4 Negative Effects of Sugar

posted by Haley Rios on July 10, 2018

What’s the big deal with sugar and why should you care?

Sugar in all its forms is abundantly available in the United States (more so than any other country), and studies have linked it to heart disease and other illnesses. According to JAMA Internal Medicine, those who have a higher percentage of calories from added sugar in their diet have a 38 percent higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease compared to those who have a lower sugar intake (2016).

Lustig, R. H., Schmidt, L. A., & Brindis, C. D. (2012). Public health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature, 482(7383), 27-29. doi:10.1038

There are two types of sugars that are in our diets: naturally occurring and added sugars. Fructose from foods like fruit and lactose from milk are naturally occurring sugars.

The American Heart Association has this to say about added sugars:

“Added sugars include any sugars or caloric sweeteners that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as putting sugar in your coffee or adding sugar to your cereal). Added sugars (or added sweeteners) can include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar and honey as well as other caloric sweeteners that are chemically manufactured (such as high fructose corn syrup).”

Heart disease is a long term effect of too much sugar, but there are also signs that sugar is affecting you that you can spot much sooner.

Mood and Energy

It’s all fun and games when you’re enjoying all of the little pieces of candy that you snagged out of the office treat dish, but as soon as your blood sugar comes back down and you’re no longer feeling that temporary burst of energy or “sugar high” that comes with the consumption of added sugars, your sugar level will drop again and you may start to feel what is known as a “sugar crash”. The drop in glucose levels will also cause your energy levels to drop, possibly causing irritability, headaches, and even more hunger. You can combat this mid-day slump by eating balanced meals and packing healthy snacks.

Stop by and check out all of the healthy options that the Statehouse Market has to offer every Thursday from now through October on Robert D. Orr Plaza. There you’ll find fresh local produce and food trucks to keep your mood and energy up while you’re at work, or visit the Invest In Your Health Healthy Recipe page to get a list of great recipes to help with a well-balanced diet.


When you consume sugar it spikes your insulin levels, which in turn causes inflammation throughout your body, including your skin.

“Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles,” according to Total Dermatology. “Digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation.”

Glycation causes skin to age faster and can cause other skin problems such as acne.

Foods to stay away from to prevent these skin problems are starchy foods such as bread, pasta, and pizza, sugary sodas, juices and milk, and chocolates and other candies.

Try to stick to a good night’s sleep, drink plenty of water, and eat healthy fats to keep your skin well-rested, hydrated, and radiant.

Hunger and Cravings

Sugar cravings are the worst. Having a sweet can cause you to eat more sugar than you intended. One cookie leads to another, and then before you know it half of the box is gone!

Sugar is highly addictive.

“The link between sugar and addictive behavior is tied to the fact that, when we eat sugar, opioids and dopamine are released,” says Healthline.

This means that consuming sugar changes your brain’s chemistry and gives you a pleasurable “high” which causes you to crave more and more of it.

Just recognizing that it’s all just your brain craving sugar is a good step. Try high protein meals and substitute your sweet snacks for things like nuts and cheese to keep your energy up.


Sugar affects your hormones, which directly affects your weight gain, and if you are giving into your sugar craving and overeating this can cause you to consume too many calories and lead to weight gain.

Kris Gunnars from Healthline says that the perfect recipe for fat gain is:

Source: Healthline, 2013

You may experience some of these pesky sugar side effects now, and cutting added sugar out of your diet, or even lowering your consumption, can help with these problems significantly and even lower your long term risk of heart disease.

For more information on sugar and other sweeteners visit the American Heart Association.


Gunnars, K. (2013, February 4). 4 Ways Sugar Can Make You Fat. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/4-ways-sugar-makes-you-fat#section5

Lustig, R. H., Schmidt, L. A., & Brindis, C. D. (2012). Public health: The toxic truth about sugar. Nature, 482(7383), 27-29. doi:10.1038

Schaefer, A., & Yasin, K. (2016, October 10). Is Sugar an Addictive Drug? Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/experts-is-sugar-addictive-drug

Sugar 101. (2017, May 30). Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/HealthyEating/Nutrition/Sugar-101_UCM_306024_Article.jsp#.WzEOSKdKjIU

Why Sugar is Bad for Your Skin – From Acne to Wrinkles. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.totaldermatology.com/why-sugar-is-bad-for-your-skin-from-acne-to-wrinkles/


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