Sugar can be found in unexpected foods, such as spaghetti sauce or peanut butter.
Today, many people choose to eat processed foods for meals and snacks. The amount of sugar in these dishes is accumulated, accounting for the large amount of calories they consume each day.
In the United States, the percentage of added calories in foods compared to the total calorie intake accounts for 17% for adults and 14% for children (1).
Nutrition recommendations often recommend that we limit this to less than 10% per day (2).
Experts believe that excess sugar is the main cause of obesity and many other chronic diseases (e.g. diabetes).
The following are 11 negative effects from consuming too much sugar.
1. Causing weight gain
Sugar in processed foods, especially from sugary drinks, is considered to be one of the major causes for the worldwide increase in obesity rates.
Sugary drinks like soft drinks, juice and sweet tea, milk tea and tea often contain lots of simple fructose.
Compared to the glucose commonly found in starchy foods, consuming fructose will cause hunger and cravings (3).
In addition, consuming excess fructose can cause resistance to the hormone leptin, which is an important hormone that plays a role in controlling hunger and ordering the body to stop eating (4).
In other words, sugary drinks will make us feel fuller for longer. Therefore, we will continue to load more calories through the liquid. This can lead to weight gain.
Scientific studies have consistently shown that people who regularly drink sugary drinks like soft drinks, tea, milk tea and juice will have a higher weight than people who don’t drink sugary drinks (5). ).
Also, drinking too much sugary soft drinks can increase visceral fat. This type of fat is associated with conditions like diabetes and heart disease (6).
Bottom Line: Consuming too much added sugar in foods, especially soft drinks, can make you more likely to gain weight and cause visceral fat storage.
2. Increased risk of cardiovascular disease
A diet high in sugar is linked to an increased risk of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease – the world’s leading cause of death (7).
Research results suggest that a diet high in sugars can lead to factors that promote the development of cardiovascular disease such as obesity, inflammation and triglycerides, blood sugar and abnormal blood pressure (8).
Excess sugar consumption, especially from sugary soft drinks, has been shown to be linked to atherosclerosis – a disease caused by fatty plaques clinging to artery walls that block them (9). .
A study of over 30,000 people found that those who consumed 17-21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% greater risk of heart disease than those who only consumed 8% (10).
1 can of 473 ml soda can contain up to 52 grams of sugar. If you need to consume 2,000 calories a day, a can of soda provides you with more than 10% of your daily calorie intake (11).
This means that as long as you drink a sugary beverage every day, the amount of sugar you consume will exceed the recommended threshold.
Bottom Line: Consuming too much added sugar. Increases the risk of cardiovascular disease such as obesity, high blood pressure and inflammation. Scientists have demonstrated a relationship between high-sugar diets and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
3. Skin problems
A diet high in refined sugars, including sweetened foods and drinks, is thought to increase the risk of acne formation and inflammation.
Foods with a high glycemic index (e.g., confectionery, etc.) will cause your blood sugar to rise faster than foods with a low glycemic index.
Sweet foods cause your blood sugar and insulin levels to jump, which in turn promotes androgen secretion, oil production and inflammation. These are all contributing factors to acne (12).
Scientific studies have shown that a diet with a low glycemic index can reduce the likelihood of acne, while a diet with a high glycemic index increases this ability (13). .
Specifically, a study conducted on 2,300 teens found that those who consumed added sugar regularly were 30% more likely to suffer from inflammatory acne (14).
In addition, many population studies have found results: residential areas that consume a lot of traditional, unprocessed foods will have an almost zero rate of acne when compared to other regions. Urban areas have higher incomes (15).
The results of this study overlap with the hypothesis: a diet with lots of processed foods with added sugars is one of the factors that causes acne development.
Bottom Line: Consuming too much sugar can increase the secretion of androgens, increase oil production and the likelihood of inflammation, which can make your skin more susceptible to acne.
4. Increased risk of diabetes
Over the past 30 years, obesity has more than doubled around the world (16).
Consuming excess sugar has been shown to be one of the direct causes of this problem.
Obesity is often the result of high sugar intake and is considered one of the main risk factors for diabetes (17).
Moreover, the continued consumption of excess sugar will make the body resistant to the hormone insulin. This is a hormone produced by the pancreas for the purpose of regulating blood sugar levels.
When the body is insulin resistant, blood sugar will be higher and increase your risk of obesity.
