Let’s not sugarcoat it — the truth is that sugar has a dark side. The typical American eats about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day — more than double the recommended daily amount of added sugars. Part of the problem is that many people are unaware of the amount of sugar they’re consuming. Recognizing hidden sugars can be confusing. By reading food labels and making some healthier choices, you can reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, thereby supporting the long-term health of your body and brain. If being healthy is not good enough of a reason, consider the following 4 effects consuming too much sugar will have on your body and your overall health.
1. Reduces Cognitive Functions
Excess sugar consumption not only negatively affects your body but also your brain. When you consume a steady high-fructose diet, your brain’s ability to learn and remember information is altered. And eating too much fructose could block the ability of your body’s insulin to regulate how your cells use and store sugar for energy needed to process thoughts and emotions. Add foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and canola oil, to your daily diet to help minimize sugar’s damaging effects.
2. Promotes Heart Problems
Consistent sugar consumption is bad for your heart’s health. Heart failure is responsible for the death of 5 million Americans a year, and approximately 550,000 new patients are diagnosed with heart failure a year. According to University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, eating too much sugar can lead to heart failure. G6P — a glucose molecule used the metabolism process — causes stress to the heart, which leads to poor pump function, resulting in heart failure. Eat a healthy diet that is low in sugar and saturated fat to support your heart’s health.
3. Contributes to Weight Gain
Obesity is on the rise in America, and the problem may be the increase in sugar consumption. Sugar — more specifically fructose — drives fat storage. It also makes your brain think it is hungry, which sets up a vicious cycle. Most processed foods, fast foods and sodas are packed with sugar in one form or another. Check food labels for various forms of hidden sugar, including high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, lactose, sucrose, fructose, maltose, glucose, molasses and granulated sugar.
4. Encourages Tooth Decay
Sugar can play havoc with your teeth. When you consume sugary foods and beverages, the sugar combines with saliva and bacteria to become glycoproteins — combinations of carbohydrate and protein molecules, which then adhere to your teeth and begin forming plaque. Certain bacteria then go through a metabolic process that results in the formation of lactic acid, which dissolves the calcium phosphate in the tool enamel, resulting in the start of a cavity. To help prevent plaque buildup and cavities, brush and floss frequently, eat a diet rich in calcium and avoid sugary foods.