does sugar cause diabetes

Relation Between Sugar Consumption & Diabetes

Be it candies or cakes, chocolates or sugary drinks, people love consuming food and beverages high in sugar. But does eating sugar cause diabetes? It is a question most are interested to find out. If you’re a sugar lover and want to know more about whether eating sugar causes diabetes or not, this article is for you. Make sure you definitely read till the end to get all your sugar diabetes-related queries solved.

Sugar and Diabetes

As diabetes is a condition characterized by elevated concentrations of blood sugar, many people ask if eating sugar may trigger it. Although eating huge amounts of sugar could increase the risk of developing diabetes, sugar consumption is only one component of the puzzle. Numerous other factors -- such as lifestyle, diet, and genetics, affect your risk.

What is Diabetes and Its Causes?

It is a condition wherein the body's ability to control your blood sugar level is diminished. It could occur when the pancreas stops making enough insulin, and your cells develop intolerance toward the produced insulin. Insulin is the primary hormone used for sugar absorption from your bloodstream into your cells in the form of energy. 

Blood sugar levels that are high for a prolonged period could cause complications, such as the increased risk of developing heart disease, kidney and nerve damage; therefore, it is essential to ensure they are in good order.

There are prime forms of diabetes, each having distinct causes:

Type 1: Occurs as your immune system attacks your pancreas, which destroys its ability to make insulin.

Type 2: Occurs when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin to manage blood sugar levels.

Type 1 sugar diabetes is rare, primarily genetic, and is only responsible for 5-10 % of all cases of diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes is responsible for greater than 90% of all diabetes cases and is usually triggered by lifestyle and diet

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Does Eating Sugar Cause Diabetes?

We know that there are 2 type of diabetes - type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Eating or consuming sugar does not cause type 1 diabetes, nor is it caused by your lifestyle changes. In type 1 diabetes, the insulin producing cells in your pancreas are destroyed by your immune system. We know that sugar doesn’t directly cause type 2 diabetes, you are more likely to get it if you are overweight. Numerous studies have revealed that those who drink beverages with sugar content have around a 25% higher risk of developing Type 2 sugar diabetes. In fact, the countries in which sugar consumption is high have the highest levels of type 2 diabetes. In contrast, those with the lowest sugar consumption have the lowest rates.

Many studies suggest that diabetes is a risk factor for sugar, both directly and indirectly. However, these studies cannot establish that diabetes is caused by sugar, but the link is pretty strong. The connection between sugar intake and diabetes remains even after adjusting for total calories consumed, body weight, and alcohol consumption. 

It can directly increase risk due to the effect the fructose compound has upon your liver, such as increasing inflammation, fatty liver, and localized insulin resistance. These conditions can trigger the production of insulin in your pancreas, which can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Sugar consumption in large quantities can increase the risk of developing diabetes through weight increase and an increase in body fat levels -- both of which are risk factors for the development of diabetes. Additionally, animal studies suggest that overeating sugar could interfere with the signaling process of leptin, which is a hormone responsible for feelings of fullness. It could lead to overeating and weight growth.

To minimize the adverse effects of consuming a lot of sugar, the WHO suggests limiting your intake to no more than 10 % of your calories from sugars that aren't naturally present in your food.

Sugar Intake Recommendations

Now that your ‘does eating sugar cause diabetes’ question got answered, it’s time to check the daily recommended sugar consumption. The body requires glucose for its functioning. Sugar is abundantly present in foods and therefore is difficult to eliminate. There is, however, no such reason to add more sugar to meals or snacks.

  1. Candy, sweetened sodas, and processed food items are especially hazardous.
  2. Instead of focusing solely on one particular type of sugar like high fructose corn syrup, the AHA recommends restricting the use of all sugars added.
  3. Limiting the amount of sugar consumed to under 10 % of daily calories is another way to check sugar consumption. It will prevent excessive sugar consumption regardless of the calories one needs.
  4. The American Heart Association (AHA) has earlier recommended the following guidelines on the amount of added sugars consumed every day:
  • For the typical man: No more than nine teaspoons, or 36 grams which is 150 calories.
  • For a woman of average weight: No more than 6 teaspoons, 25 grams which is 100 calories of sugar.

