A friend of mine has a favorite saying: “everything must be done in moderation, even moderation.”
Too much of anything is bad, including eating too much sugar. Unfortunately, this is true even for the sweetest of foods.
Sugars are a type of simple carbohydrate that occurs naturally in different kinds of foods and drinks.
You can find natural sugars in fruits and vegetables and dairy.
The problem is with added sugar. The kind of sugar used as an additive in certain foods and drinks. This gives them a better and sweeter taste.
While we enjoy that extra dose of sweetness in the food we eat, (because hey, who wouldn’t?), it comes with so many health risks.
Eating too much sugar: health risks
Here’s the thing: about two hundred years ago, the average American consumed only 2 pounds of sugar per year.
By 1970, that number had jumped to 123 pounds.
And today, sugar consumption hovers around152 pounds per year for the average American.
That breaks down to eating about 3 pounds of sugar within a week.
When we eat too much sugar it can lead to basic as well as severe health problems.
Thes health risks range from obesity and tooth cavities to diabetes and heart diseases (more on that in a moment).
Natural sugars help us to thrive and live a healthy lifestyle.
They come with an array of important vitamins and nutrients that give us valuable health benefits. For example, this is one of the many blueberry benefits.
However, additives are what we must be wary of.
Manufacturers generally add sugar to tons of food and have the potential to cause health problems.
Unlike food and drinks which contain natural sugar, added sugar provides absolutely no health benefit. There are no nutrients present in such additives.
Also, they are a poor energy source.
This is because the body digests added sugar at a fast pace. Eating too much sugar may cause health problems that you can see immediately or over a long period.
In the rest of this article, we’ll go over the reasons why eating too much sugar is not great for your health.
1. Doesn’t have any significant nutritional value
Sugar is an empty calorie.
When sugar is added to foods and drinks, it significantly increases the calorie content.
But it doesn’t add any health or nutritional benefit.
The body digests these foods and drinks with added sugar very quickly.
This means that they are not a lasting source of energy. Natural sugars, on the other hand, are digested by the body at a slower pace.
Natural sugars also contain a whole variety of fibers, vitamins, and minerals.
So essentially one is just consuming calories after calories without gaining any sort of benefit from it.
This can also cause imbalances due to eating too much sugar. Nutrient deficits further lead to health complications.
2. Can cause you to gain weight
While sugar can help your midnight cravings or a sweet tooth, it does not have a very good impact on your body.
The thing about sugar is that without fiber it can also result in fluctuation of blood sugars.
This can cause cravings for even more carbs. This way the weight gain is at a consistent level.
If you’ve been meaning to lose belly fat, it might be time to consume less sugar.
It is advisable to watch your sugar intake. Whether it comes from bread, sweets, candy, or anything else, pay attention.
3. Leads to tooth decay and cavities
Talk about a sweet tooth (literally!). Excess sugar consumption can also cause tooth decay.
Tooth decay may ultimately lead to the development of cavities. Here how.
After indulging in a sweet and sugary meal, bacteria present in the mouth form a thin layer of plaque over the teeth.
This reacts with the sugars that are contained in foods and drinks, triggering the release of an acid that decays and damages the teeth.
Over time, however, such a high sugar diet causes irreparable and lasting damage. Cavities can also be formed which are permanent holes that are formed on teeth.
By limiting food intake which is high in sugar, we can prevent the formation of tooth cavities.
4. Can cause diabetes
Research has shown a link between consuming sugary drinks and developing diabetes.
Any high-calorie diet has the potential to lead to type 2 diabetes. And usually, high sugar diets are also high in calories.
A study analyzing data from around 310,819 people investigated this risk. The researchers concluded that high sugar drinks were particularly problematic.
Those with high consumption had a 26 percent greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes in comparison with those with low consumption.
The American Diabetes Association recommends avoiding sugary drinks to prevent type 2 diabetes.
5. Increases risk of heart disease
Another disadvantage of high-sugar diets is that they increase the risk of heart disease.
A 15-year study looked into high sugar diets. The researchers found that people with a diet that had added sugar were more likely to suffer from heart disease.
This is in comparison to those with minimal amounts of additive sugar in their diet.
High-sugar diets are extremely high in calories and provide grossly insufficient energy.
6. Causes skin problems like acne
We have all wanted that glowing and smooth skin at some point.
And we may even have tried a few ridiculous things to get the look.
For example, putting green tea bags on the face or getting ayurvedic treatments.
A simple way to reduce skin problems and acne, in particular, is a diet that is low on sugar. Let me explain.
Sugar promotes the production of sebum. Sebum is a type of oil on your face that also promotes inflammation.
When sebum is released, our immunity reduces and hormonal acne tends to be aggravated.
Sugar has intense oxidative properties which can provoke acne and breakouts.
When our body breaks down simple carbs, glucose is produced which floods the bloodstream.
The body reacts by producing insulin which further produces enzymes that have qualities leading to severe inflammation.
This process contributes to aged-looking skin and aggravates skin conditions.
7. Increases the risk of cancer
Eating too much sugar can also increase the risk of developing cancer.
A diet that is rich in sugary substances can lead to high obesity which is a direct contributor to cancer.
High sugar diets also cause insulin reduction and increase inflammation that increases cancer risk.
Several studies are being conducted on the link between additive sugar and cancer.
And this relationship is rather complicated and is yet to be understood completely.
8. Linked to increased depression
Blood sugar and your mood are directly connected.
These two are related to each other.
