Does sugar affect eyesight? New discoveries on the dangers of dessert.
It makes sense that if some foods are beneficial to eyesight, there must also be foods that can be detrimental to vision.
Many of the foods that damage eyesight are foods that negatively affect the body in general. Interestingly, being mindful of your heart health is closely tied to caring for your eye health. Your eyes often display symptoms of heart and blood vessel diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and blood clots. Limiting foods that contribute to these disorders can help protect your eyesight and guard your circulatory system.
Regarding body and eye health, one particularly harmful food is sugar.
Refined sugar is known to damage the body.
Sugar is a hot topic in the health industry today and is constantly under fire for the health problems it enables.
High sugar intake is a well-documented contributor to the development of type 2 diabetes, which is known to damage eyesight. However, new studies are discovering the link between this saccharine delight and the development of other eye diseases.
Studies are linking refined sugar and simple carbohydrates to developing Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).
Diabetes has long been a concern in the eye care community for its harmful effects on vision. But the connection of sugar to other eye diseases, expressly AMD, is coming to light.
One study conducted several years ago took a dietary survey and examined all of the participants for AMD. The results were consistent that those with a diet comprised of the highest glycemic value foods also had advanced macular degeneration in at least one eye.
Another study on mice showed damage to their retina from simple carbohydrates that reversed after removing the simple carbs from their diet. Research must continue, but for now, it is safe to practice limiting foods that register as high glycemic to protect your overall health and especially your eyesight.
But not all sugar is harmful.
Sugar is available to us naturally in fruit and vegetables (among other sources), but problems arise from refined sugars.
Refined sugars have been altered or mechanically processed and cease functioning within the body as naturally occurring sugars (fructose, glucose, etc.) do.
These sugars are known as simple carbohydrates because they are broken down rapidly within the body and cause a spike in blood sugar.
Our bodies are not meant to process sugar rapidly and accumulate damage from prolonged and repeated spikes in blood sugar.
Natural sugars are found in fruit (fructose), milk (lactose), and vegetables (glucose) and are known as complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates break down in the body naturally over time.
These carbs have fiber and other organic tools that slow down the body’s absorption of sugar and do not result in elevated blood sugar.
2 Reminders for a healthy relationship with sugar.
Keep complex carbs in your diet.
You probably shouldn’t remove carbohydrates entirely from your diet. But here are a few easy tips for adjusting to a low-sugar lifestyle.
- Avoid sugary drinks like sodas, sports drinks, and fruit juices, and replace them with fruit-infused water. While fruit juice might seem like a healthy option, the health benefits of fruit alter through the juicing process. Juicing fruit is a modification that turns fruit from natural sugar to refined sugar. So juice will spike your blood sugar in the same way as soda.
- Limit sauces, dressings, condiments, and yogurt because they have high amounts of added sugar. Ketchup and barbecue sauce both carry a surprisingly high amount of added sugar. When possible, look for brands that have no added sugar. Yogurt is another source of high-added sugar. So when possible, choose plain or unsweetened yogurt.
- Choose fruit instead of processed carbs when you’re craving a sweet treat. Bread and other simple carbs such as waffles, cookies, bread, granola bars, et cetera are all high sources of refined carbohydrates. Fruit is a natural source of sugar that is easy for the body to process. Choosing fruit over prepackaged, simple carbohydrates will offer you a longer-lasting energy boost and a sense of fullness that refined carbs cannot match.
Reduce your intake of processed sugar to encourage long-term healthy eyesight.
Remember, sugar itself is not a bad thing. Our bodies utilize natural sugar to keep us healthy and functioning optimally. But refined sugar is another story.
Increased consumption of simple carbohydrates and refined sugars contributes to health issues such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Research has also linked high consumption of refined sugar to the eye disease Aage-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Along with routine eye exams, limiting sugar intake can significantly impact your overall health and create long-term positive effects on your future vision!