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Reasons why Sugar Causes Type-2 Diabetes

Updated on December 23, 2016

Causes of diabetes

Diabetes is no respecter of persons or races, being prevalent in many regions of the world. Data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) shows that India is home to the most diabetes population with 35 million people (8% of adult population). China is next with 2.7% of her adult population suffering from the disease.

In the United States of America, about one-third (100m) of the entire population suffers from either diabetes or pre-diabetes. In sub-Saharan Africa, the number is 7million and is likely to increase to 15 million by 2025. In this post, we will examine whether eating too much sugar causes diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Before we delve into the topic in this post, we would first of all know what diabetes is. So what is diabetes? Diabetes, also known as sugar disease, is a disease related to the level of sugar in the human blood. It comes in two types: type-1 diabetes and type-2 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes

Type-1 diabetes is when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin (a hormone that regulates sugar levels in the blood), leading to too much glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood. Insulin regulates sugar levels in the blood by transporting the sugar to various cells in the body that use it for energy, which helps them to function; this ensures that at any point in time sugar in the blood is not in excess.

When the sugar levels of the blood are in excess for a long period of time, it leads to complications including but not limited to: teeth and gum infections, bone and joint problems, heart disease, kidney damage, blindness and starving cells. Viruses, heavy metals, vaccines and certain foods are things that cause damage to the cells of the pancreatic. This leads to a reduced ability or total inability to produce insulin. Type-1 diabetes often affects children and young adults.

Type-2 diabetes

On the other hand, type-2 diabetes is when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, not because its insulin-producing cells were damaged by viruses, heavy metals, vaccines and certain foods, but because they were worn-out due to the overproduction of insulin.

Insulin transports glucose to the cells of the body by sending them a signal. In type-2 diabetes, the cells ignore the insulin’s signal and reject the glucose, leading to increased glucose/sugar levels in the blood.

In response, the pancreas produces more insulin; something that happens until it becomes tired of insulin production. This condition, in the long term, gives us complications similar to those of type-1 diabetes. Type-2 diabetes affects mostly adults.

Does eating too much sugar cause diabetes?

The answer to this question depends on the type of sugar and the type of diabetes in question. Given its cause, there’s no way that eating too much sugar causes type-1 diabetes. To start with, the pancreas isn’t producing insulin; this could be hereditary or due to some non-sugar related cause. On the other hand, type-2 diabetes could be caused by too much sugar intake.

Sugar refers to any sweet-tasting carbohydrates. It can be classified into 2 groups: natural sugar and added or free sugar. Natural sugar is that which is found in fruits, vegetables, diary and other natural sources. Some examples of natural sugar are fructose in apples and lactose in milk.

Added or free sugar, on the other hand, is that which has been extracted from its natural source, so that it’s in no food and it’s just by itself. Examples of added or free sugars are fructose extracted from an apple and sugar extracted from sugarcane.

Natural sugar does not cause diabetes

Natural sugar doesn’t cause type-2 diabetes because it is usually encased in some form of fiber. The fiber serves two purposes: first is to prevent you from eating too much of the sugar, by filling you up faster. Second is to slow down the digestion of the sugar. That way, the sugar isn’t absorbed too quickly into the bloodstream, thereby preventing substantial weight gain over time. When the body is not overweight, the cells absorb the sugar and produce energy with it normally. Ultimately, the pancreas is saved from overproducing insulin, thereby preventing its complete shutdown.

Added sugar causes type-2 diabetes

On the contrary, added or free sugar can cause type-2 diabetes because it’s not encased in any form of fiber. This means that you are likely to overeat it, as there’s nothing to indicate to you that you’ve had enough. Moreover, once overeaten, it is digested and absorbed rather quickly into the bloodstream.

When there’s too much sugar, the body becomes inflamed from within, leading to substantial weight gain. Over time, and with an inactive lifestyle, the cells of the body begin to reject the sugar (something that they need to produce energy). The sugar remains in the bloodstream, causing the pancreas to overproduce insulin and, consequently, shut down.


Now we know that eating too much free sugar can lead to type-2 diabetes. Indeed, we now know why although sugar is gotten from sugarcane, one is more likely to get type-2 diabetes by eating too much processed sugar than by eating lots of sugarcane.

Sugar causes type-2 diabetes



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