is transformed into fat. Fat storage in the liver can lead to NAFLD in the long run.


But you can lessen your chances of developing liver disease by cutting back on added sugar.


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