Does Consuming Sugar Trigger Diabetes?

If you happen to stay with diabetes (sort 1, sort 2, gestational, or another sort of diabetes), you understand that residing with the situation is rife with myths, misinformation, and particularly stigma.

There’s a stigma about how we’re purported to eat, how a lot we’re purported to eat, what we’re purported to eat, and seemingly greater than ever, questioning if consuming precise sugar has brought on our diabetes.

That is greater than victim-blaming; misinformation about diet usually will be very harmful to folks. However the subject of sugar is a bit more difficult; there are nuances and a focus to element that have to be paid.

This text will examine whether or not or not consuming sugar causes diabetes, the implication of consuming sugar, and how one can incorporate sweets into your life in a wholesome method for those who select to take action. 

Does Consuming Sugar Trigger Diabetes?

What occurs once you eat sugar?

Whenever you eat sugar (which will be known as many issues, however a molecule of sugar is made up of 1 molecule of glucose and one molecule of fructose bonded collectively), it’s launched into your bloodstream. 

This raises blood sugar ranges in folks with and with out diabetes, and (for those who should not have diabetes), it sends a sign to your pancreas to launch insulin to decrease your blood sugar. 

Individuals who have diabetes, in flip, should inject insulin (or take one other treatment) to convey their blood sugar ranges again down. 

Insulin takes glucose out of the bloodstream and into your cells, the place it may be metabolized for power. 

If you happen to eat extra sugar than your physique makes use of for power, the surplus is saved as fatty acids and turns into bodily fats, which causes extra irritation within the physique and may result in weight acquire.

Fructose will be transformed on to fats, with greater intakes resulting in a rise in triglyceride ranges, which may enhance your danger for coronary heart illness and fatty liver illness (suppose high-fructose corn syrup that’s added to many sugar-sweetened drinks). 

Excessive consumption of fructose can also be related to the event of gout, a painful joint situation. 

Along with its addictive qualities, sugar in extra also can trigger complications, greater blood stress, elevated danger of most cancers, and cavities, to not point out the sluggish feeling of lethargy after a sugar spike after which subsequent crash.  

Why is sugar so unhealthy for you? 

Sugar is a naturally-occurring carbohydrate that’s discovered in lots of fruits, dairy, grains, and even greens. Consuming these entire meals that naturally have sugar is ok as a result of they’re additionally filled with nutritional vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants which might be essential for a well-rounded weight loss program. 

These wholesome meals additionally decelerate the digestion of the sugar/carbohydrates, offering a gradual stream of power, with out the crash. In addition they maintain you fuller for longer, as many vegatables and fruits have excessive water content material as effectively. 

The principle difficulty with sugar is when it’s present in processed meals with added sugar. The sugar present in an apple may be very completely different from the sugar present in an ice-cream sundae, and your physique can inform the distinction. 

Within the typical American weight loss program, the highest sources of added sugar are present in tender drinks (soda), fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, desserts, sweet, and different processed meals (even bread often has added sugar!). 

In brief: Individuals are consuming method an excessive amount of added sugar and it’s wreaking havoc on our well being. 

The common American eats round 22.2 teaspoons of added sugar per day! That’s the equal of 355 additional energy. And people energy are empty (don’t have any dietary worth). 

It’s advisable that girls have not more than 100 energy of added sugar per day (6 teaspoons) and males have not more than 150 energy of added sugar (9 teaspoons) per day, however much less is all the time higher as a result of sugar will not be a vital nutrient in any weight loss program. 

Does consuming sugar trigger diabetes?

Consuming sugar (strictly talking) doesn’t immediately trigger diabetes. It doesn’t trigger sort 1 diabetes. It doesn’t trigger sort 2 diabetes. It doesn’t trigger gestational diabetes. It doesn’t trigger LADA or MODY or another sort of diabetes. 

You can not eat too many sweet bars and make your solution to a diabetes prognosis immediately. Regardless of what number of jokes and myths and stigmas abound, sugar doesn’t immediately trigger diabetes. 

Nevertheless, sugar DOES trigger irritation and insulin resistance within the physique, and consuming an extreme quantity of added sugar can result in weight acquire. This weight acquire and insulin resistance, over time, can result in prediabetes, which if left untreated, often does grow to be sort 2 diabetes inside 5-10 years. 

Many research have discovered that consuming sugar-sweetened drinks will increase your danger of creating sort 2 diabetes by at the very least 25%. Consuming only one sugar-sweetened beverage per day (and it doesn’t even have to be soda) will increase your danger of creating sort 2 diabetes by 13%! 

Different, correlative research, have discovered that nations with the very best sugar consumption even have the very best charges of sort 2 diabetes (and with the bottom consumption, the bottom charges). 

These correlative hyperlinks even maintain true when different variables are held fixed, together with whole calorie consumption, train, alcohol consumption, and physique weight. 

