Sugar Overload

Signs you’re eating too much of the sweet stuff.

First there’s Halloween and then the holidays, not to mention birthday parties, treats at grandma’s house, and the food in your cupboards. You know sugar is found in cookies, candies, and sodas, but it is also hiding in your breakfast cereal, yogurt, bread, juice, and condiments. Sugar is practically everywhere, making it hard to escape. With zero nutritional value and loaded with calories, there’s no reason to eat it except for the fact that it tastes good.

The World Health Organization recommends healthy adults eat no more than 25 grams of sugar a day, equal to about six teaspoons. Since one can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar, it’s easy to see why so many consume way too much. In fact, the average person eats 22 teaspoons of sugar each day, almost quadruple the recommended amount.

Not sure if you’re eating too much sugar? Here are seven symptoms commonly experienced by people who overload on the sweet stuff.

Sugar is the new tobacco. – Cynthia Kenyon, molecular biologist

1. Fatigue

Tired all the time despite a good night’s rest? Your blood sugar may be out of whack. Sugar causes a spike in your blood sugar, giving you a quick rush of energy. Not long after, however, your blood sugar plummets and you feel dragged out. What do you crave? More sugar.

Fatigue can be a symptom of insulin resistance (a condition that can develop into diabetes), so be smart and go off sugar for a few days to see if your energy level evens out.

2. Weight Gain

People seeking to lose weight could do themselves a favor and cut sugar from their diet. Foods high in sugar are usually high in calories as well and don’t provide lasting energy. This means you’re hungry more often and end up eating too many calories.

Over time, overconsumption of sugar may cause resistance to leptin, the hormone that tells you you’re full. Feeling hungry all the time can easily lead to weight gain.

3. Crave More

You know candy is waiting for you in the cupboard and you can’t think of anything else until you eat some. Sugar is addictive. Like a drug, the more you eat the more you want. When sugar is constantly on your mind, you’re likely hooked. This is a clear signal that it’s time to cut sugars and artificial sweeteners out of your diet in order to retrain your mind.

4. High Blood Pressure

When your doctor says you’ve got high blood pressure, a diet high in added sugar may be part of the problem. This means salty foods aren’t the only no-no, but sweet foods as well. So eat wisely!

5. Skin Issues

Before you blame your dry skin, breakouts, and eczema on the weather, hormones, or allergies, you may want to consider your sugar consumption. That’s right—sugar may ruin your skin. It does it by causing inflammation in the body, which can present itself as skin imbalances. Reduce the amount of sugar you eat and see if your skin clears up.

6. Cavities

There are bacteria (good and bad) in your mouth. These microscopic organisms love to feast on sugars. The acidity produced from this feasting eats away at your tooth enamel, causing cavities and tooth decay. Left untreated, cavities can cause infection, toothache, and tooth loss. When your dentist informs you of cavities, take it as a sign that you’re eating too much sugar.

7. Depression/Anxiety

The highs and lows in blood sugar levels caused by eating too much sugar has been shown to worsen mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. When the brain doesn’t receive a steady supply of blood sugar, it isn’t able to function at its potential. Secondly, the brain is negatively affected by the inflammation caused by eating too much sugar. Reduce the sugar in your diet and see if your mood improves.

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