How Sugar Harms the Body’s Organs

There’s no way to deny it – the United States has a major sweet tooth. Consider that Americans are estimated to consume 17 teaspoons of sugar each day. Aside from making your waistline thicker, all that sugar can prove dangerous to your organs.

Packing on the Weight

A 2020 study found that sugar-rich diets could lead to the accumulation of fat around the heart and stomach. A collaborative effort between the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and Vanderbilt University Medical Center, this report analyzed the sugar consumption habits of more than 3,000 young adults, aged 18 to 30. Over a period spanning more than two decades, the authors took three measurements of the participants’ sugar intake.

Twenty five years after the onset of the study, the authors documented the fat volumes around the subjects’ heart and abdominal areas. This was accomplished with the use of CT scans. For those with a sugar-heavy diet, the news was not encouraging; the amounts of organ-adjacent fat were higher among those who consumed greater amounts of sugary foods and drinks.

You Are What You Eat

“When we consume too much sugar the excess is converted to fat and stored,” stated So Yun Yi, one of the authors of the report. “This fat tissue located around the heart and in the abdomen releases chemicals into the body which can be harmful to health. Our results support limiting added sugar intake.”

Yi’s comments were echoed by another contributor to the study, Dr Lyn Steffen. “Our findings provide more evidence that consuming too much added sugar and sugary drinks is related to a higher amount of fat tissue. “And, we know that fat deposits are connected with higher risks of heart disease and diabetes.”

The study was published in June 2020 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. In light of their findings, the authors urge shoppers to replace sugary drinks with water, and to carefully scrutinize nutritional labels before buying food products. Ingredients such as syrup, glucose, fructose, sucrose and maltose all qualify as added sugars, and are found in a wide range of items.

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