Are You Eating Too Much Sugar?
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that provides energy for our bodies. Sugar occurs naturally in fruits and vegetables and is added during food processing. Foods with added sugar are usually sweeter than foods with natural sugar.
You may not realize it, but sugar is hiding in some of your favorite foods. You’re probably still consuming more sugar than you need, even if you’re avoiding the obvious offenders—sodas, juice, and candy. Excess sugar can cause various health complications, including obesity and tooth decay, so it’s important to be aware of the potential dangers. Here are a few signs that you might be eating too much sugar:
One big sign that you’re eating too much sugar is if your body craves it all the time. Sugar is addictive, so that you can experience its cravings just like any other drug. If you have intense cravings for candy or sweet drinks even when you’re not hungry, that’s a good sign that you might have an unhealthy relationship with sugar—and your body may be telling you to cut back.
Fatigue is another common symptom of excess sugar intake. If you’ve been feeling tired even though you’re getting enough sleep, your diet may contain too much sugar. When people get too much sugar, their bodies release insulin to help process the glucose in their bloodstreams.
Have trouble losing weight?
Sugar might be the culprit if you’re having trouble losing weight despite making healthy food choices. Sugar can cause inflammation—which could lead to bloating and fluid retention—and can also wreak havoc on your hormones, which can throw off your metabolism.
Feeling anxious or depressed?
Sugar has been shown to affect the levels of serotonin in the brain. When this happens, it causes the body to release insulin, which then causes you to feel tired or depressed. Sugar can also irritate or exacerbate some people’s anxiety levels, especially if they already suffer from anxiety disorders.
You’re craving more sweets.
The more sugar you eat, the more your body gets used to it and craves it. We become addicted to sugar because the excess glucose in our bloodstream causes a release of dopamine in the brain, which is what gives us that good feeling when we eat something sweet. That same reward system gets activated when we drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes. So if you find yourself needing more and more sweets to get that same sugary high, there’s a problem.
You’re Not Sleeping Well
Sugar is a stimulant and spikes your energy, so it’s no surprise that it can also affect your sleep. One study found that people who ate a high-sugar diet slept worse than those who ate a low-sugar diet. The researchers found that the spikes in blood sugar from eating sugary foods disrupt sleep patterns by affecting the body’s internal clock (which regulates your sleep-wake cycle).
Your Skin Breaks Out
Acne is another side effect of sugar’s effects on hormones and inflammation. High blood sugar levels raise insulin levels, encouraging the skin to produce more oil. When this happens, bacteria and dead skin cells can clog pores, causing breakouts. The excess oil also makes existing acne lesions swell up more, leading to more redness and pain.
Getting gas or diarrhea?
Gas and diarrhea are common side effects of eating too much sugar. When your body breaks down sugar, it causes the buildup of hydrogen in your colon. Hydrogen combines with other gases to form methane and hydrogen sulfide, making their way through the gastrointestinal tract, causing gas and diarrhea.
Sugar is well-known for causing gastrointestinal issues in general, and in particular, sugar alcohols like sorbitol and xylitol can cause a lot of intestinal discomforts. The problem with sugar alcohols is that humans do not fully digest them. They act as an osmotic laxative, drawing water into the intestines and creating GI distress.
Tired after meals
If you feel tired after eating a meal, it could be because your body is working to digest all that sugar; therefore, your body is experiencing a sugar crash. Your body works hard to process the foods you consume—especially when those foods are full of sugar by releasing insulin to cope with the quick influx of sugar. The more sugar you eat, the more work your body has to do to digest it. That work can actually make you feel like you’re in a food coma. To avoid this afternoon slump, try cutting some sugary foods out of your diet and replacing them with healthier options such as protein, fresh fruit, or nuts.
The human body responds to sugar intake in a very predictable way. This makes its consumption so addictive and, therefore, so dangerous. If you are concerned that you are eating too much sugar or have any reason to believe that you are, you can do many different things to offset these concerns and limit your intake.
Sugar is everywhere, and it’s only getting worse. The average American consumes three t0 13 teaspoons of sugar per day(now that’s easy to do with all the hidden sugars we unknowingly consume), or 133 – 393 grams (390 calories) per week. You can see how destructive this can be over time if not controlled properly. If you don’t think you eat too much sugar, these warning signs might cause you to think twice.