Maybe most damaging, the consumption of sugar could disrupt the physique’s naturally-occurring signaling of the hormone leptin, which regulates starvation and lets the mind know the physique is full and sated. This disruption can result in overeating and weight acquire. 

Moreover, since added sugars are largely present in processed meals that don’t have a lot dietary worth, it’s tougher to get full, which makes it extremely simple to overeat. Assume: have you ever ever eaten too many apples? How about cookies? 

It’s essential to recollect, nevertheless, that these research present sugar will increase the chance of creating sort 2 diabetes, however don’t show that sugar certainly causes diabetes. 

No quantity of sugar could cause sort 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune situation not associated to at least one’s metabolic state. 

Tipping the scales to a prognosis 

So there will be no direct line drawn out of your day by day Dr. Pepper behavior to a sort 2 diabetes prognosis, however growing your danger, for those who’re already in a high-risk group for creating sort 2 diabetes, can spell bother. 

The next are danger elements for creating sort 2 diabetes: 

  • Being obese or overweight
  • Have a sedentary way of life
  • Age 45 or older
  • Having a household historical past of sort 2 diabetes
  • Are African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander 
  • Have hypertension
  • Have low HDL or excessive triglycerides 
  • Have a historical past of gestational diabetes or gave delivery to a child over 9 kilos 
  • Have a historical past of coronary heart illness and/or stroke
  • Have melancholy
  • Have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) 
  • Have Acanthosis Nigricans 
  • Have identified prediabetes
  • Have excessive fasting blood glucose ranges 

When you have a number of of those danger elements, you want to watch out with the quantity of added sugar you eat in your weight loss program. 

It might tip the scales into creating insulin resistance and prediabetes, which over time (if left untreated) can grow to be sort 2 diabetes. 

What about synthetic sweeteners? 

Synthetic sweeteners have lengthy been a godsend to the diabetes group: these seemingly magical compounds are man-man, and can’t be metabolized by the human physique, although they will make issues extraordinarily candy. 

This implies you can add issues like Candy N Low, Splenda, or Equal to your espresso, tea, or cereal with out the added must bolus insulin (nor undergo from further energy!). 

Nevertheless, as extra analysis comes out in regards to the unintended penalties of those chemical compounds, researchers warn to be cautious. 

Despite the fact that they don’t technically elevate blood sugar ranges, synthetic sweeteners have been linked with elevated insulin resistance in addition to sort 2 diabetes. The truth is, consuming only one weight loss program soda per day has been discovered to extend the chance of creating sort 2 diabetes by between 25-67%! 

The explanations for this are murky; synthetic sweeteners enhance not solely your tolerance for candy meals however can enhance cravings for them as effectively (versus coaching your style buds to not crave candy issues in any respect). 

Synthetic sweeteners may disrupt correct micro organism formation within the microbiome, resulting in insulin resistance, weight acquire, and the event of prediabetes and diabetes. 

The very best resolution? Go for naturally sugar-free food and drinks, reminiscent of contemporary fruit and seltzer water with lime. 

You may be taught extra about pure and synthetic sweeteners in our information The Greatest Sweeteners for Individuals with Diabetes

The best way to incorporate sweets into your life healthfully 

Whereas no quantity of sugar is “advisable” by professionals, incorporating sweets into your life will be essential to take care of not solely your psychological well being however to take pleasure in life alongside the best way. 

Listed here are some methods to take pleasure in sugar and candy meals and drinks, with out growing your danger for sort 2 diabetes (particularly for those who’re already in a high-risk class for the illness): 

  • Don’t eat greater than the advisable quantity of sugar per day. That is 6 teaspoons per day for girls and 9 for males 
  • Work together with your physician, a registered dietitian, or a nutritionist to formulate a meal plan that can be just right for you
  • Solely eat candy treats often, not daily 
  • Watch your portion sizes 
  • Comply with an entire meals weight loss program, with loads of contemporary vegatables and fruits 
  • Scale back your alcohol consumption
  • Don’t drink your sugar (or energy!); nevertheless, do not forget that artificially-sweetened weight loss program drinks aren’t the best choice, both 


Consuming sugar doesn’t immediately trigger any sort of diabetes. Nevertheless, consuming sugar often in extra can vastly enhance your danger for creating insulin resistance, prediabetes, and finally, sort 2 diabetes. 

Synthetic sweeteners don’t include sugar (nor added energy), so they’re higher for stopping the event of cavities. Nevertheless, they’ve additionally been correlated with the event of weight acquire and kind 2 diabetes. 

Restrict your sugar consumption, and incorporate entire meals, together with a lot of contemporary fruits and low-carb greens, which have naturally-occurring sugars, that pose no threats to your well being. 

Recent fruits, greens, grains, and dairy could include naturally-occurring sugars, however are additionally filled with fiber, nutritional vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a wholesome various to added sugars and synthetic sweeteners. 

Work together with your physician, a registered dietitian, or a nutritionist to make a meal plan that can be just right for you, your way of life, and your well being targets. 

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