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Can eating too much sugar cause diabetes?

sugar and diabetes

Since diabetes is a disease characterized by high blood sugar levels, many people wonder whether eating sugar can cause it. Diabetes occurs when the amount of blood glucose — the main form of energy your body uses, which comes from food — in your body is too high.

  • Type 1 diabetes – Your body does not make insulin. This is a problem because you need insulin to take the sugar (glucose) from the foods you eat and turn it into energy for your body. You need to take insulin every day to live.
  • Type 2 diabetes – Your body does not make or use insulin well. You may need to take pills or insulin to help control your diabetes. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.

How Sugar Is Metabolized

Sugar metabolism is the process of turning the energy from the foods you eat into fuel your body’s cells need to grow and function. If you have diabetes, you have a problem with insulin, which is an important hormone in sugar metabolism.

Dietary sugars are absorbed in the hepatic portal circulation as glucose, fructose, or galactose. The gut and liver are required to process fructose and galactose into glucose, lactate, and fatty acids. A high sugar intake may favor the development of cardio-metabolic diseases by inducing Insulin resistance and increased concentrations of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins.

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Within the category of added sugars, HFCS, in particular, has caused a major public outcry, with many groups claiming that it’s more dangerous than table sugar. Opponents are concerned that the syrup is artificial, unnatural, and highly processed, and they also worry that the fructose in HFCS may be harmful.

Healthy, balanced diet and diabetes :

Eating well and maintaining a moderate weight can be important for your health. But if you have diabetes, excess weight may make it harder to manage your blood sugar levels and may increase your risk of some complications. Losing weight can be extra challenging for people with diabetes. 

Many factors can affect a food’s glycemic index, including the following:

  • Fat content and acid content

High-fiber foods don’t contain as many digestible carbohydrates, so it slows the rate of digestion and causes a more gradual and lower rise in blood sugar.

  • Fiber content

Ripe fruits and vegetables tend to have a higher glycemic index than unripened fruit.

  • Physical form

Grains that have been milled and refined—removing the bran and the germ—have a higher glycemic index than minimally processed whole grains.

  • Processing
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Finely ground grain is more rapidly digested than coarsely ground grain. This is why eating whole grains in their “whole form” like brown rice or oats can be healthier than eating highly processed whole grain bread.

Natural Sugars Don’t Have the Same Effect

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.

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. Blood sugar is most heavily influenced by carbohydrates, which are found in everything from fruits and potatoes to bread, sweets, and soda.

During digestion, carbs are broken down into glucose and released into your bloodstream. That’s a good thing: glucose is our body’s main source of energy. Your body cells must have the energy to function, but that same glucose can be toxic at high levels in your blood.

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Cancer connection

Our diet plays a big role in our overall health. We know eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is good for us while eating too many sugary foods is not. But does sugar have the ability to cause cancer?


Your body’s cells use sugar to keep your vital organs functioning,” says Erma Levy, a research dietitian in Behavioral Science. “But too much daily sugar can cause weight gain. And, unhealthy weight gain and a lack of exercise can increase your cancer risks.”

The bottom line is that eating sugar in moderation as part of a healthy diet does not cause cancer. However, eating excessive sugar can contribute to an unhealthy dietary pattern or obesity.