10 Lesser-Known Side Effects of a High Sugar Diet
It’s definitely not an earth-shattering revelation that sugar is an incredibly unhealthy addition to most modern-day diets. You’re probably already aware that a simple sweet tooth can cause weight gain, a spike in blood sugar levels, and a risk of heart disease, all while eroding that very sweet tooth itself (and your other teeth too). And yet, despite these warnings, the world is consuming more sugar than ever before, with these carbohydrates being added to almost everything including ketchup, bread, and peanut butter.
Unfortunately, the only way to be safe is to check food labels, and while this may seem like a laborious task, it could also result in a much longer and happier life for you.
To offer some extra incentive, here are 10 lesser-known negative effects that sugar has on your body (that you might not have ever known about!):
Jump to section
While the direct link is still being established, there is much evidence to support the idea that obesity and diabetes increase the risk of cancer development, including those of a pancreatic, breast, colon, and liver variation. One theory suggests that sugar feeds all cells including the cancerous ones, helping them to multiply more rapidly.
There are several reasons as to why your depleted mood may be directly related to your sugar intake. First of all, a sugary diet promotes inflammation, while depression itself is often referred to as an inflammatory disease. Furthermore, the blood glucose spike and ultimate fall can leave someone feeling lethargic and unequipped to face the day.
3. High Blood Pressure
Along with many other health concerns, obesity can also lead to an increased level of glucose in the system. This may cause an accumulation of fatty substances in your vessels, which in turn, will restrict the blood from reaching the heart properly. Following this, a rise in your blood pressure is inevitable. Of course, a good blood pressure monitor is key in ensuring that there is nothing to worry about, so visit your doctor or purchase your very own kit to get an accurate reading at home.
4. Aging Skin
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are proteins or lipids which react directly based on your sugar intake. These AGEs result in a myriad of undesirable consequences including the progression of degenerative diseases and premature aging. This is because they damage your elasticity and natural collagen, which causes your skin to sag and lose its coloring, adding years onto your face.
5. Liver Disease
What many people don’t know is that sucrose (otherwise known as table sugar) consists of 50% glucose and 50% fructose. This is important to note, as your cells have very little use for fructose and the vast majority of it gets sent directly to the liver to be broken down. For these reasons, the evidence is high that a liver overloaded with fructose may lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Sugar has been shown to spike the dopamine levels, which is the feel-good chemical usually associated with the brain’s reward system (such as enjoying a meal or sex). Similar effects are reported during the use of various illegal narcotics, such as cocaine, ecstasy, and marijuana. These conversations have unveiled enough evidence to consider sugar addiction to be a plausible term.
7. Alzheimer’s Disease
As the evidence continues to associate a high-sugar diet with type 2 diabetes, it has also come to light that Alzheimer’s disease can be aggravated by this condition too, proving that dietary changes are essential in reducing the risk. Diabetes itself also weakens the blood vessels, which can cause mini-strokes in the brain, leading to dementia in later life.
Another condition which is worsened by AGEs is the progressive disorder known as arthritis. The influence of sugar on the joints is a lengthy list and includes such items as increased inflammation, weakened bones, and uric acid build up (which is a common catalyst for a gout attack).
While sugar may not be a direct cause for anxiety, it can severely worsen the symptoms. Panic attacks are often described as a messy mixture of blurred vision, heightened alert, and confusion, all of which can also occur during a spike in sugar levels. What’s more, the inevitable sugar crash can cause additional stress and discomfort.
10. Inflamed Gums
It’s no secret that sugar rots the teeth. Any child can tell you that. But besides the fact that a sugary diet feeds plaque and causes tooth decay faster than any other food type, it is also important to note that gum disease is involved here too. Known as gingivitis, your inflamed gums can then progress into periodontitis. This is where the tissue breaks down and your teeth become loose, often requiring removal.