There are 45 ways "free sugar" is jeopardizing your health, a new study has found.

For their study, which was published in the journal BMJ last week, researchers in the United States and China did an evaluation of existing studies about dietary sugar consumption and health outcomes. After carrying out a meta-analysis of the studies, they found 45 negative health impacts that were said to be the results of a diet loaded with free sugar.

Collective findings from as many as 73 meta-analyses involving 8,601 studies proved that high consumption of free sugar was linked to 45 health issues including diabetes, gout, obesity, high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, cancer, asthma, tooth decay, depression and early death, CNN reported.

Free sugar is a type of sucrose typically derived from various plants, especially sugar cane, and consists of water-soluble crystalline substances. Doctors advise people against consuming excessive sugar to evade the chances of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Ideally, free sugar should not surpass a set 10% limit of an adult's daily calorie intake.

Moreover, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration defines free sugar as the sweetening agents added during food processing, naturally occurring in syrups, honey, fruit juice, vegetable juice, purees and pastes where the food's cellular structure has been disrupted.

The study gave small but conclusive evidence that those who consumed higher amounts of free sugar had higher body weight as compared to those who had their sugar intake in check.

However, studies on whether or not free sugar is linked to cancer are still in the works. But the recent one's findings double down on sugar's link to weight gain, which in turn influences cancer cell growth.

Excess weight gain can lead to insulin resistance and promote insulin-like growth factors in the blood. The condition emerges when the body can no longer produce enough insulin to remove sugar from the blood, according to Mayo Clinic. The cancers associated with obesity are breast, colon/rectum, esophagus, multiple myeloma, meningioma, ovary, thyroid and liver cancers, among others.

The end result of the study, which also referenced existing guidance from the World Health Organization, World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research suggests a daily intake of free sugar shouldn't be in excess of 25 grams or 6 teaspoons per day. That amount is proportionate to the sugar present in 2 and a half chocolate chip cookies, 16 ounces of fruit punch and about a tablespoon and a half of honey. A doughnut consists of roughly 30 grams of sugar, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The study authors also emphasized "a combination of widespread public health education and policies worldwide" to change sugar consumption patterns.

pancake with syrup
Pancake syrups are high in sugar that is unhealthy to the body. Touka_hogimoto/Pixabay