Sweet Poison. How Does Too Much Sugar Affect Your Body?

Chances are you are already aware that too much sugar isn’t good for you! Even though you know this, are you still overdoing it? According to our most recent national nutrition survey, Australian’s consumed on average 60 grams or 14 teaspoons of added sugar a day. This equates to almost 22 kilos of added sugar a year. It is recommended we are only having 6 teaspoons of added sugar a day. 

What are the added Sugars?

Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This does not include naturally occurring sugars such as those found in milk and fruits. Soft drink, lollies, baked goods, tomato sauce, protein bars, and chocolate are some examples of the foods where added sugars can be found. 

What are the most common names for sugar?

Sometimes added sugars can be hard to spot on a food label as there are over 60 different names it can be listed as. Corn syrup, agave nectar, palm sugar, fruit juice, sucrose, golden syrup, honey, brown rice syrup, glucose, and barley malt are just a few examples of what it can be listed as on a label. 

No matter what it is called, sugar is sugar and it can negatively affect your body in many ways. Here are some ways your body is affected by too much sugar. 

Your Brain

Eating sugar makes you feel good as you get a hit of dopamine. You start to crave sugar as the brain needs more and more sugar to get the feeling of pleasure. 

Your Mood

The chocolate bar or handful at lollies at 3pm can give you a quick energy burst. However, when you get the dreaded sugar crash it could leave you feeling jittery, anxious and with a headache! Studies have also linked high sugar intake with a greater risk of depression in adults.

Your Pancreas

When you eat, your pancreas pumps out insulin. But if you’re eating way too much sugar and your body stops responding properly to insulin, your pancreas starts pumping out even more insulin. Eventually, it becomes overworked and will break down. This will cause your blood sugar levels to rise, setting you up for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Your Liver

Eating too much sugar may lead to NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease), a condition in which excessive fat builds up in the liver. 

Your Body Weight

This isn’t anything new to you however the more sugar you eat the more likely you are to put on weight. 

Your Teeth

Your mum was right, sugar can rot your teeth! Bacteria that cause cavities love to eat sugar lingering in your mouth after you eat something sweet.

Your Joints

Eating lots of sugar has been shown to make joint pain worse because it drives inflammation. 

Your Skin

Eating loads of sugar on a regular basis can make acne worse or increase your risk of acne. It can increase androgen secretion, oil production, and inflammation. Another side effect of inflammation it may make your skin age faster. 

I am totally guilty of eating some cake every now and then. Having the occasional sweet treat is ok, however its when that treat turns into an everyday thing or multiple times a day is when it can really start to affect the body. Write down everything you eat in a week and add up the added sugar you are having, you may get a shock!

Burn Out | Nutritionist

If you're having trouble with the your sugar cravings and food choices and would like more guidance and support to help you feel better, please contact me here as I'd be happy to have a face to face consultant with you if you're in Brisbane, or I also connect with people from around Australia and the world via Skype sessions too.