Who doesn’t love to sit down with a bowl of Halloween candy or a huge plate of dessert at Thanksgiving and Christmas? Like anything you eat, sweets need to be consumed in moderation. Sugar does occur naturally in fruits, vegetables and grains, and that’s fine. When you consume too many foods with added sugar, you can run into several health problems.
If you eat a piece of fruit, you do get sugar but you also get other nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals that keep you healthy. Added sugar, like what you find in candy and desserts, only gives your body extra calories. Whether sugar is added to your food by manufacturers, chefs or you, the excess sugar is not good for your physical and mental health.
What Too Much Sugar Does to Your Body
Joint pain: Sugar has an inflammatory effect on your body, so ingesting too much added sugar can make joint pain worse. In addition, studies have shown that too much sugar can lead to rheumatoid arthritis.
Skin problems: All that inflammation makes your skin age faster. Artificial and processed sugars break down collagen and elastin, the proteins that keep you looking youthful.
Heart disease: Consuming excess sugar can raise your blood pressure and increase triglycerides, a fat in your body that clogs arteries and leads to heart disease. When you consume a lot of sugar quickly, it raises your blood glucose. Having consistently high blood glucose will eventually lead to heart disease, obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.
Increased body weight: Speaking of obesity, it also is a side effect of consuming excess sugar. Many products loaded with sugar also have lots of calories. That is a very unhealthy combination that leads to obesity.
Other effects of consuming too much sugar include increased risks of depression, cancer, acne, fatigue and more. Consuming small amounts of sugar occasionally is not harmful at all, but as you can see, overindulging on added sugars can be very harmful.
Here are a few tips to help you cut back on those sweets:
• Cut out sodas and other beverages sweetened with sugar. Instead, try adding lemon, cucumber or other fruits to your water.
• Instead of candy or cookies, satisfy your sweets cravings with a protein shake, sugar free popsicles, sugar free jello or berries.
• Read ingredient labels! Added sugar can be found in everything from bread to spaghetti sauce. Here is our blog on how to read a nutrition label.