Sugar is one of modern society’s greatest weaknesses. While natural sugar is in many healthy foods, the obsession with added sugar, artificial sugar, and sugary foods has led to the crystalized treat's inclusion in almost every meal. Dieticians and nutritionists have warned people about the dangers of eating too much sugar for decades; a number of subtle signs can tip us off to excessive sugar intake.
Being in a bad mood isn’t always the result of a poor night’s sleep or stress. Research shows that increased added sugar is related to low mood, possibly by affecting neurotransmitters. Saturated fat also may play a role in low mood and mood disorders.
If you’ve been trying for a baby with your partner and have been unsuccessful in conceiving, high sugar intake from sweetened drinks could be to blame. Research shows that consuming sugar-sweetened beverages reduces fertility in women and can lead to poor semen quality in men. Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages is also linked to low fertility in women receiving in-vitro fertilization.
Inflammation can be caused by a diet high in sugar thanks to advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs). AGEs are present in hot processed foods, but they can also be created internally because of high sugar intake. AGEs cause chronic inflammation and a host of other issues.
Insulin resistance is often a precursor to diabetes, but it’s an illness in its own right and is linked to inflammation and eating too much sugar. AGEs can cause insulin resistance: too much glucose in the blood inhibits the body’s ability to absorb blood sugar and use it for energy. Signs of insulin resistance include lethargy and extreme hunger or thirst.
Mood isn’t the only aspect of mental health affected by sugar. Too much sugar also increases the risk of depression and other mental health problems, although the link isn’t too clear. Some scientists believe that people with depression or those at risk of developing depression are prone to eat more sugar, which exacerbates the problem. Nonetheless, it’s clear that high sugar intake does increase the chance of mood disorders.
Parents often admonish children not to eat too much sugar, adding the threat of “rotting your teeth.” Dental problems are, unfortunately, a very real sign that your diet is too high in sugar. Once again, sugary drinks are the most common culprit, but chocolate and candy also can lead to dental decay, especially in young children. Enamel can easily be weakened by sugars and leave the more sensitive parts of a tooth exposed. If you experience tooth pain or develop cavities quite suddenly, excessive sugar consumption could be to blame.
It’s normal to experience some cognitive decline as you age. However, a diet low in omega-3 fats and high in sugars like fructose can lead to poor cognitive skills. On the other hand, a diet that’s rich in antioxidants and healthy fatty acids is closely related to clearer thinking. The importance of a healthy diet for better cognition is especially important for older demographics.
The usual symptoms of premenstrual symptoms (PMS), including bloating, moodiness, and abdominal pain, can be exacerbated by an unhealthy diet that includes too much sugar. In one study of students in the United Arab Emirates, subjects who followed a high-sugar diet, along with high calories, fat, and salt, had a greater risk of reporting physical symptoms. A high-fat, high-sugar diet also contributes to hormonal problems, such as an impaired preovulatory hormonal surge.
Sugar’s impact on blood pressure is almost universally recognized by physicians and the public alike. If your blood pressure has been increasing without a known cause, look into your sugar intake. Research on older females found that decreasing the amount of added sugar in one's daily diet has a clear link to lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Eating fruit, even though it contains natural sugar, is also associated with lower blood pressure.
A diet that contains too much sugar can increase one's risk of cardiovascular disease. The link between the two is consistent across genders, most ethnicities, and various lifestyles. Though the specific reasons for this association are not clear, some researchers hypothesize that side effects of too much sugar, such as fat accumulation in the liver and higher blood pressure, indirectly increase the risk of heart diseases. Dental health is also closely related to cardiovascular health.
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