Ice cream, candies, cookies, cakes… how come almost every single thing that tastes good is bad for our health? Add as many yummy foods as you want, but in the end, we know all that this deliciousness is not at all beneficial to our well-being, except in giving our brains instant pleasure. Unfortunately, foods that contain added sugar, offer no nutritional value. They only give you calories that detrimentally impact your health and hike your weight. And when you’ve crossed the limit, your body will start giving you various signs.
“The recommendation for added sugar intake is to stay below 9 tsp/day for men and 6 tsp for women. Currently, the average person eats about 3 times the recommendation or 22 tsp per day,” Dr. Chris Mohr, Ph.D., a Reebok nutrition expert told Bustle.
When you consume more sugar than what is considered a normal intake, your body will start giving you signs that something in your diet needs to be immediately changed. The following are some of the most common symptoms of a high sugar diet. If you’ve recognized some of these, maybe it’s time to give up sugar entirely and start making some dietary and lifestyle changes.
1. Intense cravings
It’s a vicious cycle and a tough addiction to break out of. The more sugar you eat, the more your brain wants it — seeing it as a reward. Almost like taking a drug, the body craves the taste and feeling of experiencing a sugar high.
The sugary foods such as ice cream, cookies and cakes leave you wanting more. On the contrary, the most filling foods are potatoes, lentils, bananas, and oats.
2. Wrinkles, acne & rosacea
One of the signs of abnormal intake of sugar is the appearance of wrinkles, acne and rosacea. When you ingest sugar or high-glycemic foods that rapidly convert to sugar, your body breaks down these carbohydrates into glucose, which raises insulin levels. Simple carbohydrates, like refined sugar, white bread and soda, cause the insulin levels to spike, leading to a “burst of inflammation throughout the body.” Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elas tin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin through a process known as glycation. Aside from increasing the effects of aging, glycation can also exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Plus, the more sugar you eat, the more likely it is you’ll develop insulin resistance, which can manifest as excess hair growth and dark patches on the neck and in body creases.
In order to keep your skin fresh and youthful, you need to reduce sugar and use various skin lotions as well as drink lots of water and tea.
3. Weight gain
Sugar equals excess calories. As a result, snacks high in sugar lead to extra weight onto your midsection. Therefore, if your clothes suddenly do not fit as well as they did before, it is probably time for a change. In particular, try to avoid all sugary foods and sugar-sweetened drinks.
Moreover, try to incorporate daily exercise into your routine.
4. Additional cavities
Cavities are another sign of a high sugar intake. Although they are often beyond our control due to factors such as age, sometimes they can be a not-so-subtle sign of a sweet tooth. When we have a toothache, generally it’s a direct sign of a cavity. Bacteria living in the mouth feed off of sugar, producing various acids that break down the layers of the teeth and the enamel that protects them, causing cavities. In addition, excess sugar is the No.1 culprit for dental decay. Therefore, in order to reduce the appearance of cavities, you should start to eliminate one sweet food at a time and try to replace each one with foods like low-sugar yogurt, low-fat milk or fruits such as fresh berries.
On the other hand, there is oral hygiene: the importance of basics such as brushing your teeth frequently is not to be underestimated.
It’s common to experience inflammation in the body if you’re eating too much sugar. Thus, if you feel extra bloated, it might be a clear sign that something is wrong. One study has confirmed that daily consumption of beverages containing high-fructose content, such as soda and packaged orange juice, can contribute to gout in women.
The study confirmed that women who consume at least one high-fructose beverage per day, have a 95% chance of developing gout.
6. Irregular bowel movements
Excess sugar can prevent the digestive system to function properly. When you are consuming a lot of it, there is a high probability that you will start to experience irregular bowel movements, such as bloating, constipation, diarrhea, gas, and other conditions due to improper digestion. In such a case, long walks are a great first step towards balancing the blood sugar and ensuring a smooth digestion.
Moreover, consuming food that contains a lot of fiber, such as avocado, passionfruit and raspberries, will also help to put your body back in balance.
In cases when you have been consuming high amounts of sugar throughout the day, the initial insulin spike will eventually come crashing down. Yes, your brain needs a steady supply of blood glucose to function properly. But you don’t want a quick rise in blood sugar and then a sharp decline, which is what happens when you consume added sugar.
Our energy is the most stable when our blood sugar levels are stable. Again, since sugar contains no protein or fiber, both of which provide energy, it’s inevitable that fatigue will eventually set in unless you balance your levels with protein and fiber.
8. Nothing tastes as sweet
High amounts of sugar consummation will eventually lead to ruined taste buds. Correspondingly, it will also make your sugar tolerance go up. Thus, you will start to demand even more sugar to satisfy your cravings. Finally, once you get to this level, it can be very hard to lower your base level.