Sugar and Its Impact on Your Health

Did you know the average American consumes about 17 teaspoons of added sugars every day? That includes all types of sugars that don’t occur naturally in the foods we eat. Most added sugars come from sweet snacks like candy or soft drinks, but even “healthy” foods like fruit juices and bread can contain alarming amounts of added sugars.

Sugar might seem like a harmless indulgence, but actually, even a little excess sugar can have serious effects on your health. Led by Melita Tate, MD, the team at Grassroots Healthcare wants patients to understand how sugar could be putting their health at risk. 

Myth: Your body needs added sugars to function

Before delving into the effects of added sugars, it’s important to dispel this pervasive myth that drives sugar consumption for a lot of people. It’s not uncommon for many people to rationalize their snack habit by wrongly thinking they’re providing their body with carbohydrates essential for specific functions, including metabolism. 

It’s true, your body does need some sugars — or carbohydrates — to function and stay healthy. But it’s completely capable of getting all the natural sugars it needs from a healthy balanced diet. Your body does not need added sugars — and in fact, these added sugars are what cause serious short- and long-term health problems like the ones listed below.

Sugar and your body

When most people think of sugar-related health problems, they think of type 2 diabetes or weight gain. Those serious health problems are absolutely related to sugar consumption, and reason enough to cut back on the amount of sugar you consume. Still, as serious as diabetes and obesity can be, they’re certainly not the only health problems associated with sugar.

Heart problems

Research shows people who consume too much sugar have a significantly higher risk of heart disease — as much as a 38% increased risk — compared to those who control their sugar intake.

Cavities

You’re not the only one who loves sugar — bacteria do, too, including the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Too much sugar increases the risk of cavities, which in turn can make permanent tooth loss more likely.

Joint problems

Sugar is a major catalyst for inflammation throughout your body. In fact, increased inflammation is one reason why too much sugar increases your risk for heart problems. Inflammation also acts on your joints, increasing your risk for joint pain and mobility issues.

Liver damage

Some types of added sugars are processed in the liver. Over time, overconsumption can lead to fatty liver disease, liver scarring, and other types of liver problems.

Skin conditions

Excess sugar consumption is a major cause of widespread inflammation. Inflammation can affect every part of your body, including your skin. Too much sugar can speed up skin’s aging process, causing wrinkles and sagging skin.

Erectile function

Too much sugar can take a negative toll on circulation, including increased circulation required to obtain and maintain an erection.

Vision problems

Excess blood sugar levels can damage your retinas, the light-sensitive back “wall” of your eyes. Vision loss is a relatively common side effect of uncontrolled diabetes.

Mood problems

Excess sugar consumption has been linked with emotional and mental health issues, too, including increased risks for anxiety and depression.

Don’t let sugar destroy your health. Dr. Tate can help you curb your cravings and make other important changes for better health now and in the future. To learn more, call the office or book an appointment online today.

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