What Does Sugar Do to Your Body? 7 Dangerous Side Effects of Sugar!

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Today we're going to talk about what sugar does to your body and I will give you seven dangerous side effects of sugar. Now, sugar is sweet but it can have several sour side effects when it comes to your health. The American Heart Association recommends that women have a maximum of 25 grams of sugar per day and that men have a maximum of 36 grams. Yet, the average American eats 88 grams of sugar each day and this can be for many reasons.

Why Do We Have Sugar Cravings?

One, sugar tastes good. Also, sugar causes stimulation of your pleasure center by causing a high release of dopamine. Sugar can also give you a quick burst of energy, it can cause short-term satisfaction when you're feeling hunger pains, and even if you're trying to cut back on sugar, many people don't realize that some savory foods like bread, and tomato sauces or protein bars can be loaded with added sugar and it's not always obvious. What is clear is that eating excess added sugars can have long-term detrimental effects on your health. So let's talk about it.

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What Does Sugar Do to Your Body?

Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that is found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, and grains. When consumed, it is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and used as a source of energy by the body. However, consuming too much sugar can have negative effects on the body. Our bodies thrive on a balanced diet, and although sugar can provide a burst of energy in the short term, it can be detrimental to your health in the long run. Eating too much sugar causes spikes in our glucose levels, which can lead to insulin resistance and even put you at risk for type 2 diabetes. Consuming excessive amounts of added sugars also increases the risk of chronic diseases such as obesity and heart disease. Therefore, it is important to limit your intake of added sugars and focus on consuming foods that are naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

what does sugar do to your body

Types Of Sugar

Now, when you think about sugar there are natural sugars such as those found in whole vegetables, whole fruits, or grains. These aren't the sugars we'll be talking about today because, with natural sugars, they're also paired with fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients, and they lead to a slow release of energy that we need.

The sugars I'm talking about are the added sugars, like table sugar, which is glucose plus fructose which makes sucrose, or the high fructose corn syrup which you'll find on labels of processed foods or when you're eating things like donuts, ice cream, candies,  and drinking sodas. These sugars can have poor side effects on your health.

It's important to be a label watcher and to understand what you're looking for on those labels because oftentimes if you're just looking for the word sugar or even fructose or corn syrup you could miss other added sugars like carob syrup, high fructose corn syrup, brown sugar, or agave nectar. You have to really beware to know that just because it doesn't say fructose or sugar, it still could be a form of added sugar. It is recommended that less than 10% of your daily calories come from sugar but most Americans eat far, far more than that. So let's talk about why we should have a reduced amount of added sugars in our diets.

 7 Dangerous Side Effects of Sugar

1. Weight Gain

When you eat these added sugar calories, the sugar can be converted to fat and you can gain weight. Specifically, you can gain belly fat or get abdominal obesity. And that makes sense, you're eating high-calorie foods, high sugars they turn to fats. But it's actually a little more complex than that because one thing that happens when you're eating these simple sugars, is you have an insulin surge, and when that insulin surges, it causes that sugar to be drawn into your cells. When that happens, you go from having a sugar high to a sugar crash and you get reactive hypoglycemia, meaning a reactive low blood sugar, which makes you hungry. So even though you're consuming a lot of calories, you're still hungry for more which makes you eat more calories and gain weight.

side effects of sugar

Also, when you're dealing with liquid calories like the high sugars that are in sodas or in very sugary coffee drinks. This will cause you to drink but not be full at all. For example, if you think about a 20-ounce bottle of soda, it can have up to 65 grams of sugar, but it doesn't fill you up, and so you'll drink it. You'll activate that pleasure center of dopamine, which will make you crave more and more sugar and so you could be drinking these liquid calories, not getting full, and then still going back and eating more, and this can lead to weight gain.

Let's put it in perspective. If you think about a 12-ounce of regular soda, it has about 10 teaspoons or 42 grams of sugar. If you drink one 12-ounce soda a day without cutting back calories in other places, then over three years you can gain 15 pounds. Excess sugar can lead to weight gain.

