How Sugar Is Harming You And What To Do About It?

How Sugar Is Harming You And What To Do About It?

As it is rightly said, excess of anything can be bad for you! Similarly, where sugar supplies a steady source of energy to your body, excess of the same can have negative health effects. Whole foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains etc. have natural sugar. Your body digests such sugar slowly and naturally, hence your body gets a steady supply of energy. Added sugar, on the other hand, come in products like packaged food and drinks and are not essential for your body in any way. 

Easier said than done- sugar is hard to resist and harder to avoid. With its steady addition over the years to more and more processed foods, today nearly 77% of the products on grocery store shelves contain some form of sugar. Here we will be talking about how too much sugar consumption is harming your body and how you can avoid it.

How Much Is Too Much?

Women should consume no more than 6 teaspoons (25 grammes) of added sugar a day, whereas men should consume no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grammes). According to the dietary reports, an average person consumes 13% of his daily calorie requirement from added sugar i.e. in a 2,000- calorie diet, there’s an extra 260 calories every single day. In reality, every woman, child and man is eating 2-3 times that recommendation. 

Daily Recommended Added Sugar Intake

Here is the recommended added sugar intake a person is required to follow:

Age GroupSugar Intake (in teaspoons)Sugar Intake (in calories)
Toddlers (age 1-3)3-4 48-64
Children (age 4-8)5-880-128
Girls and Women (age 9 and above)696
Boys and Men (age 9 and above)9144

Added Sugar’s Not-So-Sweet Effects on The Body

1. Obesity- Rates of obesity are rising worldwide and added sugars are believed to be the main cause behind that. Fructose, a form of simple sugar, is abundant in sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas and juices. Fructose, rather than glucose, increases the appetite and need for food, resulting in weight gain. Instead, you can try having jaggery. You can easily purchase jaggery online. It’s thought to be more nutrient-dense and healthy than sugar.

2. High blood sugar causes Type 2 Diabetes- Obesity which is mainly caused by consuming too much sugar is considered as the strongest risk factor for diabetes. Prolonged high- sugar consumption drives resistance to insulin which causes blood sugar levels to rise, which in turn increases your risk of diabetes.

3. May increase your risk of heart disease- High sugar diets can lead to obesity, inflammation and high triglyceride, blood sugar and blood pressure levels: all risk factors for heart disease.

4. Has been linked to acne- Sugary foods instantly increase your blood sugar and insulin levels, causing increased androgen secretion, oil production etc. all of which leads to acne.

5. May increase your risk of Cancer- Consuming too much sugar can lead to obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation, all of which combined are risk factors for cancer.

6. May increase your risk of Depression- Consuming a lot of processed foods, including high-sugar products such as cakes and sugary drinks have been associated with an increased risk of depression.

7. May accelerate the skin ageing process- Advanced glycation end products (AGEs)are compounds formed by reactions between sugar and protein in your body. Consuming too much sugar can lead to the production of AGEs, which may cause your skin to age prematurely.

8. Drains your energy- High-sugar foods can negatively impact your energy levels causing a spike in blood sugar followed by a sudden crash.

9. May lead to fatty liver- Large amounts of added sugar in the form of fructose overloads your liver, leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a condition that leads to excessive fat buildup in the liver.

10. Cavities- Dentists claim that sugar is the primary cause of cavities formed in the teeth. 

How Do You Stay Away From Excess Sugar In Your Diet?

You can easily reduce the amount of added sugar in your diet by making a few changes. If you are a sweet-tooth, you can try having Stevia, which is a natural sweetener and is about 100-300 times sweeter than table sugar but has no calories, carbohydrates or artificial ingredients (Stevia price: ranges from Rs. 175 to Rs. 350). Here’s is what you can do to avoid sugar:

Focus on whole foods, not processed onesDo not have sugary drinksUse Stevia for a zero-calorie natural sweetenerLimit solid sugars in packaged productsCarefully read sugar sources on food labels before purchasingLimit non-nutritive sweetenersTry extracts instead of adding sugarEat fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruitsInstead of sweet salad dressings, use olive oil and vinegar.

Other Health Risks

Sugar can affect your body in a variety of ways, in addition to the dangers mentioned above.

  • Damage to your kidney- Having high blood sugar levels can cause damage to the delicate blood vessels in your kidneys
  • Negatively impact your oral health- Eating too much sugar lead to tooth demineralization
  • Increased risk of developing gout- Added sugar raise uric acid levels in the blood which increase the risk of developing gout
  • Accelerate cognitive decline- High sugar diets can lead to impaired memory and have been associated with an increased risk of dementia

Bottom Line

Undoubtedly consuming too much sugar can have many negative health effects. Excessive consumption of sweetened foods and drinks can result in obesity, blood sugar issues, an elevated risk of heart failure, and a slew of other issues. Hence, added sugar should be kept to a minimum, which is easy when you follow a healthy diet based on whole food. If you want to cut added sugar from your diet, you can try some of the changes we have mentioned. Diets are hard to change but the sooner you realise the negative effects of added sugar and reduce your sugar intake, the better your body will function.

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