With all of the mouth-watering treats that tempt us on the daily, it’s not always easy to say, “no” to temptation. Nevertheless, we all know that eating too much sugar is not good for us — but just how bad is your sweet tooth, really?
When people talk about ditching sugar, they mostly worry about their waistline, but this is just one of the many dangers of consuming too much of the sweet stuff. Here, we take a look at what sugar does to your body and all the surprising ways in which it can impede your health and well-being.
One of the most discernible effects of eating too much sugar is that it tends to pack on the pounds. Sugar contains an incredible amount of calories in a tiny serving, with zero nutrients to be found. It’s therefore easy to overeat sugar and consume way more calories than you otherwise would, which of course, leads to weight gain.
Raised blood sugar levels and diabetes
Weight gain is only one of the possible outcomes from eating too many sugary treats. Eating too much sugar, especially if you’re also obese or overweight, can also lead to insulin resistance. This is when your cells struggle to absorb glucose from the blood and turn it into energy, which forces the pancreas into overdrive to produce more insulin. Alas, the excess insulin ends up in our blood stream instead of cells. Depending on the level of blood glucose, this scenario causes pre-diabetes or type-2 diabetes, which can wreak havoc on your organs and health.
Sugar is the bane of dental health, and a common culprit behind cavities and tooth decay. Sweet, sticky sugar lingers on your teeth where bacteria feeds on it and produces acid that destroys enamel. Aside from eating less sugar, make sure to brush and floss twice daily to avoid nasty dental issues.
Addiction and cravings
One of the main reasons behind sugar’s allure is the surge of feel-good brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine that occurs in our brain when we eat it. Interestingly enough, our brains responds to sugar in a similar way to another white powder — cocaine. Our body often craves more after the initial high. Some medical professionals have even started recognizing and treating sugar consumption as a type of addiction. If you find that your cravings are out of control, and you simply have to have something sweet, you may want to try going cold turkey for a month to wean yourself off your sugar dragon.
Moodiness, spikes and crashes
When you eat sugar, your insulin levels spike as your body makes an effort to regulate blood sugar levels. Once the effects wear off, however, you experience a dramatic blood sugar drop, which can leaves you drained, lethargic and irritable. Serious sugar eaters often complain that they feel chronically tired and sluggish. Couple this with a lack of essential nutrients like protein and fibre, and the situation only turns from bad to worse. Reach for natural sugars in fruits or natural energy boosters instead.
One study found that sugary drinks have the unsettling power to degrade your body on a cellular level, effectively aging you much like cigarettes. Your favourite can of soda is actually the opposite of an elixir of youth; it affects and strains almost every part of our organism, which cannot pump all the over-saturated blood through blood vessels. Organs like your kidneys, brain, eyes, and heart are usually first to be affected by this siege. Increased risk of stroke and liver failure is just one of the terrible consequences of eating too much sugar. If you’re on the vain side, it can also make you look older, too.
In his book, 10 Minutes/10 Years: Your Definitive Guide To A Beautiful And Youthful Appearance, dermatologist Dr. Fredric Brandt claims that you can turn the clock back 10 years by simply reducing your sugar intake. “In a nutshell, sugar hastens the degradation of elastin and collagen, both key skin proteins. In other words, it actively ages you,” says Dr Brandt.
Cut back on the sweet stuff
The recommended daily intake for the average person is just 25 grams of added sugar a day. That works out to be just 100 calories. The average person, however, consumes more like 75 to 100 grams of added sugar a day.
The negative impact of sugar goes way beyond weight gain. If you feel like your sugar cravings are taking control of your life, try our 7-day cut the sugar challenge. You may want to keep up the challenge for another week… then the full month. Who knows? You might even kick your sugar habit for good.