A substance that's ruining our lives

It can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, both of which lead to heart disease.

It increases the risk of esophageal cancer, pleural cancer, endometrial cancer and cancer of the small intestine.

It overloads the liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

It increases the risk of kidney disease, gout and dementia.

If you get about 20% of your calories from it, you have a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared with those who get about 10% of their calories from it.

It is the strongest risk factor for diabetes.

It can interfere with the way the body fights disease by causing an increase in bacteria and yeast in the body, thereby increasing chances of infections.

It causes the skin to lose elasticity and leads to premature aging.

It causes gum disease, mood swings, headaches, fatigue, affects cognition in children, increases stress, anxiousness and irritability, and takes the place of important nutrients such as vitamins A, C, B-12, and calcium.

Its long-term over-consumption is linked to metabolic syndrome or MetS. MetS involves a cluster of symptoms (increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels) which, when present together, increase the chances of acquiring a chronic disease, such as diabetes, stroke, heart disease and liver disease.

It is a silent-killer, the harbinger of the largest number of diseases and the leading cause of early death.

Not a food by itself but an important ingredient of modern-day food. It has a sweet and innocent name. It is called added sugar.

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