Our bodies have ways of informing us when they experience difficulties functioning due to our dietary or life choices. One instance when such warnings may occur is when we ingest too much sugar, which can have a highly detrimental effect on our well-being.
Here are six signs indicating that your diet is too rich in sugar and that you need to take measures in order to preserve your health.
Scientists have found similarities between irresistible sugar cravings and drug addiction, so it is no surprise that most people find it hard to quit sugar.
Addiction works in a cycle of cravings and rewards so when we consume sweets, the brain rewards us with pleasure which is then linked to eating sugar. When trying to quit, eat foods that keep you satiated, such as oats, potatoes, lentils, and bananas.
Tooth decay is often a result of the development of bacteria in the oral cavity. These bacteria create acids that break down the two layers of the teeth, enamel, and dentin and lead to decay and cavities. More recent studies have shown that the daily sugar intake should be less than 2-3%.
In addition to sweets and candies, tooth decay might also be caused by the consumption of pasta and bread and even healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables high in carbohydrates, fructose, and glucose.
3. Stomach problems
Sugar negatively affects the gut flora, leading to an imbalance in the intestines and damage which causes inflammation and insulin resistance.
High sugar intake also impedes the function of the digestive system. Fructose can contribute to the so-called “leaky gut” condition in which substances are allowed to pass through the small intestine and enter the bloodstream. Moreover, it can lead to inflammation of the liver which increases the chance for pancreatic, colon, and liver cancers.
To prevent such issues before they occur, eat food rich in fiber to help with digestion.
Sugar also influences the quality of collagen and elastin, the two proteins which provide strength and elasticity to the skin.
Sugar stimulates a process known as glycation which happens when glucose and fructose bond to other proteins and lipids. Skin ages due to the contact of these sugars and proteins, and sugar speeds up this process.
5. Visceral fat
Sugar has its effects on the accumulation of fat in the body, mostly in the abdominal area and around the internal organs.
A study which estimated the effects of sugar on fat accumulation divided participants into 4 groups, with each group receiving one type of drink, including regular sweetened cola and diet coke. The regular cola led to the highest accumulation of visceral, liver, and skeletal muscle fat, and highest levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
Children between the ages of 2 and 9 who eat processed foods and foods high in refined sugar are at an increased risk of developing chronic inflammation later in life, compared to children who consume mostly vegetables and fruits, according to studies.
Researchers have also found that prolonged consumption of beverages with high-fructose content, like sodas and packaged juice, leads to gout in women. One study that analyzed 80,000 women for more than 22 years, found that their intake of at least one serving of high-fructose beverages daily led to a 95% chance of developing gout.