How Sugar Affects Your Health – 146 Ways





This list of 146 way sugar affects our health – all detrimental – was compiled by Nancy Appleton, PhD from medical journals and other scientific publications. Dr Appleton is a clinical nutritionist and researcher. She is the author of several books, including Lick The Sugar Habit, Stopping Inflammation: Relieving the Cause of Degenerative Diseases, and Suicide by Sugar: A Startling Look at Our #1 National Addiction. Her website is


1. Sugar can suppress the immune system.

2. Sugar upsets the mineral relationships in the body.

3. Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness in children.

4. Sugar can produce a significant rise in triglycerides.

5. Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against bacterial infection (infectious diseases).

6. Sugar causes a loss of tissue elasticity and function, the more sugar you eat the more elasticity and function you loose.

7. Sugar reduces high density lipoproteins.

8. Sugar leads to chromium deficiency.

9 Sugar leads to cancer of the ovaries.

10. Sugar can increase fasting levels of glucose.

11. Sugar causes copper deficiency.

12. Sugar interferes with absorption of calcium and magnesium.

13. Sugar can weaken eyesight.

14. Sugar raises the level of a neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

15. Sugar can cause hypoglycemia.

16. Sugar can produce an acidic digestive tract.

17. Sugar can cause a rapid rise of adrenaline levels in children.

18. Sugar malabsorption is frequent in patients with functional bowel disease.

19. Sugar can cause premature aging.

20. Sugar can lead to alcoholism.

21. Sugar can cause tooth decay.

22. Sugar contributes to obesity

23. High intake of sugar increases the risk of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

24. Sugar can cause changes frequently found in person with gastric or duodenal ulcers.

25. Sugar can cause arthritis.

26. Sugar can cause asthma.

27. Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections).

28. Sugar can cause gallstones.

29. Sugar can cause heart disease.

30. Sugar can cause appendicitis.

31. Sugar can cause multiple sclerosis.

32. Sugar can cause hemorrhoids.

33. Sugar can cause varicose veins.

34. Sugar can elevate glucose and insulin responses in oral contraceptive users.

35. Sugar can lead to periodontal disease.

36. Sugar can contribute to osteoporosis.

37. Sugar contributes to saliva acidity.

38. Sugar can cause a decrease in insulin sensitivity.

39. Sugar can lower the amount of Vitamin E (alpha-Tocopherol in the blood.

40. Sugar can decrease growth hormone.

41. Sugar can increase cholesterol.

42. Sugar can increase the systolic blood pressure.

43. Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity in children.

44. High sugar intake increases advanced glycation end products (AGEs)(Sugar bound non-enzymatically to protein)

45. Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein.

46. Sugar causes food allergies.

47. Sugar can contribute to diabetes.

48. Sugar can cause toxemia during pregnancy.

49. Sugar can contribute to eczema in children.

50. Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease.

51. Sugar can impair the structure of DNA

52. Sugar can change the structure of protein.

53. Sugar can make our skin age by changing the structure of collagen.

54. Sugar can cause cataracts.

55. Sugar can cause emphysema.

56. Sugar can cause atherosclerosis.

57. Sugar can promote an elevation of low density lipoproteins (LDL).

58. High sugar intake can impair the physiological homeostasis of many systems in the body.

59. Sugar lowers the enzymes ability to function.

60. Sugar intake is higher in people with Parkinson’s disease.

61. Sugar can cause a permanent altering the way the proteins act in the body.

62. Sugar can increase the size of the liver by making the liver cells divide.

63. Sugar can increase the amount of liver fat.

64. Sugar can increase kidney size and produce pathological changes in the kidney.

65. Sugar can damage the pancreas.

66. Sugar can increase the body’s fluid retention.

67. Sugar is enemy #1 of the bowel movement.

68. Sugar can cause myopia (nearsightedness).

69. Sugar can compromise the lining of the capillaries.

70. Sugar can make the tendons more brittle.

71. Sugar can cause headaches, including migraine.

72. Sugar plays a role in pancreatic cancer in women.

73. Sugar can adversely affect school children’s grades and cause learning disorders..

74. Sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves.

75. Sugar can cause depression.

76. Sugar increases the risk of gastric cancer.

77. Sugar and cause dyspepsia (indigestion).

78. Sugar can increase your risk of getting gout.

79. Sugar can increase the levels of glucose in an oral glucose tolerance test over the ingestion of complex carbohydrates.

