How much sugar do you eat every day? The American Heart Association’s recommendation for most people is no more than 100 daily calories of added sugar for women and 150 calories for men. That works out to 6 teaspoons for women or 9 teaspoons for men.
That may sound like a lot, but sugar hiding in everyday foods adds up quickly. On average, a person eats 17 teaspoons of sugar daily, which adds up to 57 pounds for the year. Foods such as salad dressing, pasta sauce, yogurt, and cereal bars are often high in sugar.
You probably think of weight gain when you consider the bad effects of sugar, and while weight gain is bad for your health, it’s not the only consequence of a high-sugar diet. That sweet white substance can affect other areas of your health, too.
Some of the side effects include serious health problems and diseases. If you feel like you’re addicted to sugar, educating yourself on those dangers of sugar can help convince you to break the habit.
Weight Gain and Obesity
Are your pants feeling a little snug? That could be due to high amounts of refined sugar in your diet. A diet high in sugar can cause you to gain weight, even if you regularly exercise.
Added sugar bulks up the calories in your food without giving it any nutritional value. It may give you quick energy initially, but the sugar wears off quickly, leaving you feeling tired. Eating sugary foods increases your calorie intake without any lasting benefits.
When you eat sugar, it makes you want even more sweet foods or drinks. That increases your calorie intake with more things that aren’t nutritionally valuable. Those sugary foods can also make the hormone leptin, which helps you know when you’re full, less effective, leading to more overeating.
Sugar may not directly cause heart disease, but it can cause problems in the body that increase the risks of heart disease. Obesity is one of the major factors in developing heart problems. Sugar may also increase your blood sugar, blood pressure, triglycerides, and inflammation, which can contribute to heart disease.
Type 2 Diabetes
Every year, 1.5 million Americans receive a diabetes diagnosis. Another 84.1 million Americans 18 and older are considered prediabetic. Sugar contributes to your type 2 diabetes risk.
Certain Types of Cancer
Gum Disease and Dental Problems
Sugar can cause health damage as soon as it enters your mouth. It contributes to tooth decay because acid-causing bacteria feed on the sugar and demineralize your teeth.
Sugary foods that get stuck in your teeth, such as sticky or hard candy, increase the chances of cavities even more. Brushing your teeth after eating or drinking sweets can help, but it can be difficult to remove all traces of sugar.
Sugar gives you a temporary mood boost because of the dopamine rush it causes. That’s why some people eat sugar to cope with stress. But the sugar can negatively impact your mood over time.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy and calm. Sugar decreases the brain’s serotonin production. If you already have a tendency toward depression or mood issues, sugar can make them worse because of that imbalance in the brain.
Mental Bad Effects
Consuming sugar can affect your cognition, slowing down your brain functioning, possibly due to inflammation in the brain. That can affect your daily activities in many ways.
Skin and Cellular Aging
You can’t avoid wrinkles and other signs of aging completely, but dietary choices can accelerate your body’s aging process. Too much sugar in your diet can have an aging effect on your skin and cells.
The bad effects of sugar reach to nearly every part of your body and health. It’s difficult to cut added sugar out of your diet, but slowly cutting back and replacing those foods with more nutritious options can improve your overall health.