Today, we’ll be discussing 7 signs you are eating too much sugar. While it’s normal for your body to crave sugary foods, it’s also very crucial to eat a balanced diet. A balanced diet is one that contains an adequate amount of all the nutrients needed by the body to grow and function properly. These nutrients include fats, fiber, water, protein, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates.
Although sugar is a good source of energy, its consumption in excess can lead to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc. Furthermore, added sugars do not contain beneficial nutrients and therefore should be consumed in small amounts.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting calories from added sugars to less than 10% of the total calories per day. For example, if you consume a 2,000-calorie daily diet, that would be 200 calories or 50 grams of added sugar per day.
Read on if you want to know whether your sugar intake is in excess. In this article, I have listed 7 signs you are eating too much sugar and why you should avoid too much sugar in your diet.
That said, let’s get started!
1. Constant Hunger, Fatigue, and Low Energy
Do you always feel hungry and think about the next meal, even when you just finished eating? Do you still feel low energy after eating large portions of a meal? Well, it could be a sign that you are eating too much sugar. Foods with high sugar content are usually empty calories and do not offer any nutritional value to your body. Moreover, your body requires nutritious foods for optimum nourishment and health.
When you’re always eating excess sugar, you’re likely to get hungry more rapidly. This makes you energy-deprived since your body doesn’t get the adequate energy it requires. Also, you will easily doze off even on the couch after consuming a bowl of chocolates, sweets, candies, pizzas, and carbonated drinks. Sugar dissolves and digests easily.
“Sugar is a very quick energy source, so regardless of how much you eat, in 30 minutes you’re going to feel hungry again, low on energy, or looking for energy again,” Keri Stoner-Davis (Lemond Nutrition, Texas) says. Large swings in blood sugar and insulin can also cause energy levels to plummet and affect your overall energy level, Dr. William Li (author of Eat to Beat Disease) says. Limiting sugar intake in your diet and including more fiber-rich veggies, lean protein, fruits, and fat in your diet will save you a lot.
2. Face Wrinkles and Outbreak of Acne
If you’re always battling acne or notice your face is starting to age early and getting wrinkles, it could be a sign that you’re eating too much sugar. This happens because “advanced end glycation products” are produced in the body when there is excessive sugar in the blood. Wrinkled face and body acne happen as a result of bacteria, clogged pores, and inflammation, but sugar consumption can also lead to acne.
Sugar causes hormonal imbalance in the body, producing excess androgens. These androgens can also lead to clogging of pores, increased sweat production, and excess hair growth. So, if you notice that you are struggling with years-long acne or just saw a recent breakout that is unusual, you should visit the clinic to run some tests to check your blood sugar levels.
If you’re battling acne, it may be wise to consider checking your sugar intake; your solution may be there. “Glycemic control plays a significant role in skin health and acne,” Jessica Cording (Health Coach, NY) says. Another study still suggested that insulin resistance may influence the development of acne.
3. High Blood Pressure
There can be many reasons for a high BP, but hyperglycemia tops all these reasons. Excessive sugar intake is the number one leading cause of high blood pressure. Most diabetic patients also have high blood pressure. Eating too much sugar doesn’t just make you weak; it also damages your blood vessels in the long run. Adding too much sugar to your diet can be a major contributor to why you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension.
According to research, consuming sugar-sweetened beverages has a significant role in high blood pressure and a higher incidence of hypertension. High levels of glucose can damage the lining of one’s blood vessels, making it easier for lipids like cholesterol to stick to the walls of the blood vessels. “When that happens, you get hardening of the blood vessels. When your blood vessels get hardened, your blood pressure goes up,” Dr. Li says.
Products containing sugar can cause injury to vessels that trigger inflammation. It even forms plaques in the blood vessels, making the blood flow hard and thus raising the blood pressure. To get rid of high BP, limit your sugar intake to no more than 6 teaspoons a day. Adopt a healthy lifestyle with daily exercise and healthy meals.
4. Weight Gain and Obesity
If you’re constantly gaining weight and your clothes are becoming tighter day by day, it can be a sign that you are eating too much sugar. When you consume high amounts of sugar in your diet, excess of this converts into fat and is stored around the abdomen.
