Too Much Sugar May Increase Macular Degeneration Risk

Too Much Sugar May Increase Macular Degeneration Risk

Modern dietary choices have long ago surpassed the whole food benefits of ancient to pre-Industrial Revolution nourishment choices. During this time period, humans ate primarily organic meals, snacks and beverages due to the fact that pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and many other chemical manipulations were not invented yet. Plus, the processed packaging, aesthetic exploitation, and advertising misguidance of food was also not a factor during this time. As a result, today we are experiencing such an influx of conditions and diseases linked to blind dietary habits that there are just as many television commercials advertising pharmaceuticals as there are for actual food. 

One major player acting as an accumulated disease vector is the constant consumption of processed sugar. The disconcerting thing is that processed sugar is in almost everything you eat. It is presented as the obvious in such foods as candy, cakes and cookies but is also formed from eating carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, and white pasta. “White” is the key word here as this means most foods are stripped of nutritional value simply to make them look more appetizing to eat. This is the aesthetic exploitation mentioned above. Package that in commercials and other advertising as something wholesome and “comforting” and you are easily tricked into a diet that can often lead to illness. This is the case with new studies showing the link  between how eating too much sugar may increase macular degeneration risk. 

It’s A Waste

The biological process your cells go through to break down and store processed sugar can be taxing in and of itself. Overall, when processed sugar is chronically consumed there is an enormous amount of cellular waste that is formed and sent roaming through your system as ‘free radicals’. These are dangerous toxins that can cause anything from inflammation to compromised oxygenation. This process and strains on other organs from sugar metabolization can also lead to cancer. 

According to research found in the Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition as reported by Science Direct, 

“The high fructose corn syrup and other refined sugars are the major cancer-causing food. The brown sugar is highly refined sugar with the removed molasses added back in it for flavor and color. Refined sugars and foods prepared with them lead to major insulin spikes. The sugar is the best feed for the growth of cancer cells.”

By consuming less refined sugars and more sugar from whole foods, your body will process sugar intake slower and with more efficiency reducing excess waste. Less cellular waste means less free radicals which can certainly reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration.

Inflammation Risk

Another response your body may have to continued sugar consumption is the development of excessive cytokines (“sigh-toe-keens”). Cytokines are important cell signaling transmitters but when over developed can create a ‘cytokine storm’ and result in significant inflammation

The Arthritis cites the danger of sugar induced inflammation, 

“…the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition warns that processed sugars trigger the release of inflammatory messengers called cytokines. Sugar goes by many names so look out for any word ending in “ose,” e.g. fructose or sucrose on ingredient labels.”

Inflammation is particularly associated with joint pain but what many do not realize is how inflammation can compromise sight. 

A Tufts University study reported by Yahoo Life describes the degenerating process, 

“Consuming excess sugar can also leave us in danger of age-related conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and age-related macular degeneration—an eye disease that causes loss of vision.

Here’s how it works: there’s a protein, p62, that serves an essential role in keeping our cells healthy. It’s basically part of our body’s sanitation team, clearing away harmful byproducts of high-sugar diets called advanced glycation end products, abbreviated AGEs—a fitting shorthand, since AGEs are associated with age-related cell damage.

The less p62 we have, the more these harmful AGEs accumulate. Plus, not only does eating a lot of sugar cause these harmful AGEs to build up in your body—it can also compromise p62’s functions. In short, it’s a lose-lose situation. Sugar both increases the amount of toxins and hurts the mechanisms that our bodies use to protect us from them.”

More Links to Sugar and AMD

As with many diseases, it takes time to form, grow, and damage. Seemingly harmless “sugar addictions” like ice cream, chocolate, and soda may someday take a toll. Add in the constant obsession for carbohydrates like refined flour bread and a long list of indications towards age-related macular degeneration (AMD) could occur. 

Dr. Allen Taylor, director at the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston cites some bullet points of sugar and macular degeneration (as corroborated through lateral research by Professor Paul Mitchell in Australia), 

  • Dr. Taylor found a “significant association between sugar intake and the risk for the development for large drusen [usually small lipids and proteins that can play a role in compromising sight] .”
  • He found that those who consume a ‘typical American diet’ high in fats and sugar have a ‘much greater risk for macular degeneration’ than those who consume more fruits, vegetables, and fish, such as those that are found in the Mediterranean Diet.
  • Ingesting sugars can be harmful because they result in the production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs promote inflammation. Excessive intake of sugars has also been linked “not only to AMD, but also to other diseases promoted by inflammation, including cancer, heart disease, and arthritis.”
  • A high sugar diet can significantly change our gut biome (gut bacteria), which has an effect on our overall health. Our gut biome refers to the bacteria, fungi, and viruses living in our gastrointestinal systems. These changes caused by sugar intake can negatively influence diseases like AMD.

Be mindful of your diet, especially your refined sugar intake. By eating less processed sugars and more whole foods you could significantly reduce your risk of macular degeneration.