Many of your favorite foods and drinks come with added sugar, and sometimes it’s so sneaky that you may not even realize you’re consuming sugary calories. While added sugar in smaller quantities is usually harmless, it’s the heavy consumption of it on a regular basis that can contribute to some health complications.
“Added sugar increases inflammation in the body, which in turn will present itself in a variety of negative side effects. This inflammation is caused by added sugar stimulating the liver’s production of free fatty acids. These free fatty acids trigger the inflammatory process in the body as it fights to ward off this production. Chronic inflammation like this is harmful to the body in the short and long term,” says Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements.
If this is happening in your body, it may start to send signals that something is off. Here are some of the subtle signs you may be consuming too much added sugar in your diet.
One of the first signs you may notice in your body if you’re eating too much sugar is weight gain.
“Notice a higher number on the scale? It could be because you’re eating too much sugar. High sugar can disrupt metabolism and can damage the ecosystem of our gut microbiome. A healthy gut helps regulate blood glucose and insulin levels, so when you’re eating too much sugar, you’re forcing that ecosystem to over-work and expect more sugar to keep those balances in check. The moral of the story is, the more sugar you eat, the more your body thinks it needs, which makes you more hungry, weight gain,” says Courtney D’Angelo, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and author at Go Wellness.
It’s also important to note that eating foods high in sugar are not going to leave you feeling satisfied or give you the nutrients your body needs.
“Added sugar is a source of empty calories, meaning it provides calories only and no beneficial nutrients. Products that have added sugar are higher in calories and lower in nutrient quality, which when consumed often can result in weight gain,” says Best.
Unfortunately, consuming sugary foods and drinks over time on a consistent basis can lead to pain in your body.
“Your chronic pain and stiffness may be the result of consuming too much added sugar. This is due to the inflammation that added sugar causes in the body because it is a highly inflammatory ingredient,” says Best.
Sugary foods will leave you feeling hungry and wanting more, so it’s important to notice how satiated you feel after a meal.
“Sugar is usually high in calories, so when you’re done eating it, your body may feel full (for a short period of time at least.) The body burns through sugar quickly because it lacks any real nutrients such as proteins, fiber, and healthy fats. As your body burns the sugar it ramps up the hunger strikes, causing compulsive snacking, mindless eating, and ultimately more sugar,” says D’Angelo.
And lastly, eating too much sugar may contribute to higher blood pressure in some people.
“If you’ve noticed an increase in your blood pressure, you may be consuming too much added sugar. Added sugar raises uric acid in the body, which in turn inhibits nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide (NO) is necessary to keep the blood vessels flexible and when there is a decrease of NO in the body blood pressure will rise,” says Best.
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