Effects of Sugar in the Body

Sugar occurs naturally in all foods that contain carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy.  It is incorporated in our diet throughout all of time.  The commonly consumed top sources of sugar in the diet are soft drinks, fruit drinks, cakes, candies, and processed foods. 

Our sugar intake provides a steady supply of energy in our cells.  However, problems arise when we consume excessive amounts of sugar. 

The following are some of the potential negative effects of excessive sugar intake in the body:

Excess consumption of sugar, specially those from beverages, contributes to weight gain since it turns off the appetite-control system, because liquid calories are not as satisfying as calories from solid foods.  In addition, it causes a spike in insulin levels, which promotes the storage of fat as well.

A high sugar diet can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which the body is unable to respond to insulin.  This predisposes an individual to develop Diabetes.

  • Predisposition to Cardiovascular disease

Studies have found that those with a higher intake of calories from added sugar had a higher risk of developing heart diseases such as heart attacks, stroke, and heart failure.

  • Increased risk of Chronic inflammation
  • Increased risk of developing a fatty liver
  • Causes tooth decay

Bacteria that cause cavities love to eat sugar left after consuming something sweet.

  • Addicting

Sugar gives the brain a surge of a feel-good chemical called Dopamine.  Given that whole foods such as fruits and vegetables do not cause the brain to release much dopamine, the brain starts to need more sugar to get the same feeling of pleasure.  This causes the “gotta-have-it” feelings we experience.

Overall, it is important to consume sugar in moderation and to choose healthier sources of sugar, such as fruits and vegetables, instead of processed foods and drinks that are high in added sugars.

While excessive sugar consumption has negative effects on the body, it is worth noting that sugar provides the brain and body its needed energy to function.  In addition, it is a good mood booster, with the rush of dopamine in the brain that is triggered with sugar intake. 

It pays to be informed

Overall, sugar can have some positive effects on the body when consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet. However, it’s important to be mindful of the amount of sugar consumed.

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