Sugar, the name of the sweetest substance out there, in our humble opinion. When you shop the grocery aisles you can see sugar is in almost everything especially often in prepackaged and processed foods. There’s nothing I love more than kicking back to a sweet and savoury treat or finishing off the perfect dinner with an equally amazing dessert. But there should be a line drawn for when too much sugar is just too much.

The average American consumes around 32 teaspoons a day. If you need a visual, scoop 32 teaspoons of sugar into a bowl and you’ll be amazed too at how much that really is. When reading the labels keep in mind four grams of sugar equals about one teaspoon of sugar. For example, if your chocolate bar has 20 grams of sugar, that could be like pouring 5 teaspoons of sugar down your throat. It’s not as appealing when you think of it that way is it? Large amounts of sugar especially consumed on a regular basis can take a big toll on your body. We have found out ways sugar can be harmful to your body that you definitely want to know about.

1. Tooth Decay And Gum Disease

You’ve heard it a million times, the message from your dentist “floss your teeth”, “make sure to brush after each meal” there is a very important reason why they remind you so much. Oral health is more than just important for appearances and good smelling breath, it is so important to your overall health as well. Gum disease and cavities may contribute to more serious conditions like respiratory disease or even diabetes. As well as untreated cavities could lead to serious infections. These are all amazing reasons why taking care of your mouth and teeth is so important.

There is no question about sugar affecting your teeth. We all know too many sweets can lead to unwanted cavities. Bacteria in the mouth that cause cavities love to eat sugar, making the entire situation worse. Especially so in children because they have yet to figure out how to brush their teeth accurately. Make sure to cut down on the sweets and to always brush your teeth and gums so there is no lingering sugar.

2. Overload The Liver

Too much sugar could be bad for your liver. The liver plays an important job in regulating our blood, helps break down old and damaged blood cells as well as plays an important role in the metabolic process of our bodies.

The effects sugar could have on your liver can be compared to how alcohol takes a toll on the liver. All the sugar we eat gets moved to the only organ that can transport it. This then overloads the liver leading to potential liver damage. Just like your alcohol, your sugar needs to be in moderation too.

3. Impacts Your Pancreas

Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas is a very important hormone in our bodies. This hormone allows the blood sugar also known as glucose to enter cells from the bloodstreams. It then tells the cells to burn glucose instead of fat. If your body isn’t producing insulin like it should your body may not be burning the glucose like it should either and high levels of glucose in the blood can be very harmful.

It has been shown in a recent study that sugar consumption, especially in large doses, can be associated with insulin resistance. Furthermore, when the cells in our bodies become resistant to the effects of insulin it can put a strain on the pancreas because it cannot keep up with the insulin production. When the pancreas can’t keep up anymore the blood sugar levels will increase largely and then may result in type two diabetes. It has shown that people who drink sugary drinks have up to an 83% higher risk of getting type two diabetes so think twice on your next grocery shopping trip.

4. Highly Addictive

When you think of addictive drugs, names of street drugs are what come to mind, not so much the food you eat. However, in fact, sugar could be classified as a drug because it too has addictive traits.

Think about the way sugary foods and drinks make you feel. When we consume sugar whether it’s a sugary treat or a sweet and tasty beverage dopamine is released into our brains. And if you don’t know what dopamine is, it is what makes us feel good and usually happy. Just like other addictive drugs, our bodies build up a tolerance so that over time you will need more and more sugar to get that same warm and fuzzy feeling. Consider limiting your sugar intake or even have sugarless days of the week to help keep your sugar addiction at bay.

5. Mood Swings

We all know how too much sugar can make us feel, that quick sugar high. You’re suddenly presented with a burst of energy but we all know what comes after, the crash, feeling tired and sometimes lethargic.

However, if you find yourself making the candy jar snacking a daily habit then you may just find yourself falling into more moods swings than just a burst of energy. Recent studies have shown that frequent and high sugar intake can put you at risk for depression. Make sure to monitor your sugar intake so you don’t affect your moods too much.

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6. Contributor To Obesity

A recent study showed that 57% of American’s are obese and predict that 3/4 of the population will be obese by the year 2020. With that quickly approaching it is important to understand and then help prevent leading contributors to obesity.

Sugar affects our brain and hormones and can make gaining fat a nightmare. Sugar can also decrease our satiety which means we consistently feel hungry when our bodies don’t actually need food. So naturally, more unneeded food will lead to weight gain. Watch your sugar intake so that you and your children are not at risk for obesity.

7. Interfere With Immune Function

We have discovered how sugar can negatively impact so many parts of your body including your organs so it is not surprising that it can take a toll on your immune system too.

