Sugar is one of the most widely consumed substances in our society, and it’s everywhere, from regular foods to candy and soft drinks. If you’re not careful, it can easily sneak into your diet without realizing it. This can lead to serious health problems, including weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease. Keep reading to learn different signs that indicate you could be eating too much sugar.
How much sugar is too much?
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that women consume no more than six teaspoons (25 grams) of sugar per day and not more than nine teaspoons (36 grams) for men. However, an average American consumes way more (22 teaspoons or 88 grams of sugar) than the recommended amount.
What’s even worse, sugar has no nutrients to offer but can cause a lot of damage if you don’t limit your consumption.
While some people may not add sugar directly to their foods like coffee, most processed foods they are likely to consume, like soft drinks, ice cream, cookies, cakes, etc., contain added sugar, which counts to the overall amount of sugar consumed.
If you think you could be consuming too much added sugar, here are signs to watch out for.
Added Sugars vs Processed Sugars
When discussing the dangers of too much sugar, it’s good to distinguish between naturally occurring sugar and processed sugar because the two affect the body differently.
Naturally occurring sugar is the form of sugar found in fruits and vegetables. It’s safe to consume because these foods are rich in water and fiber, which slows down the release of sugar into the blood.
Additionally, they are high in other nutrients, including vitamins and minerals, that can further promote blood sugar regulation in the body.
On the other hand, processed sugar or refined sugar is a form of sugar that has been extracted from plants such as sugarcane or beets. The most common forms of processed sugar include regular table sugar (sucrose) and high fructose corn syrup.
So when talking about the dangers of sugar, we’re often referring to processed sugar.
This form is commonly added to processed foods like baked goods, soft drinks, salad dressings, etc., to help enhance their taste.
This is the form you should avoid or limit your intake as much as possible.
Signs of Eating Too Much Sugar
1. Digestive issues
The digestive system is designed to break down food in order to extract nutrients and energy. However, when the body receives too much sugar, it can interfere with these normal processes, putting you at risk of various digestive issues.
A study published in The American Journal Of Gastroenterology found that adding sugars to your daily diet may increase the risk of developing digestive issues such as inflammation and gut bacteria imbalance.
Sugar feeds the bad bacteria in your gut, which can cause inflammation throughout your digestive system. As a result, inflammation can interfere with digestion and nutrient absorption, causing gas, bloating, diarrhea, and sometimes constipation.
Poor gut health suppresses the immune system, which can make you more susceptible to illnesses such as Crohn’s disease or cancer.
If you’re struggling with digestive issues and suspect that you’re consuming too much sugar, try cutting back your intake. This includes table sugar and foods such as sugary drinks, snacks, and desserts for a few weeks to see if that alleviates your symptoms.
2. Sugar addiction
Sugar addiction is a real thing, and it can be pretty damaging. When you’re addicted to sugar, you cannot control how much you eat. This can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
Sugar addiction is caused by the brain’s reward system. When you eat something sweet, your brain releases dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter. Dopamine is responsible for making you feel good.
The more dopamine your brain releases, the more likely you are to want to eat sugar again. The problem is that when your brain becomes addicted to dopamine, it starts to need more and more in order to feel that same sense of pleasure.
3. Acne-prone skin
Sugar is a common cause of acne. It increases the production of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), which triggers excess sebum production. Sebum is the oil that your skin produces to keep you moisturized, so it is good for your skin, but when it’s overproduced, it can cause follicles and pores to clog up, causing acne breakouts.
A study published in the journal JAMA Dermatology found that people who ate more than 25 grams of sugar per day were more likely to have severe acne compared to those who consumed less than 10 grams of sugar.
The study also found that people with acne were more likely to consume greater amounts of high-glycemic index foods, which are often refined and contain lots of sugar.
A high-glycemic index food promotes a rapid rise in blood sugar, which can result in the release of insulin, and stress hormones and trigger inflammation.
The study also found that people who ate high amounts of refined grains were more likely to have severe acne than those who did not eat these foods.
4. Irritability and mood swings
According to a study published in the journal Appetite, sugar can cause irritability and mood swings in people who consume it regularly.
The study involved 25 female participants who were given different amounts of sugar to eat over two weeks. At the end of the study, the participants reported feeling more irritable and experiencing more mood swings after consuming large amounts of sugar than when they ate small amounts. The researchers say that these effects are likely due to the sugar-rash effect, which makes the body work harder to restore balance.
The researchers also found that when people overconsume sugar, it increases their levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which can have negative consequences for both their emotional and physical health.
Besides, sugar negatively impacts the gut, and our emotions are strongly connected to our gut health. So when the microbiome in our gut is out of balance, sugar can have an adverse impact on our mood and energy levels.
In addition, high levels of cortisol are known to increase inflammation throughout the body, which can lead to increased symptoms of anxiety and depression. So if you’re struggling with struggles sleeping and mood swings, consider reducing your sugar intake.