Instead of focusing solely on one particular type of sugar like high fructose corn syrup, the AHA recommends restricting the use of all sugars added.

Limiting the amount of sugar consumed to under 10 % of daily calories is another way to check sugar consumption. It will prevent excessive sugar consumption regardless of the calories one needs.

Other Sugar-related Health Risks

While the relationship between diabetes and sugar isn't apparent, the relationship between sugar and health issues is undoubtedly clear. People who got more than 25 % energy intake from sugar are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease than those who eat less than 10 % of their daily calories. Diabetes can increase the chance of CVD, and so those with the condition need to be aware of their sugar consumption.

Other dangers that are associated with eating excessive sugar are:

  • liver disease, which includes non-alcoholic fat liver disease
  • cancer
  • hormone changes
  • high cholesterol
  • Weight increase and weight gain and
  • chronic illnesses, including polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • persistent swelling and the immune system's dysfunction
  • tooth decay

Alternatives to Sugar

If you're thinking of adding some sweetness to your favorite drinks or foods, you might want to think carefully about the sweetener that you are using. If you’re wondering is jaggery good for diabetes, is palm sugar good for diabetes or is coconut sugar good for diabetes, we’ve got the answers. 

The majority of Americans consume a lot of added sugar in the form of refined sweeteners such as white sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). These sweeteners are frequently added to drinks with sweetened drinks, sugary cereals, sweet snacks, and even desserts. Although sweets can be delicious, overeating sugar can have hurt your overall health.

For instance, diets high in sugar added are associated with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, overweight, and fatty liver disease. Hence to help you cut down on refined sugar, we’ve listed the best alternative to sugar below:

  • Stevia
  • Dates
  • Honey
  • Sugar Alcohols
  • Apple Sauce & Other Fruit Purees
  • Maple Syrup
  • Allulose
  • Molasses
  • Yacon Syrup
  • Monk Fruit Sweetener


Is invert sugar good for diabetes? Can I have sugary sodas regularly? If you had similar questions in mind, they probably got answered by now. As you may have heard, anything in excess is bad, and the same goes for consuming sugar. If you love consuming sugar, make sure you consume it within the range mentioned in this article to stay healthier and safer from diabetes.


Can you get diabetes from sugary foods?

Though sugar is indirectly responsible for diabetes, it is not the only reason behind the lifestyle disorder. Moreover, sugar consumption within the permissible limit doesn’t account for diabetes risk.

Is palm sugar good for diabetics?

Palm sugar has a low GCI, meaning it’s less likely to cause a blood sugar spike. Although research is going on, some studies suggest it is suitable as a sugar alternative. 

Is coconut sugar good for diabetics?

The glycemic index in coconut does not rise beyond 35, meaning it doesn’t cause the blood sugar to spike and crash. So people with diabetes can have coconut sugar.

Which foods cause diabetes?

Food is not the primary reason behind having diabetes, many other factors like lifestyle, genetics, etc. play a huge role in increasing the risk of a person getting diagnosed with diabetes. Although having foods that have excessive sugar content makes you prone to diabetes. Foods like sugary beverages, sweeteners like sugar, maple syrup, processed food like chips, biscuits, instant meals, trans fat food like fried items, dairy items, etc. can make the person taking these at a higher risk to get diabetes. In short, food that is high in carbohydrates can cause diabetes.

Why does sugar cause diabetes?

Having an ample amount of sugar daily increases your risk of getting diabetes. As per the studies, too much sugar intake makes a person prone to type 2 diabetes. The fructose compound present in sugar has bad effects on your liver like inflammation, insulin resistance, etc. These effects hamper the production of insulin as they tend to make the pancreas non-functional which increases your risk of having type 2 diabetes. Sugar also increases your body weight and fat levels which can again cause diabetes.

How much sugar causes diabetes?

Diabetes doesn't need to be caused entirely due to sugar. Type 1 diabetes is caused due to many reasons. Having some amount of sugar won’t affect your health to a larger extent but if your sugar level is beyond 600 milligrams per deciliter then you are ought to be diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. Luckily, if your sugar levels are controlled then you can have up to 25g of sugar daily.

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