Excess fat causes insulin resistance, which is a condition where your body does produce insulin but your cells don’t respond to that insulin. Insulin also plays a role in storing fat in your body. This cycle begins when you start to eat too much sugar.
Sugar can affect the hormones in the body that control a person’s weight. This hormone, leptin, tells the brain that a person has had enough to eat. However, according to a 2008 animal study by Trusted Source, a diet high in sugar may cause leptin resistance. This probably means that, over time, a high-sugar diet prevents the brain from knowing when a person has eaten enough. However, researchers have yet to test this in humans.
5. Cravings for Sweets
A super craving for sweets can be a sign that you are eating too much sugar. You can only feel good after you’ve tasted the sweets. This can make you addicted to the feel-good effects that sugar has on your brain. Sugar targets the brain’s pleasure center known as the Mesocorticolimbic Pathway, triggering a rise in the so-called “happy hormone” also known as Dopamine, Cording says.
This sensation in the brain plays a significant role in the food choices we make, including the addictive cravings for sugar and sweet things. Just know that eating sugar increases dopamine, which can raise itself and increase sugar cravings, leading to a vicious cycle, according to research. While eating sugar creates satisfaction, it also makes your brain release happy hormones, a.k.a., “dopamine.” After the release of dopamine, your body craves more sugar, and this process becomes a vicious cycle for you.
The good news is that focusing on small meals and snacks composed of real, whole foods and eating regularly can help those cravings improve, Stoner-Davis says. We all have a sweet tooth, and that’s fine, but there are sugar-free options that are healthy for your body and satisfy these cravings.
You can break free by cutting your sugar cravings and replacing them with a better option, like fruits or a whole healthy meal. It can be risky at the beginning, but eating a balanced diet with all the food groups, fiber, and protein will help you curb sugar cravings and save you a lot.
6. Tooth Decay
Another of the 7 signs you are eating too much sugar is tooth decay. It’s a known fact that sugar feeds bacteria that live in the mouth. When these bacteria digest the sugar, they create acid as a waste product. This acid can erode tooth enamel, leading to holes or cavities in the teeth. Anytime you eat or drink something with a lot of sugar, the sugar molecules combine with the saliva and bacteria in your mouth, leading to plaque on your teeth.
When this plaque is left on your teeth, it can dissolve the enamel and cause cavities and gum disease. Research has shown that sugar intake is currently one of the leading causes of dental issues like tooth decay, poor oral health, and cavities in adults and children. People who frequently eat sugary foods, particularly in between mealtimes as snacks or in sweetened drinks, are more likely to develop tooth decay, according to Action on Sugar, part of the Wolfson Institute in Preventive Medicine in the United Kingdom.
7. Indigestion and Insomnia
Having to constantly deal with digestive issues and battle insomnia is a sign that you consume too much sugar. If you’re having stomach pain, cramping, or diarrhea, there may be many causes to blame, and your doctor can help you get to the bottom of your symptoms. Too much sugar, a known gut irritant, is one of the possible culprits, Cording says.
Plus, for those with underlying health conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis, or for those who have had stomach surgery, sugar can also exacerbate gastrointestinal symptoms, Stoner-Davis says.
If high-sugar foods are replacing fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which offer fiber in your meal, constipation can be a problem, too. High sugar intake can cause one to have trouble sleeping well. Studies have shown that when people consume high amounts of sugar, they battle insomnia and feel very restless. High-carbohydrate diets increase tryptophan (which promotes sleep) and suppress Orexin (which is responsible for alertness), which makes you doze off.
In this article, I have successfully shown you the 7 signs you are eating too much sugar. It’s wise to be mindful of what you eat. Ensure you eat a balanced diet to stay healthy, as health is wealth. Reducing your sugar intake might be challenging at first, especially when it has become a habit; however, with determination, you will succeed. This will help you beat cardiac arrest and other cardiovascular diseases.
Moreover, all sugars are not the same, and not all sugars are bad. There is fructose found in fruits and vegetables and lactose found in dairy-rich foods. These are just natural sugars; they shouldn’t give you much concern as they come from natural sources and are even rich in fiber and calcium.
You should be more concerned about sugars often found in processed foods like candy, cookies, pastries, ice cream, soft drinks, etc., which most of us consume daily.