If there was a dangerous, highly addictive substance that you were being exposed to every day, you’d want to take precautions against it, right?
Though you may not feel the negative effects of sugar after eating a bowl of ice cream or sipping a sugary latte, the slippery slope into sugar addiction can be devastating to your health.
Many of the deadliest diseases in the modern era originate from excess sugar intake. Since sugar availability is abundant, you should take your sugar intake seriously to avoid succumbing to such diseases.
To protect yourself from the harmful effects of sugar, be proactive in reducing the amount of sugar you consume and understand the consequences your body faces if you choose not to.
Is a Little Sugar Really That Bad?
While a moderate sugar intake is not that bad for you, excess sugar can have devastating effects on your health.
Your body is hardwired to seek sugar. Sugar provides you with instant energy and survival, therefore, it’s only natural that many people struggle with a sweet tooth. However, the amount of sugar in most American diets is far too excessive to be good for our health.
Digesting sugar can do a number on your body. Obesity and diabetes are two of the most common consequences of excess sugar consumption. The following graphic shows the toll sugar can take on your body:
In our modern, western diets, almost all food contains sugar. If you’re not careful, you could be consuming an excess amount of sugar that damages your health.
When it comes to consuming too much sugar, obesity and diabetes are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential health difficulties.
Diseases Caused by Excess Sugar Intake
Although sugar isn’t strictly a poison, it can still wreak havoc on your body. While sugar is not a direct cause of death, researchers have found that excess sugar consumption correlates with many deadly diseases. This correlation may make it more dangerous than other substances because it can make many people feel that it is less harmful than it is.
Heart Disease / Stroke:
Not only does consuming empty calories from sugar deprive your body of essential nutrients, but it can also increase the factors that lead to heart disease or strokes.
Excess sugar can lead to a build-up of fatty acids in the bloodstream, commonly referred to as plaque. As the plaque accumulates, it restricts blood flow. When blood flow is blocked to an essential organ like the brain or the heart, it can damage that organ. The resulting heart attack or stroke can be deadly or cause permanent damage to the body.
High cholesterol is often a precursor to heart attacks or strokes. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) is the bad type of cholesterol. It builds up in your arteries over time like wax.
High-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL) is often known as the “good” kind of cholesterol. It assists in removing LDL in your bloodstream and taking it back to the liver. Consuming copious amounts of sugar will increase LDL and decrease your levels of HDL.
The development of Type 2 diabetes is mostly dependent on diet and lifestyle. Eating excess sugar can disrupt normal insulin production in the body. When the pancreas stops producing enough insulin or when the body’s cells stop responding to it, the body will struggle to effectively regulate blood sugar levels. Over time, these elevated blood sugar levels cause individuals to become diabetic. In addition to the impact sugar has on insulin production, sugar also contributes to weight gain and increased body fat which ultimately puts individuals at greater risk for diabetes.
Your gallbladder lives beneath your liver and stores bile, which aids in digestion. Hardened bile (gallstones) and inflammation can plague the gallbladder if it contracts a disease.
If you’re experiencing problems breathing on a frequent basis, cutting back on the sugar you consume could help relieve your discomfort.
High blood sugar combined with low insulin levels can leave a person feeling out of breath. This could be a symptom of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which is a precursor to diabetes and which requires urgent medical attention.
The physical effects of sugar on your body will also likely affect your mental health. Researchers have identified a correlation between refined carbohydrates and depression. In the context of sugar addiction, this correlation can make it difficult for individuals with depression to stop using sugar to treat their symptoms.
Sugar and refined carbs also cause inflammation in the body, which is linked to depression. It can also contribute to loss of appetite, heightened pain sensitivity, and irregular sleep patterns. These symptoms can exacerbate symptoms of depression.
While sugar itself is not a carcinogen, it can contribute to factors that increase a person’s risk of getting cancer.
Individuals who consume a lot of refined sugars are at an increased risk of contracting or prolonging the effects of cancer. Sugar leaves the body more vulnerable to illness and weakens the immune system.
The Bottom Line
To protect yourself from the harmful effects of sugar, be proactive in reducing the amount of sugar you consume and understand the consequences if you choose not to.
When you make your health your top priority, you’ll find the motivation to reduce the amount of sugar you consume, despite its addictiveness. You’ll have to be proactive, though, since it’s all too easy to consume more sugar than your body needs. Be mindful and check the labels of what you’re consuming to see just how much sugar is in the foods you buy.
If you need help creating a lifestyle with less sugar, be sure you talk to one of our life coaches to create healthy habits.
How do you reduce your cravings for sugar? Let us know in the comments!