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Impactof High Concentrated Sugar in Aging and Age-Related Chronic Diseases

Mostchronic diseases that contribute to aging and affects aged people areassociated with our dietary and lifestyle. Taking care of this healthissue takes up a lot of money, hence making it crucial for people towatch what they eat. The topic of the aging process is marred withdebates on factors that affect it. Most studies show that diet ornutrition is a major factor in the aging process and the probabilityof getting chronic diseases at old age. According to Trapenowski etal. (2011) over 60 years of research show that diet restriction hasbeen successful in extending lifestyle of animals. Sugars arecredited with being the type of nutrition that contributes the mostto fast aging and high chances of getting chronic diseases. Studieshave also linked consumption of high sugars to premature aging andlikelihood of getting chronic diseases. Consumption of sugar has beenrising due to availability and affordability of sweeteners full ofsugar (Lustig, Laura &amp Claire 28). This essay will focus onanalyzing the effect of high concentrated sugars in aging as well asage-related chronic diseases.

HighConcentrated Sugar

Peopleare recently becoming more interested in getting information aboutsugars because of how they have been implicated in several healthproblems. There are different categories of sugars which include:naturally occurring sugars, refined sugars, and concentrated sugars.Naturally occurring sugars are those found in fruits or milk.Added/refined sugars are found in table sugar, honey, high-fructosecorn syrup and agave. Concentrated sugar is just like refined sugar,but it is found in many forms and from various sources. Concentratedsugar is derived from refined sugar which is, in turn, got fromnatural sources such as beet and cane. Although most people considerrefined sugars to be the same as added sugars, there is an importantdifference to note. It is not the refining process in the productionof the sugar that matters, but what is added. However, what boththese types have in common is the high concentration of sugars. Themost common sources of high concentrated sugars that we eat on adaily basis include fruit pastries, table sugar, chocolate,non-alcoholic drinks, biscuits, cakes, alcoholic drinks and dairyproducts (Go, Mozaffarian &amp Roger 1).

Atany level of energy intake, extremely high intakes of free sugaroffer a threat to the nutrient quality of the diets that individualstake. Free sugar is found in most diets. This provides a lot ofenergy but does not supply the specific nutrients. This excessiveintake of free sugar is the reason why people gain weight andultimately become obese. Free sugars in small quantities create apositive energy balance in a person’s body. Diets that are limitedto free sugar have been said to lessen total energy intake and henceinduces weight loss. However, soft/energy drinks and other highconcentrated sugar sources that have been mentioned above increasethe overall energy intake through decreasing appetite control.Studies have shown that when energy drinks with a lot of free sugarsare consumed by a person, they increase the energy intake. Therefore,there is a continuous increase in the person’s body weight.

Incidencesof chronic diseases

Inthe United States alone, chronic diseases and health problems areusually attributed to the diet of the people. Over 65% of adults(those aged more than 20 years) in the U.S are either overweight orobese and the approximate number of deaths due to obesity is quotedto be 280,184 in a single year. Over 64 million people in the countryhave some form of cardiovascular disease (CVD). This represents thelargest cause of mortality in the country with an astonishing 38.5 %of all deaths. Over 50 million people in the country arehypersensitive and over 11 million are diagnosed with Type 2diabetes. A further 37 million adults have a high-risk of totalcholesterol concentrations which are over 240 mg/dL. Among women whoare past their menopause and aged over 50 years, 39.6% haveosteopenia, and 7.2% have osteoporosis. Cancer is another form of achronic disease that is the second leading cause of death. It resultsin an estimated 25% of all deaths in the United States. Studies showthat that a third of the cancer deaths are caused by nutritionalfactors that include obesity.

