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How Sugar Affects Your Body & 16 Harmful Effects of Sugar on Our Body?

Sugar treats are always delightful as they ignite your senses, boost your mood by releasing plenty of dopamine beyond your imagination. Sugar is required by our body to be honest but in a limited and moderate amount and too much of sugar in diet can lead to several health issues directly shifting you from your sweet home to scary hospitals. It is important to have an idea about how sugar affects your body, both positively and negatively.

How Sugar Affects Your Body?

How Sugar Affects Your Body?

Sugar loaded foods are undoubtedly irresistible but can be deadly and addictive too. Sugars can cause obesity, diabetes, hypertension and even dental problems. It is true that sugar have no essential nutrients but are the empty calories. Sugars don’t have protein, vitamins, minerals and essential fats rather it is the pure form of energy.

Sugar influences our nutrition and health in many ways. Let us see how sugar affects your body?

Mood Enhancers

The sugary delight treats instantly freshen up your mood by enhancing you and your senses by releasing tons of dopamine hormones that is the happy hormone. Sugar intake stimulates the release of insulin which improves the presence of tryptophan in CNS (Central Nervous System) leading to the increased level of conversion tryptophan into serotonin which is a hormone released in brain cells to elevate mood.[1] This is one of the most refreshing ways in which sugar affects the body.

Stress Relievers

Sugar affects your body in such a helpful and peaceful way by cutting out stress and anxiety. Yes, you read it absolutely right. One of the best ways in which sugar affects the body is that they act as great stress relievers. Sugar intake stimulates the release of endogenous opioids in your brain leading you to feel the happiness, pleasure and well-being which is the similar effect after consuming recreational drugs.[2] Hence, it can also be habit forming and is something that you need to be careful about.

Energy Boosters

We all know, sugar is a form of energy that provides instant energy to our body in kilo calories. After consuming sugar, it gets absorbed by the walls of your small intestine stimulating the pancreas to release insulin, which is a hormone that grapples glucose from your blood stream to deliver to the cells of your body to be utilized as energy.[3] This is one of the major benefits and important ways in which sugar affects your body.

Hunger Terminators

It’s totally science. Small sugar treats can affect your body amazingly. In short you can make fool of your body or say stomach by consuming little sugar or sugar processed foods to curb your hunger pangs. Sugar triggers pancreas to secrete more insulin which inhibits the leptin hormone production, which is hunger hormone in simple words that fools your brain by making your stomach feel full. Thus, while sugar can have its own drawbacks, as it affects your body in this way, it can be used to control hunger.[4]

Harmful Effects of Sugar on our Body

When discussing about how sugar affects your body, it is important to understand about the harmful effects of sugar, which are numerous. To be honest, too much of sugar can never be good for your body. So, talking about how sugar affects your body negatively would surely make you think twice before having the delicious sugar treats.

Increase Heart Disease

According to American Diabetes Association excess sugar intake increases the bad cholesterol levels leading to increased heart attack and cardiac related risks. Cholesterol, heart diseases and diabetes are all inter linked when it comes to blood sugar levels.[5] The researches have shown that maximum deaths among people with type 2 diabetes are caused mainly due to heart attacks and cardiac arrests. This is one of the serious ways in which sugar affects your body.

Disturb Cholesterol Levels

Excess of sugar intake lowers the good cholesterol levels that is HDL- high density lipoprotein and elevates the LDL- low density lipoproteins and triglycerides in blood stream which disturb cholesterol levels in body causing serious health issues.[6] This is most disastrous way by which sugar affects our body.

Affects Blood Pressure

Too much sugar consumption affects your body by stimulating the pancreas to secrete more insulin in the blood stream. It also stimulates the smooth muscles cells around the arteries to grow faster leading to tension in the artery walls that increases high blood pressure and even might lead to chronic heart attacks.[7]

Causes Diabetes

A very common and anticipated disease caused due to excess sugar consumption is diabetes. Sugar affects your body in several ways but leading to very harmful consequences and diabetes is one of them. According to a study, extra 15 calories a day consumed by each person elevates diabetes by 1.1%.[8] Excess sugar intake stimulates excess secretion of insulin in bloodstream making your cells resistant to the insulin and all the glucose remains in your bloodstream leading to diabetes.

