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Negative Effects of Added Sugars

If you’re on a diet, you might monitor your sugar intake and realize how much food you eat contains added sugar by checking the nutritional analysis of your favorite food items. While added sugar isn’t necessarily bad, eating too much sugar can affect your health and wellness. Unfortunately, many foods contain added sugar to enhance their taste, making them more delicious, delectable, and unhealthy. Added sugar means added calories without added nutrients, and too much sugar can lead to health problems. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate your body uses for fuel; It’s not inherently bad. However, too much sugar is bad for you, even though many fruits and vegetables naturally contain sugar. Added sugar refers to sugars and syrups added to food to enhance the taste. Your favorite desserts, sports drinks, and energy drinks have added sugar. Unfortunately, added sugar means adding calories to your meal, which can contribute to poor nutrition, weight gain, and associated health problems. Let’s discuss some of the negative effects of added sugar:

Can Contribute to Weight Gain

Added sugar means your food items contain more calories than they need to. With obesity being a serious concern in the US, added sugar is a major contributor to weight gain, obesity, and even diabetes. Sugar-sweetened food items like juice, tea, and soda contain fructose, simple sugar that can increase your hunger and make you eat more than you should.

In addition, excess fructose can affect hormone production, which regulates hunger and informs your brain when to stop eating, leading you to eat more calories than you need to be full.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Increases Risk of Heart Disease

Added sugar can increase your risk of heart disease because it leads to obesity and blood sugar problems that may contribute to heart disease. In addition, consuming too much sugar is linked to clogged arteries, and individuals who eat too much sugar are at a greater risk of stroke and heart disease.

Acne

If you wash your face every morning and use all the best skin care products, you might be disgruntled when they don’t work as well as they should. This is because your diet contributes to overall skin health, and consuming excess sugar has been linked to acne because sweets raise your blood sugar and insulin levels, which may affect oil production. Ultimately, the oilier your skin is, the more likely it is to clog your pores and result in pimples and acne. However, a lower-sugar diet can prevent acne.

Increases Diabetes Risk

Diabetes risk increases the more overweight someone is, so if someone is obese, they have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, which can be fatal and reduce their quality of life. Too much sugar increases your risk of diabetes even if you’re not overweight, although no studies prove sugar causes diabetes. Excess sugar contributes to weight gain, a risk factor for diabetes.

However, it’s important to note that consuming too much sugar can affect your insulin production and resistance. When you eat too much sugar, your body may become more resistant to insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas that’s responsible for regulating blood sugar. Insulin resistance can cause blood sugars to spike, increasing the chances of diabetes.

May Lead to Aging

Again, if you take proper care of your skin, you may find your diet impedes your efforts to have a beautiful complexion. Excess sugar consumption can accelerate the aging process, making you look older than you are by contributing to finding lines and wrinkles. In addition, too much sugar can damage collagen and elastin, which are responsible for helping your skin appear taut. When you lose collagen and elastin, the skin will begin to sag and become more easily prone to wrinkles.

Can Affect Sleep Quality

Sugar can give you a nice energy boost throughout the day, but there are healthier ways to help yourself feel more awake while sitting at your desk in the afternoons. While a sugar high can help you get through the day, it can also affect your sleep quality. After the effects of the sugar wear off, you may experience a crash in which you feel more lethargic than before. Additionally, consuming sugar close to bedtime can keep you awake at night until its effects wear off, ultimately impacting your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Photo Credit: SHVETS production from Pexels

Dental Health Risks

Sugar can also affect your dental health. For example, eating too much sugar can lead to cavities because the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and release acids. If you choose to eat sugar throughout the day, consider brushing your teeth afterward to prevent it from feeding any potentially harmful bacteria. Brushing your teeth will also remove excess bad bacteria that can contribute to tooth decay.

Reducing Added Sugars

You can’t avoid sugar completely because it’s a nutrient your body needs to stay fueled throughout the day. Still, too much sugar especially added sugars in your food, can be bad for you. While you shouldn’t avoid apples and other fruits just because they contain natural sugar, you should consider the processed foods you eat and whether there’s a healthy alternative. A few ways to reduce added sugars in your diet include:

  1. Drinking water instead of soda, energy drinks, and sugary teas

  2. Skipping sugary cereals in the morning and try a healthier breakfast of eggs and toast instead

  3. Trying reduced-sugar food items

  4. Choosing nutrient-rich foods like vegetables and yogurt instead of chips, candy, and processed foods for snacks

Photo Credit: Andres Ayrton from Pexels

Final Thoughts

Any foods containing added sugar should be avoided whenever possible. Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to restrict your diet to enjoy food to the fullest; instead, consider checking the sugar content in food before consuming it and reducing sugar in other meals throughout the day if you decide to eat something sweet. For example, if you want cake for dessert, consider skipping sugary breakfast cereal in the morning. France is a great example of a country where maintaining a regular diet is possible without adding unnecessary sugars. Most of the pastries the French consume every day, for example, avoid adding extra sugars. As always, moderation is key and maintaining a healthy lifestyle of diet and regular exercise are important to staying healthy. So pick up some healthy fruits and veggies and lace up those walking shoes!

Header Photo Credit: Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

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