Despite its great tastes and uses in almost every food we love, sugar is slowly being considered an addictive substance. Research has shown that added sugars, such as those found in pastries, sweets, sugary drinks, and processed foods, are among the underlying causes of several health conditions, including weight gain, low quality of sleep, aging, and erratic gut microbes’ performance.
While the glucose present in sugar serves to energize our body cells, it is recommended to stick to natural sugars found in fruit and dairy products and the starch in wholegrain products and some vegetables.
Most people are surprised to learn the many physical ways in which excessive sugar intake can manifest itself. Did you know, for example, that inflammation can be one of those signs? So, It’s better that you keep an eye out for those physical symptoms. Your body can be an exceptional indicator that you’re over-consuming sugar.
So what symptoms come with consuming foods with high sugar amounts?
8. Muscle and joint pains
Suppose you find yourself unable to perform regular activities like gardening to walk or even exercising without difficulty. In that case, you might be experiencing symptoms of the inflammatory processes happening in your muscles and joints. When you eat food rich in sugar, your body secretes a hormone (cytokines) into your blood to break down the advanced glycation end-product (AGE) present in the sugar. The presence of this hormone in your blood is what causes inflammation in the joints, as it’s a pro-inflammatory substance.
As your sugar intake increases, the advanced glycation end-product increases, which prompts the body to release cytokines into your blood to break them down. This continuous cycle is one of the causes of heart disease, cataracts, arthritis, poor memory, and wrinkled skin.
7. Craving sweets and other sugary foods
Sugar, like most carbohydrates, starts its digestion from the mouth. That is why eating a muffin doesn’t fill you but leaves you hungry barely an hour after eating it. Research has shown that sugar has the same effects as addictive drugs. It releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in the formulation of addictive behaviors. The body releases this hormone into the bloodstream in response to a rewarding event, such as eating sugar<span data-contrast=”auto”>. It is when there’s an excess release of dopamine that we experience that euphoria feeling of highness.
Sugar is the source of energy for the brain, and this is what makes the brain see sugar as a reward. Constantly eating a large volume of sugar will only reinforce this idea and make your brain get addicted to it. Besides, a diet high in processed sugar offers no useful nutrients and won’t fill you; therefore, it’s mostly pointless eating them.
6. Constantly feeling weak, hungry, or tired
Sugar only gives you a short boost of energy; eating it will provide you with energy for a short while, after which you will experience a massive drop in energy levels. When you eat sugar, it gets converted into glucose in your blood, giving you an energy boost. The body secretes insulin to provide your cells with energy, which moves the glucose from your bloodstream to the cells, resulting in a drop in energy levels. These quick changes from high energy level to low energy level leaves you weak, sleepy, and craving for that late-afternoon sugary snack.
Eating lean proteins and healthy fats, instead of sugar, are some of the ways you can avoid these increases and decreases in energy levels.
5. Dry, itchy skin
Eating foods containing a high amount of added sugar can increase your blood insulin levels. Triggering is the process of glycation that results in the release of inflammation-producing substances in the skin. When sugar is converted to glucose in your blood, it induces a series of processes that eventually increase the activity of oil glands in your skin and cause inflammation and various skin conditions.
A high sugar diet is one of the common underlying reasons for acne flare-ups. If you find yourself unable to get rid of your acne despite several medical treatments, you might consider changing your diet. That does not necessarily mean completely stopping eating sugar, but you have to consume fewer foods that contain added sugar.
4. Weight gain
It is never a pleasant surprise when we find that the sugary snacks we had a week ago have led to weight gain around the waist. But that is one of the outcomes of eating foods with high sugar content.
The excess sugar from snacks and sweets is usually stored as fat in the midsection. A high increase in your blood sugar levels induces insulin production, which converts these excess sugars into fatty acids and stores them as adipose tissue in your belly, thighs, or hips.
3. Tooth decay
Sweet foods are one of the primary causes of tooth cavities and tooth decay. However, it is not the food itself but the lingering sugar in your mouth after eating, causing your teeth to decay. Not clearing the food debris in your mouth, either by properly brushing or digestion can cause the destructive bacteria in your mouth to release acids that erode the hard surface, resulting in cavities.
Sugary foods like candy, dry cereal, and breath mints can speed up these processes and cause decay when stuck in between your teeth. You can avoid tooth decay by maintaining the right oral hygiene.
2. Frequent colds and flu
Consuming fluids or foods high in sugar content can cause your immune system to lose its capability to attack sickness-causing bacteria. For the immune system to fight the dangerous bacteria present in the body powers its cells using vitamin C, a substance with a similar chemical structure to glucose. When your blood sugar levels are high, the immune system uses glucose instead of vitamin C, which has no power against flu bacteria. And when this happens, your immune system is dealt a mighty blow by the disease.
To avoid such a situation, reduce the amount of sugar you consume when you’re vulnerable to cold or flu. Also, eat foods rich in nutrients and vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene and zinc.
Sugar exhibits the same traits as caffeine; it disrupts your sleeping pattern and can possibly lead to insomnia. So, if you enjoy having a sugary snack late at night, then you might end up with this condition. These not only apply to late–night snacks but consuming a high amount of sugar during the day can make you wake up in the middle of the night. These lead to a cycle of consuming much sugar to stay energized throughout the day after losing sleep the previous night.