A population study in more than 175 countries has shown that for every 150 calories we consume from sugar (the equivalent of 1 can of soda), the risk of developing diabetes increases by 1.1% (18).
Other studies have also shown that people who consume sugary drinks, including juice, are more likely to develop diabetes (19, 20).
Bottom Line: A diet high in sugar can lead to obesity and insulin resistance, thereby increasing the risk of developing diabetes.
Learn more about type 2 diabetes through the article: Men and type 2 diabetes
5. May increase the risk of cancer
Excess sugar accumulation in the body can increase the risk of developing some cancers.
A diet high in sugary foods will lead to obesity, increasing the risk of cancer (21).
In addition, a diet high in sugar increases the body’s risk of inflammation and insulin resistance. These two consequences both contribute to an increased risk of developing cancer (22).
A study of 430,000 people confirmed a link between added sugar consumption and an increased risk of esophageal, pleural and small bowel cancers (23).
Another study found that in women who consumed a lot of pastries more than 3 times a week, the risk of developing endometrial cancer was 1.42 times higher than women who consumed this food less than 0.5 times. / week (24).
Currently, there is a lot of scientific research on the relationship between added sugar and cancer being done so we can better understand this complex correlation.
Bottom Line: High sugar intake can cause obesity, insulin resistance and inflammation, which increases the risk of cancer.
6. May increase the risk of depression
A healthy diet will help you improve your mood. Conversely, a diet high in sugar and processed foods can make you more susceptible to depression.
The positive association between the consumption of many processed foods, including sugary foods like cakes, soft drinks, etc., and the risk of depression have been confirmed (25, 26).
Researchers believe that blood sugar changes, neurotransmitter disorders and inflammation are all the result of excess sugar consumption (27).
A scientific study conducted on 8,000 people over 22 years proved that men who consume 67 grams or more of sugar per day face a 23% higher risk of developing depression than those who do. Consume less than 40 grams of sugar per day (28).
Another study, involving 69,000 women, found that those who consumed more added sugar had a higher risk of developing dread disease (29).
Bottom Line: Excess sugar and processed foods may increase the risk of depression in both men and women.
7. Can promote skin aging process
No matter how healthy our bodies are, we still face aging. In particular, wrinkles are the earliest sign.
However, an unhealthy diet can make wrinkles look worse and promote skin aging.
Sustainable glycation products (AGEs) are organic compounds generated by the interaction between sugars and proteins in the body. They are thought to play a major role in skin aging (30).
When we eat a diet high in refined starches and sugars, the amount of AGEs is produced more, which leads to skin aging earlier (31).
AGEs will damage the protein structures that determine the skin’s elasticity and youthfulness such as collagen and elastin. By that time, our skin will lose its firmness and start to sag.
One study found that women who consumed more carbohydrates and added sugar were more likely to have wrinkles than those with a high-protein, low-starch diet (32).
Since then, researchers have confirmed that limiting carbohydrate consumption is linked to younger skin (32).
Bottom Line: Sugary foods will increase the production of AGEs, causing skin to age faster and wrinkles appear earlier.
8. Can promote cell aging
Telomeres are structures at the ends of chromosomes – genetic material containing our entire genetic code.
Telomeres act as a protective cover for chromosomes from dissipating or merging.
As we get older, automated telomeres become shorter, aging and altering the function of cells (33).
As with skin aging, we cannot avoid shortening of telomeres. However, unhealthy lifestyles can make the aging process faster.
Consuming sugar above the recommended level will accelerate telomere shortening, thereby increasing cell aging (34).
A study conducted on 5,309 adults showed that people who regularly drink sugary drinks may have shorter telomeres than others and earlier cell aging (35).
More specifically, participants who consumed 591 ml of freshwater, aged 4.6 years faster than others (unaffected by other events) (35).
Bottom Line: Consuming too much sugar can accelerate telomere shortening, promoting cell aging.
9. Causing fatigue
Added sugars in foods cause blood sugar and insulin levels to rise rapidly, creating a sense of energy. However, this feeling will soon disappear.
Foods high in sugar but low in protein, fiber or fat can quickly replenish us with energy but will soon lead to a drop in blood sugar soon after. This is often called hypoglycemia (36).
If the blood glucose level in the body changes this way, there is a high chance that the energy level will change accordingly (37).
