Thursday, April 15

How sugar damages the immune system, according to science

Believe it or not, there are even more reasons to reduce sugar consumption. In recent months, much has been said about the devastating consequences it brings to health and of course to body weight. The truth is that we currently have numerous studies and research papers, led by the most prestigious scientists, in which we are warned about the side effects that excessive consumption of sugar brings.

The first thing we have to understand is that table sugar is made up of two molecules: glucose and fructose. Fructose occurs naturally in honey and in small amounts in various fruits and vegetables (pumpkin, beets, sugar cane, and corn, to name a few). It has a sweeter taste than glucose, which is why it is used in the preparation of high fructose corn syrup and in various processed foods.

The excessive consumption of sugar has become much more evident and worrisome with the lifestyle of modern society. In fact, according to information revealed by Harvard Health, hUntil the early 1900s, the average American used about 15 grams of fructose per day, and this intake was not so alarming since it was obtained mainly through the consumption of fruits and vegetables. However currently the number has skyrocketed and it is estimated that the average person consume around 55 grams of fructose per day.

What draws the attention of the experts is that it has been proven that fructose can be even more harmful than glucose. The latest research supports these claims. Such is the case of a new study published in the magazine Nature Communications found that fructose can increase inflammation, which was linked to negative effects even on the functioning of the immune system. At the same time, inflammation, when it becomes chronic, is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases. It should be mentioned that this does not mean that research suggests that people should stop eating fruits, rather it is essential reduce consumption of high fructose corn syrup found in popular beverages and foods. Based on this, we set about compiling the list of the main negative effects caused by the excessive presence of fructose in the body.

1. Inflammation

As we mentioned before the inflammation it is one of the most devastating consequences of fructose. In fact, it has been shown that one type of white blood cells called monocytes they become more inflamed when grown in fructose. This means that when they are in an environment rich in fructose, instead of glucose, they produce more proteins associated with inflammation calls cytokines. In summary, fructose can cause cells in the body to become inflamed and this type of inflammation is associated with cell and tissue damage, which damages the functioning of the main systems that keep the body working.

Donuts with sugar. / Photo: Pexels

2. Significant damage to the immune system

The quality of the diet is directly related to the strength of the immune system. According a recent study of the year 2019; dendritic cells, which are considered a critical factor in the immune response, they also become inflamed when exposed to fructose rather than when exposed to glucose. This simple fact impairs the optimal functioning of the body’s defenses and makes us more likely to suffer diseases and infections, caused by viruses and bacteria.

Cupcakes. /Foto: Pixabay

3. Obesity

Of course, the risk of gaining weight and thus reaching obesity is one of the most obvious consequences of excessive sugar consumption. What happens is that tAll cells can metabolize glucose, but only the liver can break down fructose in great quantities. Therefore, when we follow a diet in which too much fructose is consumed on a recurring basis, the liver turns it into fat, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. In fact it has A study in which the connection between fructose and inflammation is verified, so this point could also explain the link between fructose and obesityas chronic low-grade inflammation is also associated with obesity.

Sugar and weight gain / Photo: Shutterstock

4. Increased risk of type 2 diabetes

It is simple when consumed large amounts of fructose, the risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes is automatically increased. Specifically, there are various investigations that support it, such is the case of A study in which they found that drinking fructose-sweetened beverages (such as soda) can decrease insulin sensitivity, which is a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes. It is well known that one of the more forceful health recommendations, is to avoid the consumption of soft drinks; they increase the risk of obesity, diabetes, alter mood and affect physical and mental performance (among another long list of devastating effects).

Soft drink
Refreshment. / Photo: Pixabay

5. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a condition that is associated with increased obesity and type 2 diabetes. This condition develops when the liver produces too much fat or does not break down fat efficiently enough. According an article From research published in 2018, evidence suggests that fatty liver disease is related to fructose consumption, which causes fat to accumulate in the liver when it is broken down. Therefore it has been found that reducing fructose intake, it can be a significant change in eating habits in preventing the accumulation of fat in the liver and therefore liver function is improved.

AzĂșcar./Foto: Shutterstock

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