It’s common knowledge that eating too much sugar is bad for the body; however, many people don’t realize just how it affects internal organs and bodily functions. Award-winning naturopath Dr. Juli Mazi regularly treats individuals with chronic health problems caused or exacerbated by excess sugar intake, and she offers a comprehensive overview of how sugar wreaks havoc in the body.
She explains that sugar poses a huge risk to heart health, noting that a 2014 study found that those who get anywhere from 17% to 21% of their calories from sugar have a 38% higher risk of dying from heart disease than those who only get 8% of their caloric intake from sugar. Furthermore, sugar contributes to a host of other health problems that can put a strain on heart health, including chronic inflammation, obesity, and high blood pressure. However, while heart health has gotten a lot of attention from medical professionals, Dr. Mazi explains that sugar’s effect on the liver is also worth close attention. The liver plays an integral role in internal health by detoxifying the body, processing medications, storing cellular energy, synthesizing proteins, helping the body digest fats and oils, and keeping the immune system functioning properly. Excess sugar intake causes fatty liver disease that, in turn, increases one’s risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Another way in which excess sugar wreaks havoc on the body is by triggering neuroadaptations in the brain’s reward system. Put simply, the more one eats, the more he or she wants. She explains that the brain is unable to recognize that its addiction to sugar is not connected to the body’s needs for regular food intake, making it almost impossible for many people to maintain a healthy diet. Unfortunately, sugar can be found not only in sweet treats but also in a host of savory foods, especially processed dishes, so those who are addicted to sugar often feel the urge to eat far more than they should at mealtimes as well as throughout the day.
Excess sugar intake also affects mental health, she explains. Health problems put a strain on the mind, causing stress and anxiety that can exacerbate compulsive eating problems. Too much sugar intake, especially in the evening, can make it hard to sleep at night. Insomnia, in turn, can lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and stress. Furthermore, failure to get enough sleep at night also affects cognitive performance during the day, making it hard for a person to work or study.
Medical professionals know that sugar poses a huge threat to human health; unfortunately, many prescribe conventional medications that treat the symptoms of excessive sugar intake rather than dealing with the root of the problem. Dr. Juli Mazi ND, on the other hand, offers holistic health care, often in partnership with other medical professionals, to help individuals make life changes that promote long-term health and wellbeing. She encourages individuals to honestly assess their sugar intake and take measures to lower it in order to enjoy life to the full for as long as possible.