Excess intake of sugar plays a vital role in increasing the cholesterol levels of your body. According to a study, consuming sugar can also increase the risks of cardiovascular diseases.
Consuming more added sugar can result in lower “good” cholesterol or HDL levels, and HDL results in taking excess “bad” cholesterol or LDL to the liver.
What You Need to Know About Excess Sugar Intake?
Added sugar is much like any caloric sweetener used in prepared or processed food. However, added sugar doesn’t offer any nutritional value apart from increasing the calorie content. It is essential that men limit their daily sugar consumption to 150 and women restrict it to 100 calories. It makes 9 teaspoons for men and 6 teaspoons for women.
Added sugars are harmful to the body, and it affects in different ways. This includes cakes, desserts, or cookies, and foods made from refined grains such as white rice and bread.
High blood sugar can result in high cholesterol levels, low levels of HDL, and very-low-density lipoprotein. High blood sugar levels can be harmful to the lining of arteries.
Your body can absorb carbohydrates like sugar, and if your blood sugar levels increase, your body reacts by releasing insulin to balance the sugar in the blood. Insulin is an important hormone produced by your body that ensures the sugar is stored in the body for use between meals, and it not only holds the sugar and shifts the body into a storage mode.
When the sugar levels increase in your body, HDL or good cholesterol levels start declining. However, levels of triglycerides, fats that pose cardiovascular risks also increase. Thus, triglycerides and HDL levels are directly linked to the sugar consumption of a person; an increased amount of sugar consumption can lower the HDLs and higher the triglyceride.
Consuming excess added sugar can increase the risk of low HDL levels by three times and increase the chances of heart diseases.
Causes of Cholesterol
High cholesterol can lead to fatty deposits on the blood vessels and walls. These deposits grow with time, and they result in obstruction of the blood flow in the arteries. Sometimes, these deposits can be broken suddenly, forming a clot that may result in a heart stroke or attack.
Some people inherit high cholesterol, however, it can be caused due to unhealthy eating habits or lifestyle in many cases. Thus, one of the best ways to avoid high cholesterol is to follow a healthy lifestyle like good eating habits, taking necessary medication, and regular exercise.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance in the blood that is necessary for building healthy cells. In the meantime, high cholesterol levels can increase the risk of heart diseases and other issues related to the heart. Most of the cholesterol available in the body is produced by the body itself and not obtained from the diet. Thus, maintaining cholesterol isn’t about avoiding cholesterol foods but avoiding foods that help your body make more cholesterol.
Cholesterol travels through the blood that is attached to proteins, and their combination is called lipoproteins.
Symptoms of Cholesterol
However, no determined symptom can show the level of cholesterol in the blood. Still, a higher cholesterol level can also lead to other problems, like angina, high blood pressure, stroke, and circulatory problems. Soft and yellowish growths on the skin can also show a genetic tendency to cholesterol, and they are also known as xanthomas and lesions.
People who are suffering from obesity or diabetes are also known to suffer from high cholesterol. Moreover, arteries affected due to blood cholesterol can also result in impotence in men.
Controlling Your Sugar Intake
WHO recommends consuming no more than 10% of your calories from sugar, or it can be as low as 5% to improve your health. Health experts also suggest that women shouldn’t intake more than 100 calories daily from added sugars, and men shouldn’t intake more than 150 calories.
Learn to know the amount of sugar on food levels. Moreover, sugar isn’t always listed as such on food labels. Ingredients like honey, corn syrup, molasses, malt sugar, corn sweetener, syrup, and any words ending with “ose” like fructose and glucose are perfect examples of added sugars.
You should find valuable substitutes. However, not all sugar substitutes are created equal, and some of them come with their own risks. Stevia is a plant-based sweetener that can be used as a sugar alternative.
Furthermore, you should also monitor your alcohol consumption, saturated fats, and calories; you need to keep track of your sugar consumption. There is nothing wrong with occasional treats, but the effects of sugar can be hard for your heart.
Stay Healthy and Hearty
The best way to limit your sugar intake from added sugars is to reduce the amount of sugar-sweetened drinks, cake, cookies, and candy that you consume. You can live a healthy life by just avoiding some drinks and foods that contain a heavy amount of sugar.
If you have high cholesterol issues, you can limit the amount of sugar intake to improve your diet. Moreover, other ways that are helpful to lower the high cholesterol levels are avoiding saturated fats, getting regular exercise, losing weight if you are overweight, and limiting behaviors like smoking or drinking too much alcohol.
You can satisfy your sugar craving by eating more fruits that are sweetened naturally. Moreover, to help meet your appetite and avoid sugar cravings, you should drink water instead of sweetened beverages like sodas and juices.
Behavioral changes can offer excellent results by reducing cholesterol levels. However, suppose your lifestyle changes aren’t helpful to bring about major changes in your health. In that case, you should consult your doctor and take prescribed medication to keep your cholesterol levels under control.
Amanda Wingfield is a certified Diabetes Management Specialist who also holds an MD in Endocrinology, with certifications from ABIM and AACE. She has a decade of experience serving thousands of patients through her independent practice and has been working in the capacity of an expert diabetes consultant for the past 4 years. Ms. Wingfield is revered by her regular readers for her in-depth research and evidence-based analysis of diabetes medications, supplements, and treatments, and her highly critical style of writing.