2. Tooth Decay

Sugary treats may be tasty and satisfying, but they can have serious consequences for your oral health.  Sugar feeds bacteria and so when you eat a lot of sugar and that sugar is stuck to your teeth, the bacteria are able to proliferate and grow. These bacteria then leave excess acid on your teeth and this acid leads to a weakening of the enamel which can lead to tooth decay. When left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain, difficulty eating, and even infection. To avoid these problems, it is important to consume sugary foods only in moderation and practice regular dental hygiene habits such as brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

3. Diabetes

Having a high-sugar diet can lead to diabetes mellitus Type 2. If you have a diet that is high in blood sugar, it can lead to obesity, specifically abdominal obesity and if you have abdominal obesity, that can cause a decrease in your insulin sensitivity, meaning that the insulin in your body does not work as well to keep your blood sugar low, therefore it can lead to high blood sugar or diabetes.

Also, having excess blood sugar can cause your pancreas to ultimately not make enough insulin. Patients with diabetes are also at high risk for living with obesity, high blood pressure, and many other illnesses.

side effects of sugar

4. Heart Disease

When you have a diet that is high in added sugar, it can lead to dyslipidemia or hypercholesterolemia, or high cholesterol. It can cause an increase in the bad cholesterol or the LDL and a decrease in the good cholesterol, the HDL. It can also cause a spike in triglycerides. All of this can lead to you having atherosclerosis.

This high cholesterol can stick to inflamed blood vessels which can cause a blockage of vessels in the heart leading to heart attacks or a blockage of blood vessels in the brain leading to strokes. Be sure to watch my video on the dangers of cholesterol after you finish reading this article.

5. Fatty Liver Disease

Yes, eating a diet high in sugar, high in fruit juices, cakes and candy can cause the liver to convert the sugar into tiny droplets of fat. This is called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. And what happens is that these tiny droplets of fat in the liver can lead to inflammation and swelling in the liver, and over time it can cause scarring and even cirrhosis and liver failure.

6. High Blood Pressure or Hypertension

Can you believe it? Eating a diet high in sugar can lead to high blood pressure. What happens is that when you eat a diet that's high in sugar and you're having excess insulin surges in the body, the insulin can cause blood vessels to be rigid or inflexible, which can lead to hypertension. Also, high blood sugar can increase your risk for diabetes.

Diabetes is the number one cause of kidney disease. Kidney disease can lead to high blood pressure, so there are different pathways. Another thing is just the high blood sugar in and of itself, in some cases, can cause the kidneys to hold onto salt and water, which leads to high blood pressure.

Be sure to download your copy of my book. It's called Under Pressure. It's your step-by-step guide on how to control high blood pressure. This book is packed with valuable tools, guidelines, and information to help you to control high blood pressure. Click here to get your copy today.



7. Mood Swings

Diets high in sugar can lead to mood swings because the sugar can interfere with your body's natural production of serotonin and this can lead to anxiety, depression, and irritability. There have been several studies that link high sugar intake to anxiety and depression. And in one study, in particular, there were about 8,000 participants watched for over 22 years, and one correlation that they found was that men who ate 66 grams of sugar per day, had a 23% higher chance of having depression than men who ate 40 grams of sugar or less over a five year period.

sugar cravings


This list is certainly not exhaustive. There are many, many dangerous side effects of sugar. The key is to be a label watcher and make sure you're not tricked by the different names of added sugar and try to reduce the sugar that you eat. If you do have sugar, make sure you brush your teeth right after or rinse your mouth with water in order to avoid tooth decay.

Also, try to eat several small meals during the day, like small high-protein snacks. Or if you're eating carbohydrates, make them complex carbohydrates from whole fruits or from whole vegetables, and grains. Eating carbohydrates that will be absorbed slowly as opposed to giving you those sugar rushes and the sugar crashes. Be sure to consult with your physician in all things medical that you decide. If you found this article to be helpful and informative, please be sure to share it with the people you care about.

Dr. Frita - Frita McRae Fisher, M.D.
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