When we eat or drink too much sugar it restrains our immune system. Our immune systems work by killing off bad bacteria to help keep us healthy, but when it is weakened our immunity becomes more vulnerable and prone to sickness. Make sure to limit your sugar intake especially during changing seasons to make our bodies less vulnerable to getting sick.

8. Accelerate Aging

Society spends copious amounts of money on anti-aging products. The anti-aging industry is actually worth well over 100 billion dollars. We all want to feel and look youthful but maybe the next time you pick up your bottle of anti-aging cream reassess your diet because your sugar consumption could just be the leading cause of your accelerated aging.

More specifically, sugar consumption can cause your skin to age faster. This is caused by sugar attaching to proteins in the bloodstream that creates harmful molecules that age our skin. It has been shown that the harmful molecules can damage the collagen and the elastin in our skin. If you want to keep your skin youthful as long as possible then consider consuming less sugar.

9. Joint Pain

If you’re experiencing joint pain you may just want to lay off the sweets. Recent studies have shown sugar has a leading contribution to inflammation which in result causes joint pain.

Following, some studies also have shown sugar can cause an increase in your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disorder, occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the body’s tissues). This kind of arthritis will affect the lining of the joints which will cause painful swelling and could even result in joint deformity and bone erosion.

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10. Raise Cholesterol Levels

Sugar could be another leading factor in high cholesterol levels. Sugar consumption in large quantities could spike your cholesterol into chaos.

We already know that sugar can affect your liver, but your liver can affect your cholesterol levels. So as you see, the two go hand in hand. Recent studies show that sugar could overload the liver and then have it spew out bad cholesterol all the while decreasing your bodies ability to clear it away. If you know you have high cholesterol levels or want to maintain healthy levels consider consuming less sugar.

11. Increase Stress

Stress provoked situations are thrown at us all the time, whether it be a strict deadline at work or difficult situations at home we sometimes forget that the foods we eat can actually have an impact on how we feel too.

Sugar can also be an underlying factor as to why you are feeling stressed. This occurs when we eat or drink some variety of sugar we often experience the sugar rush but right after a sugar rush is a dive back down which then causes the body to release stress hormones. The hormones in our blood sugar levels increase causing our bodies to sometimes feel anxious, shaky or irritable. If you’re in some stressful situations consider not consuming sugar during that time so you don’t fuel the fire so to speak.

12. Affect Your Weight

Gaining weight from sugar may be the most obvious side effect but is still very important to make note of. If you’re trying to control your weight or trying to lose weight consider how much sugar you may be intaking on the daily. Sugar is hidden in almost everything, drinks, salad dressings, barbecue sauces, you name it and it may just have sugar in it. So that innocent donut you wanted to eat at lunch may have just put you over the edge with all the other sugar contributors.

Not only can it affect our own body weight but it can also cause our organs to be fat too. As we discovered earlier, sugar consumption can damage our liver which causes our bodies to store fat in strange places. Over time you may just find yourself with an unhealthy and fatty liver, and nobody needs that.

13. Replace Important Nutrients

For those of us who consume large amounts of sugar, we may not realize it but sugar may just be replacing important nutrients that our bodies need to thrive. Filling your bodies with sugary foods especially during those need to snack moments, causes us to be less hungry when we should be eating wholesome meals.

Getting used to processed and refined sugar also can make your taste buds think healthy foods lack flavor and are unpleasant. This then would make you more inclined to choose something unhealthy over something that is actually good for you. It is also important to take caution in buying foods that claim they are high in nutrients such a vitamin C, some orange juices, for example, can actually be made with artificial flavors and contain more processed sugar than vitamin C itself.

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14. Increase Blood Pressure

You may be at risk of hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure) if you consume a lot of sugar. It has been well known for a while that high salt consumption can cause high blood pressure but recent studies are showing that sugar can be just as bad and a leading cause.

Sugar can also cause the blood vessels in our bodies to tense up. This occurs from chronic high insulin levels that cause the smooth muscles cells around each blood vessel to grow faster than normal. This could put you onto the path at being a higher risk of a heart attack as well as a stroke.

15. Affects The Heart

As we discovered earlier that high intake of sugar can lead to diabetes, well diabetes and heart disease go hand and hand. Believe it or not, stroke and heart disease are the number one cause of death amongst those who have type two diabetes.

Sugar also can put stress on your heart from increasing your blood pressure as we found out earlier. For a healthy heart always remember to watch your sugar intake and to try your best to stay away from refined sugars as much as possible.

Clarissa Vanner

Clarissa loves experimenting with food of all cultures to make unique healthy dishes. When she’s not browsing Pinterest for new recipe inspiration she likes to pick up a DIY project and use her creative hands to make art or crafts. In her down time you can find her watching the latest documentaries on Netflix or going for nature walks.

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