Our favorite treats, snacks, and drinks often have a lot of sugar in them – and let’s be real: That’s why we love them! But, as you probably know, sugar is not an ingredient associated with good health. Below, we’ll discuss some of the short-term and long-term effects of over-indulging in sugar, and why it’s best only consumed in moderation.
Studies have shown a correlation between excess sugar consumption and depression. Sugar can trigger chemical imbalances in the brain, which can be destructive to mental health. Sugar also is linked to inflammation, which is linked to depression.
Sugar cross-links two collagen fibers that render them unable to repair easily, reducing the skin’s elastin. This can damage your complexion and increase your susceptibility to wrinkles and other signs of aging. As mentioned, sugar is also linked to inflammation, which can aggravate acne, rosacea, psoriasis, and other skin conditions.
Researchers studied whether taking a walk versus consuming sugar gave you more energy, and you may not be surprised to learn sugar was less effective. That energy boost, or “sugar high,” from sugary snacks depletes rather quickly, significantly increasing fatigue while also increasing tension. Sugar can also affect your body’s ability to stay in deep REM sleep, leading you to feel tired even after a full night’s rest.
Sugar thickens and stiffens the walls of the arteries, which stresses the heart. Over time, this can cause irreparable damage, leaving you more susceptible to heart disease, heart failure, heart attack, and stroke.
Processed sugars are high in fructose, which is difficult for the liver to process, causing excess strain on the organ. When fructose breaks down in the liver, it turns into fat, leading to diseases like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).
The pancreas naturally releases insulin; however, when the body has an abundance of sugar in its system, it will increase its insulin production. This can strain the pancreas, preventing it from producing enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in check, leading to type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of heart attack.
For anyone suffering from diabetes, excess sugar may cause complications to kidney function. When the kidneys have too much sugar in them, they are unable to properly filter out waste and begin releasing it into the urine. This can lead to kidney infection or, worse, permanent kidney damage.
I have always known sugar is bad for you but to what extent I didn’t realize. It affects me very negatively. I feel awful, especially if I overdo it. I also have RLS and my legs suffer a lot when I eat sugar.