To avoid falling into such an energy cycle, choose sources of starch that are high in fiber and low in added sugars.
Additionally, combining carbs with protein or fat is a great way to help stabilize your blood sugar and energy levels.
For example, a snack of 1 apple and 1 handful of almonds would be an excellent choice to help you keep your energy levels stable for a while.
Bottom Line: Sweet foods can cause rapid rise and fall in blood sugar, which negatively affects your energy levels.
10. May cause fatty liver
Scientists have shown that unusually high fructose consumption is closely linked to the risk of fatty liver disease.
While glucose and many other sugars are absorbed by many types of cells throughout the body, fructose can only be broken down by the liver.
In the liver, fructose is converted into energy or stored as glycogen.
However, glycogen storage capacity of the liver is limited. After a while is stored in the liver, the excess glycogen is turned into fat.
When you consume large amounts of fructose, the liver gets overloaded, leading to fatty liver problems that are not caused by alcohol (NAFLD). This pathology develops due to the high accumulation of fat in the liver (38).
A study of 5,900 adults found that people who drink sugary drinks daily have a 56% higher risk of developing NAFLD than others (39).
Bottom Line: Excessive sugar consumption can build up fat in the liver, leading to fatty liver and liver diseases that are not caused by alcohol.
11. Other health risks
In addition to the above-mentioned harms, sugar can also negatively impact the human body in many other ways.
Scientific studies have proven that consuming too much added sugar may:
• Increased risk of kidney disease: Prolonged high blood sugar can damage the blood vessels in the kidney, thereby increasing the risk of kidney disease (40).
• Negative effects on dental health: Eating a lot of sugar and sweets can cause tooth decay. Bacteria in the oral cavity use food as sugar and remove acids that erode minerals in the teeth (41).
• Increased risk of developing gout (gout): Gout is an inflammation that causes painful joints. When you consume extra sugars, your blood uric acid level will increase, facilitating the progression of gout (42).
• Promoting cognitive decline: A high-sugar diet can damage memory and is linked to dementia (43).
New studies and findings on the effects of added sugars on the human body are still developing day by day.
Bottom Line: Consuming too much sugar has a negative effect on cognitive ability, gout, caries and kidney damage.
How to cut back on sugar?
The excess sugar in processed foods causes many negative effects on health.
Although small amounts of sugar consumption will not affect health. You should still skip the high sugar foods whenever possible.
To do this most naturally, you just need to choose unprocessed foods as the basis of your diet.
Here are some tips to help you easily cut back on sugar:
- Drink water or unsweetened soda instead of soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices and sweet tea.
- Drink unsweetened black coffee or use a non-calorie sugar (eg Stevia).
- Add berries (fresh or frozen) to unsweetened yogurt for extra flavor, instead of eating extra sugary yogurt.
- Eat fruits instead of sugary smoothies.
- Replace candies with home-made trail mixes with fruit, nuts and dark chocolate.
- Using olive oil and vinegar to make a salad instead of commercially available sauces may contain added sugars.
- Choose marinades, nut butters, ketchup and spaghetti sauce without added sugar.
- When choosing to buy breakfast cereals and granola, prioritize those containing less than 4 grams of sugar per serving.
- Replace industrial breakfast cereals with oats, which can be served with nut butter and fresh fruit, or omelets and greens.
- Arrange thin slices of banana on a peanut butter sandwich instead of using fruit jam.
- Prefer natural nut butter instead of sugary bread spreads like Nutella.
- Avoid using alcoholic beverages that are sweetened with soft drinks, juice, honey, sugar and agave syrup.
- When shopping at the supermarket or supermarket, choose fresh, unprocessed foods.
- Besides, keeping a daily diary of foods is also a way to help you identify the main source of sugar in the current diet.
- The best way to avoid consuming added sugar is to prepare a healthy meal at home. At that time, you will limit yourself from eating foods high in sugar.
Bottom Line: You can easily reduce your sugar intake by cooking your own nutritionally balanced meals. And limit your consumption of processed foods and added sugary foods.
Consuming too much sugar has many negative effects on health.
Using a lot of sugary foods and drinks can cause weight gain, blood sugar problems. And increase the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as many other dangerous diseases.
For these reasons, you should limit your intake of processed foods. This will be easier if your diet includes only whole, unprocessed foods.
You can try the small changes suggested in the article to cut back on the sugar in your diet.