Consumptionof high concentrated sugars

Theconsumption of refined sugars in the U.S as of the year 2000 was 69.1kg as compared to 55.5 kg in the year 1970. This depicts the trend ofhow people have increased their intake of sugars. This trend reflectswhat has been happening all over the world in recent years. Developedcountries are the most affected by this trend. The increase inconsumption of sugar is due to the production of crystalline sucroseproducts. Before this, honey was the only source of high concentratedsugar, but seasonal availability would still have limited the amounttaken by people. All this changed in the late 1970s with theintroduction of chromatographic fructose enrichment technology (Bray220). The technology resulted in an economically feasible manner ofproducing high fructose syrup (HFCS). Since then, there has been anever-increasing usage of HFCS in the food industry. The HFCS in thefood supply is in the form of both fructose and glucose (Stanhope1596).

Thenormal blood glucose level is considered to be less than 110 mg/dL. APaleolithic diet that consists of vegetables (complex carbohydrateslittle amount of whole grains, seeds, nuts lean meats and fritsgenerate an estimated blood glucose level that ranges between 60 to90 mg/dL. It is important to be aware that normal blood sugar of 110mg/dL is not necessarily the optimal one. The optimum blood sugarlevels that people are advised to maintain is 90 mg/dL. At thislevel, an individual optimizes their health and hence wouldexperience a minimal issue such as premature aging or susceptibilityto getting chronic diseases that are age related. People with highlevels of blood sugar are at high risk of getting age-related chronicdiseases such as diabetes, cancer, radical formation, advancedglycation end products (AGEs) and cardiovascular diseases.

Impactof high blood sugar in aging

Thepost-reproductive stage in humans’ lives is characterized byinexorable, progressive reduction in physiological capacity and adiminished capability to respond to environmental stresses. This issimply referred to as the aging process. Most studies have shown thatthere is a direct relationship between consumption of sugar and theaging process. The relationship between sugar and aging is as aresult of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). The AGEs are formedthrough the Maillard reaction (Nagaraj, Mikhail &amp Alan 1205).These are heterogeneous compounds formed when a reducing sugar reactswith amino acids in proteins in a non-enzymatic manner. Recentstudies show that a restriction in the intake of AGEs contributes toslowing down the aging process.

Impactof high blood sugar in diabetes

Dueto the increase in high concentrated sugar consumption over therecent decades, there has been a rise in cases of Type 2 adult onsetdiabetes mellitus (AODM) also referred to as non-insulin dependentdiabetes (NIDDM) (Ley, Hamdy, Mohan &amp Hu 1999). According to theWorld Health Organization (WHO), the number of cases of diabetesmellitus will increase in the next years to come. This type ofdiabetes affects the aged people and is said to have risen by 33% injust the past decade. According to a survey by the Centers forDisease Control and Prevention, in every 50 adults, three areaffected with some form of this diet-related condition with somebeing curable. Diabetes results from insulin imbalance. The pancreasincreases the production of insulin as carbohydrates which producesugar are ingested. The job of insulin is to move the sugar from theblood into cells for metabolism and also convert excess sugar intofats for storage.

Whentoo much sugar is ingested, the pancreas has to work more to produceadequate insulin that is used to normalize the sugar level. Onoverproduction of insulin into the blood usually results in insulinresistance. This reduces the ability of insulin to remove glucosefrom the blood. Ultimately, insulin resistance causes blood sugarlevel to remain high which is the hallmark of diabetes. Foods withhigh levels of sugar, such as wheat and potato, necessitate a highdemand for insulin which may cause hyperinsulinemia. Hyperinsulinemiaincreases the risks and also exacerbates AODM. Insulin levels risewith the increase of sugar intake until the point at which bloodsugar level is normalized. After this, a person would crave sugar andthis is the point they would take snacks such as cakes and biscuitsthat are the sources of high blood sugar. High levels of insulin inthe blood also inhibit release of serotonin which is aneurotransmitter that notifies the brain to stop eating. Withoutserotonin, a person tends to overeat and hence increasing chances ofobesity (Haahr et al. 884).