80. Sugar can increase the insulin responses in humans consuming high-sugar diets compared to low sugar diets.

81 High refined sugar diet reduces learning capacity.

82. Sugar can cause less effective functioning of two blood proteins, albumin, and lipoproteins, which may reduce the body’s ability to handle fat and cholesterol.

83. Sugar can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.

84. Sugar can cause platelet adhesiveness.

85. Sugar can cause hormonal imbalance; some hormones become underactive and others become overactive.

86. Sugar can lead to the formation of kidney stones.

87. Sugar can lead to the hypothalamus to become highly sensitive to a large variety of stimuli.

88. Sugar can lead to dizziness.

89. Diets high in sugar can cause free radicals and oxidative stress.

90. High sucrose diets of subjects with peripheral vascular disease significantly increases platelet adhesion.

91. High sugar diet can lead to biliary tract cancer.

92. Sugar feeds cancer.

93. High sugar consumption of pregnant adolescents is associated with a twofold increased risk for delivering a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) infant.

94. High sugar consumption can lead to substantial decrease in gestation duration among adolescents.

95. Sugar slows food’s travel time through the gastrointestinal tract.

96. Sugar increases the concentration of bile acids in stools and bacterial enzymes in the colon. This can modify bile to produce cancer-causing compounds and colon cancer.

97. Sugar increases estradiol (the most potent form of naturally occurring estrogen) in men.

98. Sugar combines and destroys phosphatase, an enzyme, which makes the process of digestion more difficult.

99. Sugar can be a risk factor of gallbladder cancer.

100. Sugar is an addictive substance.

101. Sugar can be intoxicating, similar to alcohol.

102. Sugar can exacerbate PMS.

103. Sugar given to premature babies can affect the amount of carbon dioxide they produce.

104. Decrease in sugar intake can increase emotional stability.

105. The body changes sugar into 2 to 5 times more fat in the bloodstream than it does starch.

106. The rapid absorption of sugar promotes excessive food intake in obese subjects.

107. Sugar can worsen the symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

108. Sugar adversely affects urinary electrolyte composition.

109. Sugar can slow down the ability of the adrenal glands to function.

110. Sugar has the potential of inducing abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual and to promote chronic degenerative diseases.

111.. IVs (intravenous feedings) of sugar water can cut off oxygen to the brain.

112. High sucrose intake could be an important risk factor in lung cancer.

113. Sugar increases the risk of polio.

114. High sugar intake can cause epileptic seizures.

115. Sugar causes high blood pressure in obese people.

116. In Intensive Care Units, limiting sugar saves lives.

117. Sugar may induce cell death.

118. Sugar can increase the amount of food that you eat.

119. In juvenile rehabilitation camps, when children were put on a low sugar diet, there was a 44% drop in antisocial behavior.

120. Sugar can lead to prostate cancer.

121. Sugar dehydrates newborns.

122. Sugar increases the estradiol in young men.

123. Sugar can cause low birth weight babies.

124. Greater consumption of refined sugar is associated with a worse outcome of schizophrenia

125. Sugar can raise homocysteine levels in the blood stream.

126. Sweet food items increase the risk of breast cancer.

127. Sugar is a risk factor in cancer of the small intestine.

128. Sugar may cause laryngeal cancer.

129. Sugar induces salt and water retention.

130. Sugar may contribute to mild memory loss.

131. As sugar increases in the diet of 10 years olds, there is a linear decrease in the intake of many essential nutrients.

132. Sugar can increase the total amount of food consumed.

133. Exposing a newborn to sugar results in a heightened preference for sucrose relative to water at 6 months and 2 years of age.

134. Sugar causes constipation.

135. Sugar causes varicose veins.

136. Sugar can cause brain decay in prediabetic and diabetic women.

137. Sugar can increase the risk of stomach cancer.

138. Sugar can cause metabolic syndrome.

139. Sugar ingestion by pregnant women increases neural tube defects in embryos.

140. Sugar can be a factor in asthma.

141. The higher the sugar consumption the more chances of getting irritable bowel syndrome.

142. Sugar could affect central reward systems.

143. Sugar can cause cancer of the rectum.

144. Sugar can cause endometrial cancer.

145. Sugar can cause renal (kidney) cell carcinoma.

146. Sugar can cause liver tumors.









Many thanks to Dr Beth Forgosh, of Discover Chiropractic of Soho, for bringing Dr Appleton’s list to my attention.