Ever wondered why we get a bit of a rush from having ice cream when we feel a little low?
The link between the two is even stronger about blood sugar spikes and lows.
Studies have found that when the blood sugar is uneven, you are prone to more mood swings.
This results in an increased risk of depression and dependency on various foods to uplift your mood and feel better
This addiction to comfort food leads to emotional eating.
9. Negatively impacts dental health
There is increasing evidence high sugars negatively impact dental health. Let me explain.
With all the other terrifying effects of sugar, sometimes the most basic ones tend to be forgotten.
Tooth decay plays an important role in the development of heart diseases.
Brushing teeth at least twice a day helps reduce any sugar that is leftover and stops it from fueling bacteria.
10. Can cause the skin to age faster
Excess sugar in the blood attaches itself to different proteins.
And this, in turn, causes glycation resulting in advanced aging. And yes, it is is as scary as it sounds.
There is an attack on the fibers making your young and soft skin supple and hold.
Sugar has the potential to cause wrinkles and sagging which does not sound too good for skin in the short or long run.
11. Increases levels of stress
Our body kicks either into fight or flight mode when we experience stress.
This releases hormones in a large amount. Just like this, our body has a similar chemical response when blood sugar is low.
Stress hormones begin to adapt to rising blood sugar after eating something sweet.
Eating too much sugar induces stress, anxiety and even shakiness and irritability. This can adversely impact your mental health.
12. Increases the risk of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s is now being called Type 3 diabetes by many. Increased levels of sugar also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.
13. Can lead to cognitive decline
Excessive intake of sugary foods affects not only global cognitive functions but also visual as well as verbal memory.
14. Can lead to Fatty Liver
Eating too much sugar, hastens the process of liver turning food into fat.
Fructose which is found in sugar is metabolized in the liver which is directly turned to fat.
The sugar is stored in glycogen. And when the glycogen stores are full due to a high carb diet then the fatty liver is the result.
This creates dangerous and harmful visceral fat which should be avoided.
15. Can cause kidney disease
Kidney disease is characterized by high blood sugar from eating too much sugar.
Microvascular vessels are damaged by high levels of sugar.
This, in turn, affects the ability of the kidneys to regulate the excretion of harmful waste.
It also makes it difficult to control blood pressure and balance of fluids in the body.
16. Causes imbalanced gut flora
Eating too much additive sugar or artificial sweeteners can cause various problems with the gut.
It can result in gut dysbiosis. This occurs when there is an imbalance of gut microbes.
This can adversely impact behavior and the brain as well.
Metabolic disease is an effect of this which further increases the risk of heart diseases and diabetes.
It is problem after problem.
Specifically, the use of artificial sweeteners negatively impacts the glucose levels in the blood due to effects in the gut flora.
There other foods that’ll improve gut health and artificial sugar is not one of them.
17. Makes you restless and hyperactive
Sugar rush is real. Eating too much sugar can lead to increased depression, anxiety.
It may even cause more severe symptoms to those with schizophrenia.
The roller coaster of high blood sugar if often characterized by a crash that accentuates mood disorders more.
It can cause high restlessness and hyperactivity so much that sometimes affect getting a good night’s sleep.
18. Leads to energy loss and drain
The myth of sugar rush just increasing energy is false.
Foods that have a high amount of added sugars decreases your energy rather than boost it.
This is because while you feel that rush due to the sugar, it momentary and crashes. Hard. This is true if you feel tired after eating.
Taking all your energy with it, the energy-draining-cycle continues when one is addicted to sugar.
Instead of sugar-loaded foods, consider eating energy-boosting foods that will recharge your body.
19. Can lead to higher cholesterol
Eating too much sugar has raised several markers for cardiovascular diseases.
Those with high sugar diets also have higher levels of triglycerides which also increase heart disease.
20. Spikes insulin levels and resistance
A high sugar diet also leads to a constant release of insulin.
There is a high level of circulating insulin that is created which eventually leads to insulin resistance.
21. Can cause a Metabolic Syndrome
High sugars also cause metabolic syndrome.
This includes obesity, hypertension, and dyslipidemia.
This results in an inflammatory state that further increases the risk of various types of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.
22. Can cause erectile dysfunction
Sugar isn’t all that sweet (if you know what I mean?).
Poor blood sugar control has the power to cause microvascular damage.
This affects various functions such as blood flow and can contribute to muscle and nerve damage.
These are all general causes and factors of erectile dysfunction. When you don’t treat this, it may also sometimes cause pain during sex.
23. Causes constant hunger and needless snacking
Sugar turns into fat in the body, being a carbohydrate.
Since it affects blood sugar and insulin resistance, it spikes our hunger and leaves us wanting more. It is a highly addictive substance.
It causes a neurotransmitter response in our brains which makes us feel so good. And we experience what is known as a “mild high.”
It leads to a vicious cycle.
We feel hungry and keep on eating. And we also keep snacking to satisfy this hunger. All of this leads weight gain we could easily avoid.
Instead of snacking on sugar-infused foods, choose healthy snack alternatives to junk food so you stay healthy.
Limit sugar. It is addictive and detrimental to your health.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has made several recommendations. Get a maximum of 10 percent of calories from sugar and keep it at a low of 5 percent.
This would help in retaining a healthy and balanced diet as well as keep that sweet tooth of yours alive.
Eating too much sugar won’t do you any good, especially if you want to improve your immunity.
Reduce the amount of added sugars, and consume a healthy amount of natural sugars.