Impactof high blood sugar in cancer

Researchshows that cancer cells have a different energy metabolism from thatof normal cells. Nobel winner in the field of medicine, Otto Warburg,postulated that cancer cells show an increased anaerobic glycolysiswhich is a process that uses glucose as fuel and gives out lacticacid as a byproduct (Koppenol et al. 325). Normal cells use oxygen asa fuel source. Lactic acid makes the individual suffer from physicalfatigue. As the anaerobic metabolism produces a very little amount ofATP energy, the patient becomes weak and undernourished. Studies showthat sugar increases the chances of developing cancer. The resultsof most of these studies show that the lower the blood glucose levelthe less the likelihood of cancer developing. This depicts thecrucial role that high concentrated sugar plays in tumor-genesis.That is the reason why cancer therapy programs take intoconsideration the low sugar-diet as part of the control of cancer.There are nutritional ways that can be used to prevent the agingprocess. It usually involves consumption of lean meats, fish,vegetables, fruits as well as raw nuts, seeds, and cereal. This dietreduces calories by 30%, increase green leafy vegetables by 60% andmore specifically reduce sugar intake levels by over 90%.

Impactof high blood sugar in radical formation

Studieshave shown that there is a direct link between sugar and formation offree radicals. A study conducted at the University at Buffalo andprinted in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism inthe year 2000, proved that excessive sugar in the blood inspires theproduction of free radicals. People who had fasted for 12 hours weregiven water with 75 grams of glucose. It was determined that they hadan increased free radical formation. This was seen to double as timewent by. Free radicals are known to cause diseases such as dementia,arthritis, cancer and autoimmune disease. Indirectly, excess sugarresults in the formation of free radicals. This sugar is converted tocholesterol and triglycerides in the liver. When generating energy,the cholesterol and fatty acids lead to the formation of radicals(Fernandez et al. 3125). These free radicals hinder the utilizationof glucose by the muscles.

Impactof high blood sugar in AGEs

Thetheory of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that shows therelationship between sugar and aging has been around for a long time.It is common knowledge that individuals who suffer from diabetes dieprematurely. AGEs are formed when blood sugar is attached to proteinsin the tissues of a person’s body. They have a lot of negativeimpacts including thickened arteries, feeble muscles, stiff joints,and failing organs. This disease is age-related and is very commonamong the old people. People with diabetes have numerous cases ofartery, nerve and kidney damages due to the high blood sugar levelsthat hasten the chemical reactions that result in the formation ofAGEs. This simply means that sugar accelerates aging.

Impactof high blood sugar in cardiovascular disease

Betweenthe years of 1910 to 1970s, coronary heart diseases rose from alittle-known disease to a reputable deadly disease. There areincreased cases of cardiovascular diseases corresponding to theincrease in sugar consumption. Coronary artery diseases ensued from1912 after the development of cola and the introduction of mills toproduce flour. This shows that this type of disease is directlyrelated to sugar consumption. Sugars are the source of hightriglycerides as well as low-density lipoproteins (LDL), which areindependent risk factors for causing atherosclerosis. Sugar dropsgood HDL cholesterol and increases bad LDL and the levels of bloodpressure. Previously, it was thought that cholesterol and fat in theblood were the cause of cardiovascular diseases, but research hasshown that this is not true. The concept that sugar is the leadingcause of cardiovascular diseases is rapidly gaining acceptance bymost people.

Conclusion

Sugaris credited to contribute to most diseases. It is the leadingcontributor to age-related diseases that affects the elderly. Infact, it is said that a person runs a greater risk by ingesting highconcentrated sugar than a person who smokes. The essay has shown howsugar increases the risk of a person getting cancer, diabetes,cardiovascular diseases, and radical formation. Therefore, people areadvised to reduce their consumption of high concentrated sugars tobetter their health. An aggressive reduction in sugar intake is alsoadvisable, especially for members of a family with a history ofcancer or diabetes. Reduction of sugar intake is also important forpeople who want to live a longer life as the essay has shown howsugar also plays a great role in aging of people. Addressing dietaryguidelines and specifically reducing the consumption of highconcentrated sugar will help people in the prevention of age-relateddiseases that the paper has discussed.

WorksCited

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