Not only does sugar make foods tastier and lend a great texture to baked goods, it can also help preserve jellies, sauces, and dressings. While it’s hard to avoid sugar completely, consuming too much of it can be harmful to your health.
Are you a big fan of fruit juice, candy, and sugary foods? If so, you’re at risk of developing more cavities than the average person. Certain bacteria that are naturally present in the mouth thrive off of sugar. Once sugar is consumed it interacts with these bacteria to produce acid, which attacks teeth and promotes tooth decay.
Eating sugar gives your body a quick boost of energy. But after that brief surge, you’ll start to feel drowsy; especially if you’ve just eaten a huge piece of chocolate cake. When you eat a lot of sugar, your blood glucose (amount of sugar in the blood) rises almost instantly. To restore balance, the pancreas releases large amounts of insulin, signalling your cells to use the sugar as fuel. The result is reactive hypoglycemia … and fatigue.
Contrary to popular belief, sugar doesn’t help us stay alert. In fact, researchers have discovered that sugar reduces alertness for 60 minutes after consumption.
Sugar and vitamin B just don’t mix. When you consume sugary foods, your body has a hard time absorbing vitamin B, a nutrient that greatly influences mood. Vitamin B deficiency can actually make you feel more depressed, especially if your daily sugar consumption is high.
Every time you eat sugary foods, sugar particles rush into your bloodstream. To restore balance, your cells activate, release water, and send thirst signals to your brain. When this happens, you can only think about one thing: a large glass of water.
When you eat sugary foods, your pancreas releases insulin. This hormone’s job is to restore blood sugar levels. How? It moves sugar from your bloodstream into your cells. Once inside your cells, unused glucose is stored as fat, a process that promotes weight gain.
Consuming moderate amounts of sugar is not usually considered a risk factor for headaches. This is not true, however, if you consume excessive quantities of sugar. Too much sugar increases insulin levels and can provoke a sudden drop in blood sugar, resulting in headaches.
Regular sugar consumption causes glycation, a chemical reaction that prompts skin to age prematurely. Skin becomes less flexible and elastic, which promotes the emergence of new wrinkles and accentuates existing ones. Skin also becomes drier and appears more drawn.
Persistent sugar cravings
Sugar addiction is sometimes compared to a roller coaster. When you eat sugary foods, your blood sugar levels increase before suddenly dropping as your body releases insulin. Lacking energy, you look for foods that will quickly recharge your batteries – sugary foods – thus repeating the cycle.
Regular bouts of diarrhea
Sugar, namely fructose, is not your intestines’ best friend. If you ingest large amounts of sugar-laden foods, your intestines will likely expel more water and electrolytes than usual, and will eventually succumb to diarrhea.
When you eat lots of sugar, your blood glucose levels fluctuate wildly, which has a strong influence on your mood. In short, it can make you feel bad, and anxious people may actually see their symptoms worsen. In a study targeting elderly adults, researchers noticed that the subjects suffering most from anxiety were also those who primarily ate foods rich in saturated fat and sugar.
Using sugar to relieve stress
Do you reach for sweets every time you feel stressed? Perhaps you should look for a better way to calm down. While sugar can provide short-term comfort, it’s definitely not the best option for stress relief. You may even become more stressed than before.
If you regularly suffer from insomnia, you should take a look at how much sugar you eat. Difficulty sleeping has been linked to refined sugars. One study showed that a diet rich in high-glycemic foods is a risk factor for developing insomnia, while eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables improves sleep issues.
Eating too many desserts
If you can’t leave the table without eating a sweet dessert, you’re probably consuming too much sugar. Choose fruit instead, eat more slowly, or rethink your diet
Sugary foods, which are usually low in fibre, only calm hunger pangs for a short time. In fact, one study has shown that consuming fructose interferes with appetite control. In other words, the more sugary foods you eat, the hungrier you get.
Several studies have shown a direct link between high-fat and high-sugar foods and inflammation in the body. People with arthritis should avoid sugar for this reason. Consuming sugary drinks has also been associated with rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis.
Sugar is a natural diuretic, meaning you’ll urinate more often if you consume large quantities. Why? Sugar reduces the amount of water reabsorbed by the kidneys. What’s more, if your blood sugar levels become too high (hyperglycemia), sugar will enter your urine (glycosuria) and even more water will be expelled, meaning that the washroom will soon become your favourite room in the house.
High blood pressure
While salt is known to raise blood pressure, the real culprit may be sugar. In one study, researchers found that consuming fructose increased blood pressure.
About 15 to 30 minutes after ingesting sugar-laden food, your body releases cortisol and epinephrine, two hormones that boost your heart rate and blood pressure, making you sweat. If you eat sugary foods all day, your system has to continuously fight this stress, which causes sustained perspiration.