You most likely know that eating too much sugar is unhealthy. Despite this, you might still be overdoing it. An average American takes in about 20 teaspoons of added sugar every single day. That’s over double the recommended amount for men and more than triple for women. This doesn’t even include natural sugar that comes in foods like milk and fruit.
Sweetened dairy products, baked goods, candy, and sugary drinks are the main culprits behind sugar overload. Unfortunately, these so-called “healthy” foods can have added sugar too.
Your favorite protein bars, tomato sauce, and bread usually have added sugar, making it even easier to wind up too with too much sugar in your system.
Further complicating things is the fact that nutrition labels don’t always make it easy to spot sugar, which might be listed under names such as sucrose, cane juice, palm sugar, agave nectar, or corn syrup.
Regardless of the label, sugar is just sugar and can have a negative impact on your body in quite a few ways.
Here are 10 ways sugar might interfere with your overall health.
1) Your Brain
When you consume sugar, your brain gets a massive surge of dopamine, a chemical that makes you feel good. It’s why you’re far more likely to be craving a candy bar in the middle of the afternoon than a carrot or an apple.
Since whole foods such as fruits and veggies don’t trigger the brain’s release of dopamine, your brain starts needing even more sugar to achieve the same level of pleasure you’re used to feeling.
Unfortunately, your brain becomes addicted to sugar, and the need to have it makes it hard to control your urge for ice cream after dinner.
2) Your Mood
If you need to boost your blood sugar levels quickly, then a cookie or candy bar will spike your sugar levels instantly.
Unfortunately, once the cells of your body absorb the sugar, the levels drop, leaving you with a sugar crash accompanied by anxiety and jitters. And, if you reach into that candy jar too frequently, then the sugar will influence your mood far after that midafternoon slump. In addition, high sugar intake can also boost your risk of depression.
3) Your Teeth
You might have rolled your eyes as a kid, but your parents were right, candy can rot your teeth. Once you eat something sweet, your mouth is filled with bacteria that can cause cavities. And who want more trips to the dentist?
4) Your Joints
Do you have joint pain? Lay off the candy! Eating too many sweets can inflame your joints causing increased pain. Research also indicates that consuming sugar boosts your odds of developing conditions like rheumatoid arthritis.
5) Your Skin
One other impact of inflammation caused by sugar is that it might make your skin age more rapidly.
Sugar can attach to bloodstream proteins which create advanced glycation end products. These hurtful molecules are appropriately also known as ‘AGEs.’
Researchers know that AGE’s can damage both the elastin and collagen in your skin – the protein fibers which maintain that firm and youthful look. The end result? Saggy skin and wrinkles.
6) Your Liver
Extra added sugar might mean your liver winds up being resistant to insulin, which is a crucial hormone that converts bloodstream sugar into usable energy. This condition indicates that the body can’t control blood sugar levels as effectively as it used to, which might lead to a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.
If you binge on sugar, then the added insulin inside your bloodstream might impact your arteries, which are a part of your larger circulatory system. It can make their walls grow faster than they should and lead to tension, which puts more stress on your heart, damaging it over time.
This can result in a stroke, heart attack, or heart disease. Research also indicates that not eating as much sugar can lower blood pressure, which is good news for those suffering from hypertension and heart disease.
Also, anyone who consumes too much sugar (more than a quarter of their calories) may double their odds of dying from heart disease compared to those who take in less than 10 percent of their calories from added sugars.
7) Your Pancreas
Whenever you eat, your pancreas produces insulin. However, if you eat an abundance of sugar, your body begins to respond poorly to the insulin, and your pancreas overcompensates by pumping out more than ever.
An overtaxed pancreas eventually begins to deteriorate, putting you on the path for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
8) Your Kidneys
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, then excess sugar can damage your kidneys. They play a crucial role in the filtration of your blood sugar.
After blood sugar levels get too high, the kidneys begin putting extra sugar into the urine which keeps them from doing their intended function of cleaning wastes floating around in your blood.
9) Your Weight
This might probably won’t surprise you, but if you overeat sugar, you’ll probably wind up gaining weight. Research demonstrates that those who consume sugar-sweetened drinks usually weigh more as compared to those who don’t. They’re also at risk of type 2 diabetes. One study even suggests that individuals who boosted their sugar intake gained nearly a pound a month.
10) Your Libido
Is it date night? You might want to pass on dessert. Sugar can put out the sexual fire that leads to an erection. In men, a chronic high sugar level in their blood can lead to impotence. Sugar also impacts the circulatory system of the human body, which is what controls the body’s blood flow. It has to be working right for an erection to start, much less stay.
Even though it’s tough, you are going to need to avoid sugar to stay at your optimum health. And remember, sugar is not always in the obvious places like cookies and candy. It can lurk in whole wheat bread, pasta sauces, and yogurts.
Once you begin eliminating sugar from your life, your health could rapidly improve, and your waistline will undoubtedly start to shrink.