The Malta Independent 24 September 2021, Friday

St Margaret College Verdala School students raise awareness on risks of extra sugar

Tuesday, 19 November 2019, 11:57 Last update: about 3 years ago

Decelis Luca, Zammit Kaylon, Knaan Gaze and Bonnici Raiza

During the last week of October, a group of Applied Science CCP students launched a project to create awareness about the risks of extra sugars in our daily diets. Coordinated by their Science teacher Martin Azzopardi sdc, students found that extra sugar in our daily diets has many negative health effects.

Nowadays many people rely on processed foods for meals and snacks but these products very often contain many added sugar. Every 4grams of sugar amounts to one teaspoon of sugar - so one must start to notice the amount of sugar in every packet or tin of food that is purchased.

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According to healthline.com, scientists say that extra sugar consumption in our daily diets is the major cause of obesity and many chronic diseases. Extra sugar can cause:

1.                   Obesity: too much added sugar in our daily diets increases the risk of weight gain and fats in our bodies.

2.                   Heart disease: too much added sugar increases the risk for heart disease factors such as obesity, high blood pressure and inflammation.

3.                   Acne problem: High-sugar diets can increase in our bodies' androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation which can increase the chance of developing acne.

4.                   Type 2 Diabetes: A high-sugar diet may lead to obesity and insulin resistance (a hormone produced by the pancreas that regulates blood sugar levels), both of which are risk factors for type 2 diabetes.

5.                   Cancer: Too much sugar can lead to obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation, all of which are risk factors for cancer, mostly oesophageal cancer, pleural cancer and cancer of the small intestine.

6.                   Depression: Too much added sugar and processed foods may increase depression risk in both men and women. Scientific research has shown that people who consumed 67 grams or more of sugar per day were 23% more likely to develop depression than other people who ate less than 40 grams per day.

7.                   Accelerate skin ageing: Sugary foods can increase the production of AGEs (Advanced glycation end products), which can accelerate skin aging and wrinkle formation. In fact AGEs damage collagen and elastin, which are proteins that help the skin stretch and keep its beauty.

8.                   Fatty liver: The two main monosaccharides are glucose and fructose. Glucose is taken up by many cells throughout the body but fructose overloads the liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), characterised by excessive fat build-up in the liver.

9.                   Dementia: High-sugar diets can worsen the cognitive decline and increase the risk of dementia.

10.                Kidney disease: Consistently high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels of the kidneys and lead to an increased risk of kidney disease.

So keep a food diary and be more aware of the main sources of sugar in your daily diet. Try to prepare your own healthy meals at home and avoid buying foods and drinks that are high in added sugar. Avoid alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soda, juice, honey and sugar - eat more whole, unprocessed foods.

 

The authors are students at St Margaret College Secondary School, Verdala, Cospicua

 


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