5. Sleep disturbances
Sleep is essential for overall health. It can help improve mood, focus, memory, and reaction time. It can also reduce anxiety and stress levels, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and even slow the aging process.
Not getting enough sleep can lead to a number of issues, including weight gain, fatigue, and mental fog. One thing that can affect your sleep quality is too much sugar consumption.
This is because sugar interferes with the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. When sugar is consumed in large amounts before bedtime, it causes an increase in brain activity, which makes it difficult to fall asleep.
Also, sugar causes stress and anxiety. When you consume large amounts of sugar late at night, it can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety, which can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
In addition to eliminating sugar from the diet, other practices that can boost your sleep quality include
- Sleeping in a dark and quiet room
- Avoid using electronic devices in bed before bedtime.
- Sticking to a regular sleep schedule – going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps your body learn to regulate its own sleeping patterns.
- Avoiding caffeine and alcohol before bedtime. These stimulants dehydrate you and can make it difficult to fall asleep.
6. Premature wrinkles
Too much sugar could cause premature wrinkles, according to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. This is because sugar causes glycation ( a process by which glucose molecules form chemical bonds with proteins, lipids, and DNA), leading to the formation of advanced glycation end products (AGEs).
AGEs have been shown to speed up the process of aging and wrinkle formation.
In other words, sugar molecules damage protein in the skin leading to wrinkles and other signs of aging.
In the study, researchers found that when rats were fed a high-sugar diet, they developed more wrinkles and age spots than rats who were fed a low-sugar diet.
The high-sugar diet also increased levels of AGEs in the rats’ skin. These results suggest that sugar may play a role in the development of wrinkles and age spots.
In another study, participants who consumed high amounts of sugar (more than 26 grams per day) had a 53 percent increase in glycation levels compared to those who consumed less sugar (5 to 9 grams per day). The researchers found that glycation can cause skin aging and wrinkles by altering the body’s collagen and elastin production.
7. Weight gain
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that is found in many foods and drinks. When you eat or drink foods and beverages with sugar, the sugar molecules enter your bloodstream and quickly convert into glucose. Glucose is a type of sugar that is used by the body to provide energy.
When you eat foods and beverages high in sugar, your blood glucose levels rise quickly. Your body responds to this increase in blood glucose by releasing insulin. Insulin helps transport glucose from the blood into cells, where it can be used for energy. Over time, increased insulin production and usage can lead to weight gain because it causes your body to store more calories as fat.
Also, eating foods and beverages with sugar causes your brain to release dopamine. Dopamine is a hormone that is responsible for rewarding behaviors like eating sweets. Eating foods and drinks with sugar frequently leads to feelings of pleasure, which can lead you to want more sugary food and drink. This cycle of overeating promotes weight gain and may be difficult to break if not addressed earlier.
If you’re looking to lose weight, it’s important to reduce your intake of foods and beverages with sugar as much as possible
8. Tooth decay
Tooth decay is a problem that affects many people, but it’s especially common in children. The main cause of tooth decay is too much sugar in the diet.
Sugars bind with proteins and minerals in our saliva, producing acid that leads to tooth decay. This acid causes the enamel on your teeth to wear away faster, making them prone to cavities.
To prevent tooth decay, it’s important to limit your intake of sugar and to eat healthy foods rich in fiber and other nutrients instead of sugar
9. Worsening diabetes
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 29 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, and one of sugar’s most damaging effects is its effect on type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is an expensive disease where the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or can’t use it properly, and so sugar, which turns into glucose in the blood, stays high and can cause health problems such as nerve damage, kidney failure, heart disease, blindness, and even amputation.
Eliminating sugar from the diet, including highly processed foods is key to managing type 2 diabetes.
10. Joint pain
Sugar is a common culprit when it comes to causing joint pain. It can cause inflammation and damage to the joint tissue. Additionally, sugar can also lead to bacteria growth in the joint space.
This can cause pain and swelling, making it difficult for the joint to move properly. If you’re struggling with pain in your joints, try to cut back on your sugar intake. You might also want to talk to your doctor about treatments that could help relieve your symptoms.
If you are eating too much sugar, there are several warning signs that you should pay attention to. These signs include feeling anxious or irritable after eating sugar and having trouble sleeping. One may also experience worsening diabetes symptoms, joint pain, digestive issues, and acne.
If you notice any of these warning signs, it is essential to start reducing your intake of sugar immediately. Sugar is one of the leading causes of health problems, and if you don’t reduce your intake, you risk developing more serious conditions.
Other Related Articles
- Foods To Eat To Lower Blood Sugar
- How To Stop Sugar Cravings
- Should You Try A Sugar-Free February
- Should You Be Concerned About Muscle Health
- How Much Water Should You Drink Daily To Lose Weight
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