When you reach for that morning donut or afternoon candy bar, do you know what chain reactions you’re setting off within your body? Sugar impacts your body in so many different ways, it can be hard to keep track of them all. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of many of the unfortunate ways sugar affects your body.
1. Blood Sugar Matters
One of the earliest ways that the sugar you eat impacts your body is by elevating your blood sugar levels. Your blood sugar impacts your mood, energy levels, cognitive function, and overall health. Blood sugar levels that are too high, too low, or too frequently fluctuating can make you feel unwell, unstable, and unable to function.
2. Sugar Causes Systemic Inflammation
Inflammation in the body is linked with a variety of health problems, and sugar is one of the worst offenders when it comes to chronic and systemic inflammation. Eating sugar causes an inflammatory response in the body, and over time this can lead to or worsen joint pain, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, skin problems, cancer, depression, and more.
3. Sugar Ages Your Skin and Destroys Your Teeth
If you need an appeal to vanity, sugar negates much of the hard work you do to stay young and look your best. You’ve probably been told since you were a kid that sugar rots your teeth, and there’s lots of evidence to back this up. Sugar damages enamel, causes cavities, promotes bacteria in the mouth, and makes your teeth more susceptible to stains and yellowing.
Sugar is also enemy number one when it comes to youthful, glowing skin. Sugar damages collagen and DNA telomeres, resulting in skin tissue that is less elastic, more acne-prone, more visibly wrinkled, and slower to heal.
4. Sugar Causes Weight Gain
On the obvious level, many foods that are high in sugar are high in calories, and eating too many high-calorie foods leads to weight gain. Taking things a step further, however: eating sugar changes how your brain and body are wired, making you crave those sugary foods even more. This promotes cycles of overeating, binging, weight gain, frustration, and an unfortunate pathway to obesity.
The links between sugar consumption and obesity are ever-growing, and obesity comes with a whole host of its own negative consequences. These can include increased risk for stroke, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, chronic pain, mental illness, and all causes of mortality.
5. Sugar Damages Organs
Organs of the human body don’t do well when overloaded with sugar.
- Eating too much sugar can make your body more resistant to insulin, meaning your pancreas has to work harder to produce enough insulin to meet your body’s demands. This can put too much stress on the pancreas and cause problems (like diabetes) down the road.
- When blood sugar levels get too high, your kidneys can’t process it all and start spilling sugar into the urine. In cases of diabetes, the effect of high blood sugar on the kidneys can cause even more long-term damage.
- High levels of sugar consumption can also cause liver damage. Sugars can cause fatty buildup and can be as damaging to your liver as alcohol.
6. Sugar Increases Disease Risk
For many people, some of the scariest effects that sugar has on your body are the ones associated with increased risk for many diseases. Some of the diseases whose risks are increased by excessive sugar consumption include:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart disease
- Type II diabetes
- Erectile dysfunction
- Liver disease
By cutting sugar out of your diet, your body benefits in so many different ways, and your health improves while your risk of disease decreases.