Makes You Fat

Sugar or calories are directly linked to obesity from a very long time. Foods with high amount of sugar rapidly increase the blood sugar levels leading to obesity which give rise to heart diseases and many more. When excess of insulin secretion blocks the leptin hormones to curb hunger, the glucose gets stored in your stomach but if not burnt it will be stores as fat in your intestine and liver.[9]

Affects Sexual Health

Another serious information you might never have heard before, but sugar affects your body sexually too. But this too is one of the ways how sugar affects your body. Excess of sugar intake impairs the blood flow around your body and organs by causing erectile dysfunction in men and sexual arousal issues in women.[10]

Deadly Addiction

Sugar intake unleashes the secretion of dopamine in your brain that is a hormone which makes you feel happy and gives you the feeling of well-being. This hormone secretion on regular basis can cause serious addiction for sugar delight treats to crave for more and more sugar causing several health issues.[11]

Damages Liver

Excess sugar can also affect your body’s most important organ that is liver. When insulin is secreted it gets absorbed with sugar forms, by the intestine walls to the blood stream providing fructose to the liver. The liver tries to metabolize fructose to be used by body but excess of fructose production can lead to process of formation of fat globules in the liver called lipogenesis leading to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Makes Organs Fat

Excess of fructose production not only forms fat globules in liver but also affects other organs by forming fatty cells and tissues in them leading to serious health issues.

Causes Aging

Now your beauty and looks are in danger too, if you have a sugar crush. Too much of sugar not only affects your body organs but also your skin. Sugar intake affects your body by causing saggy skin, dark patchy skin and wrinkled skin, which are all the symptoms of quick aging. The sugar we consume gets attached to the proteins in the bloodstream and the phenomenon is called as glycation.[12] This process forms new molecular structures that damage the skin elasticity leading to skin aging.

Damages Brain Power

Excess of sugar consumption not only causes skin aging, but also brain aging. Increased levels of glucose and blood sugar levels deteriorate brain cells affecting memory power negatively leading to cognitive impairment, which too is a dangerous way in which sugar affects your body.

Reduces Lifespan

According to America’s medical health reports, about 25,000 deaths have been reported in a year only because of increased blood sugar levels causing several diseases such as heart attacks, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, liver damage. Sugar intake must be controlled and taken in moderate amount as it affects your body as well as your lifespan.

Increases Arthritis Risk

Sugar can now lead to joint problems too – another possible way in which sugar affects your body. High sugar foods accelerate inflammatory cytokines enter to your bloodstream leading to arthritis. According to American Journal of Clinical Association, people with arthritis issues are advised to lower the sugar consumption or go for a low sugar diet.[13]

May Cause Cancer

Insulin is one of the key component behind the increased cancer cells in your body. Regular sugar intake or high sugar diet can contribute to cancer as it causes unbalanced metabolic process causing inflammation in all body cells increasing the risk of cancer.

Affects Liver Functioning

Sugar affects your body in all possible harmful ways. It doesn’t spare your kidneys even. Excess of fructose in liver leads to fructose metabolic syndrome increasing the uric acid levels in your blood which makes it tough for kidneys to filter, thus increasing the risk of heart attacks and diabetes.

Causes Cavities

One of the important ways in which sugar affects your body is that it can result in bad teeth or bad oral health causing plaque and cavities. High sugar diet provides enormous digestible energy for the evil bacteria in your mouth leading to oral problems.

Well, sugar is not bad as far you consume it in a moderate amount and not so frequently. According to the health reports of American Health Association, men can consume 150 calories a day without any harmful effects on their body and women can take 100 calories a day. However, as person and their requirement varies, how sugar affects your body may differ to some extent, based on which daily intake can be decided. But overall, it is true that too much of sugar diet can crash all your body systems and process leading to serious health issues by reducing your life longevity.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 11, 2022

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