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What Are the Effects of Eating Too Much Sugar?

By M. Walker
Updated May 17, 2024
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Eating too much sugar can lead to numerous health conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and high cholesterol. It can also cause individuals to miss out on the vitamins and nutrients in other healthy foods. Some sugars found in fruit are less harmful, but a large amount of refined sugar and table sugar, which are frequently found in processed foods, can ultimately lead to disease.

One of the main effects of eating too much sugar is diabetes. Individuals who elevate their blood sugar through excess sugar consumption are at a higher risk for developing Type II diabetes and insulin resistance. The high levels of sugar in the blood make it difficult for the pancreas to produce enough insulin to keep the levels within a normal and healthy range. As the pancreas pumps out more and more insulin, the insulin receptor cells become resistant to it, necessitating even more insulin. At a certain point, the body is unable to produce the needed insulin to control blood glucose levels, leading to diabetes.

Too much sugar can also negatively influence metabolism, leading to obesity and weight gain. Individuals who eat too much sugar cause large disturbances in blood glucose levels and experience sugar rushes and subsequent crashes. Since sugar levels spike and dissipate quickly, individuals who are eating large amounts of sugar will not stay full for as long, leading them to consume more calories in shorter amounts of time.

A recent study conducted a survey that spanned from 1994 to 2006 and interviewed over 6,000 participants about their sugar habits. While the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that less than 10% of calories come from sucrose, or table sugar, the study found that participants were receiving an average of 16% of their daily calories from sugar. Participants were also consuming an average of 21 teaspoons of sugar each day, although the recommended amount is no more than six teaspoons for women and nine teaspoons for men.

Within the demographic that obtained at least 25% of their daily calories from sugar, 43% experienced low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels. This puts them at twice the risk for low HDL levels than the group that only received 5% of their calories from sugar. The high-sugar group also experienced elevated risks for triglyceride levels, which increases the risks of strokes and heart disease. High triglyceride levels also increase the risks of developing high blood pressure, unhealthy fat deposits, and diabetes, which is further exacerbated by eating too much sugar.

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Discussion Comments
By serenesurface — On Apr 16, 2011

All of this is so true! Sugar is like sweet poison! My dad is a doctor and he says that sugar also lowers our immunity. He suggests his patients who come in with a flu or cold to consume less sugars to get better faster.

My cousin is seven years old and he was very active and not paying attention to anything. My dad asked his parents to stop giving him sugar and he doesn't do that anymore! Sugar is such a bad thing!

By burcinc — On Apr 14, 2011

There is a study recently in the Journal of Clinical Investigation and it says that eating too much sugar increases the production of estrogen and testosterone hormones.

They say that this increases the possibility of infertility, cardiovascular disease, acne, cysts in the ovaries and even cancer of the uterus.

So if you eat too much sugar, you might be putting your reproductive health in great danger! Who would have thought?!

By fify — On Apr 11, 2011

I have a terrible sweet tooth. After meals, I have a craving for sugar and I consume too much sugar because of it. The worst part is that there is diabetes in my family.

When I was a kid, I was told not to have too much sugar because it will cause tooth decay. That's still a concern for me today, but I'm more concerned about obesity and becoming a diabetic because of my sweet tooth.

I read a book recently which has actually help me understand more about sugar and how to control sugar intake. The book talks about how sugar is a carbohydrate and if taken at the right time and amount, it won't be damaging to health. Fruits are preferred over cakes, biscuits and desserts. I'm allowed to have desserts once in a while if I regularly exercise and that with breakfast so that I will have time to burn those calories until night time.

Another suggestion is to stay away from sodas and fruit juices because it is packed with sugar. There are even "no sugar added" fruit juices at the store but this doesn't mean that it doesn't have sugar.

I still have a sweet tooth though and I loose the struggle not to have sweets often. I have gained some weight recently and I eat very small meals, every 2-3 hours and healthy diet, except for the sweets. So I am sure that too much sugar is the reason for my weight gain. If only I could control myself better!

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