Note added to this post on 12/29/2014:




Suzette Lawrence, MSN, commented that Dr Appleton’s list, above, describes the effects of REFINED sugars:

“This is not the case for natural fruits sugars that are attached to the fiber in the fruit, known as levulose … if absorbed it occurs low in the intestines and is converted to glycogen in the liver and stored there as an emergency energy source.  I agree that the SAD (Standard American Diet) beginning in infancy sets the stage for every disease, and some new ones. Think, GMO beet sugar … ”

From a 2014 article by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America entitled Natural vs. refined sugars – What’s the difference?:

Sugar, in all forms, is a simple carbohydrate that the body converts into glucose and uses for energy. But the effect on the body and your overall health depends on the type of sugar you’re eating, either natural or refined.

We wanted to explore the difference between these sugar types as a follow-up to our post about whether sugar drives the growth of cancer, which has received several comments. We again turned to Julie Baker, Clinical Oncology Dietitian at our hospital outside Atlanta, for her expertise on the issue.

Understanding sugars

Natural sugars are found in fruit as fructose and in dairy products, such as milk and cheese, as lactose. Foods with natural sugar have an important role in the diet of cancer patients and anyone trying to prevent cancer because they provide essential nutrients that keep the body healthy and help prevent disease.

Refined sugar comes from sugar cane or sugar beets, which are processed to extract the sugar. It is typically found as sucrose, which is the combination of glucose and fructose. We use white and brown sugars to sweeten cakes and cookies, coffee, cereal and even fruit. Food manufacturers add chemically produced sugar, typically high-fructose corn syrup, to foods and beverages, including crackers, flavored yogurt, tomato sauce and salad dressing. Low-fat foods are the worst offenders, as manufacturers use sugar to add flavor.

Most of the processed foods we eat add calories and sugar with little nutritional value. In contrast, fruit and unsweetened milk have vitamins and minerals. Milk also has protein and fruit has fiber, both of which keep you feeling full longer.


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77. Yudkin, J. Sweet and Dangerous.(New York:Bantam Books,1974) 129.
78. Ibid, 44
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88. Ibid.
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90. Postgraduate Medicine. Sept 1969:45:602-07.
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94. Ibid.
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96. Ibid.
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97. Yudkin, J. & Eisa, O. Dietary Sucrose and Oestradiol Concentration in Young Men. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism. 1988:32(2):53-55.
98. Lee, A. T. & Cerami A. The Role of Glycation in Aging. Annals of the New York Academy of Science. 1992; 663:63-70.
99. Moerman, C. et al. Dietary Sugar Intake in the Etiology of Gallbladder Tract Cancer. International Journal of Epidemiology. Apr 1993; 22(2):207-214.
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3 thoughts on “How Sugar Affects Your Health – 146 Ways

  1. Can you address the use of stevia and truvia as alternatives to satisfying the ”sweet tooth” cravings? Thank you.

    1. Roberta,
      Some information on stevia and truvia for satisfying “sweet tooth” cravings:

      * From the Mercola Newsletter:

      The Case Against Artificial Sweeteners | Sugar Substitutes…/sugar-substitutes.aspx


      Truvia vs Stevia

      Dr Mercola says:
      Keep in mind though that if you have insulin issues, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or if you’re overweight, you’d be best to avoid all sweeteners, including Stevia, Lo Han and dextrose, since any sweetener can decrease your insulin sensitivity. (Most important of all, remember that this goes for artificial sweeteners too!) If you’re having trouble weaning yourself off sweet foods and beverages, try Turbo Tapping. It’s a clever use of the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), specifically designed to resolve many aspects of an addiction in a concentrated period of time.

      How about using RAW (unprocessed) honey when you feel that overwhelming need for something sweet? Or some fruit? The general idea is to consume as much REAL (unprocessed) and as little processed food as possible.


      BTW, I know from personal experience that cutting back on sweets leads to fewer such cravings – though I certainly can’t say I’ve completely vanquished my cravings for sweets.

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