7 harmful effects of sugar on your health

Sugar has a high glycemic index and, therefore, excessive consumption of this ingredient increases blood glucose levels, hindering the production of the hormone insulin and causing harm such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, excessive sugar consumption is also linked to an increased risk of other diseases, such as obesity, cavities, fatty liver and cardiovascular disease.

There are different types of sugar, such as refined, brown and demerara, which can be added to juices and coffees, for example, or be present in processed foods, such as soft drinks, ice cream and cakes.

Main harmful effects of sugar

The main health hazards of excessive and regular sugar consumption are:

1. Obesity

Because it is a high-calorie ingredient, excessive sugar consumption stimulates the production of fat cells that accumulate in the body, facilitating the gain of body fat and obesity. Learn about other causes of obesity .

Furthermore, the presence of sugar on the tongue and in the intestine stimulates the central nervous system, increasing the feeling of reward and potentially encouraging the ingestion of more sugar.

2. Type 2 diabetes

Excessive sugar consumption increases blood glucose levels and gradually reduces the production of the hormone insulin in the body, thus causing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

3. Fatty liver

Sugar is an ingredient rich in fructose, a type of carbohydrate that is mainly digested by the liver. Therefore, excessive sugar consumption promotes inflammation and increases the formation of fat cells in this organ, causing fatty liver .

4. Cardiovascular diseases

Sugar consumption promotes high blood pressure because it increases the levels of uric acid in the blood, a substance that inhibits the action of nitric oxide in the body. Since nitric oxide helps to relax blood vessels, balancing blood pressure, the inhibition of this substance in the body can cause high blood pressure.

Furthermore, excessive sugar consumption can also cause inflammation in the blood vessels and increase triglyceride levels in the blood, favoring the onset of diseases such as atherosclerosis, stroke or heart attack.

5. Cavities

Sugar promotes the growth and multiplication of bacteria in the mouth, which ferment this ingredient, altering the pH of the teeth and causing cavities. Learn about other causes of tooth decay .

6. Gout

Because it is rich in fructose, sugar increases uric acid levels in the blood, which can cause gout, an inflammatory disease that affects the joints, causing symptoms such as swelling and pain when moving the joint. Learn more about what gout is .

7. Dysbiosis

Sugar consumption can cause dysbiosis , an imbalance in the intestinal flora caused by an increase in the number of “bad” bacteria and a reduction in “good” bacteria in the intestine, which can weaken the immune system, increase gas production and cause diarrhea, for example.

Foods high in sugar

Some examples of foods high in sugar are:

  • Homemade desserts:cakes, puddings, jellies and sweets;
  • Industrialized beverages:soft drinks, boxed juices and powdered juices;
  • Industrialized sweets:chocolates, ice cream, gelatins, cookies, condensed milk;
  • Ready-made sauces:ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and salad dressings.

In addition to natural sugar, such as refined, brown or demerara sugar, some processed foods may also contain artificial sugars, such as maltodextrin and sucrose. Therefore, it is important to always check the food label to see if it contains sugar or not. See how to read food labels .

Recommended quantity

The World Health Organization recommends that daily sugar intake should be less than 10% of the total caloric value of the diet. A person on a 2,000-calorie diet should consume less than 50g of sugar per day, which is equivalent to 2 tablespoons of refined sugar, for example.

However, the World Health Organization recommends that sugar intake be less than 5% of the total caloric value of the diet as being ideal for maintaining health and avoiding disease.

How to reduce your sugar intake

To reduce your sugar intake, you can initially choose to use natural sweeteners, such as stevia, xylitol and thaumatin to sweeten juices, coffees, natural yogurts, for example. Learn about other natural sweeteners .

However, it is best to consume foods and beverages without added sugar or sweeteners. Therefore, one option to accustom your palate to the natural flavor of foods is to gradually reduce the amount of sugar in your diet until you get used to it.

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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