11 Potential Warning Signs of Excess Sugar Intake
Processed foods like cakes, cookies, candies, and breakfast cereals contain added sugar, and most people find them delicious and irresistible. However, they have little nutritional value. Eating too many sweets can increase the risk of several health issues. For instance, it can lead to blood sugar spikes and heart disease. When a person eats too much sugar regularly, the body begins to give signs that it is time to cut back on sweet foods.
High blood pressure
Besides monitoring salt intake, people suffering from high blood pressure should watch their sugar intake because eating too much sugar is also linked to high blood pressure. According to a study, foods high in sugar can reduce nitric oxide in the blood vessels, which can, in turn, impact blood flow and lead to high blood pressure.
Mood swings or irritability
Feeling moody, irritable, or depressed on and off is a common sign of high sugar intake. Mood swings occur as foods high in sugar affect the neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate mood. Sugary foods also negatively impact gut function, another factor linked to a person’s mood.
Low energy or tiredness
Binging on sugary snacks wreaks havoc on one’s blood sugar levels. It first causes blood glucose to rise, providing a boost of energy. But this energy does not last for long. The body produces excess insulin to lower high blood glucose, eventually leaving the person tired and lethargic. This is why many experience low energy levels around 30 minutes after savoring a sugary snack. High-sugar foods are low in protein and fiber, depriving the body of enough nutrients to stay energized consistently.
Craving sweets all the time
Eating sugary foods causes the brain to release dopamine, the hormone which makes us feel positive and happy. After avoiding sugar for some time, dopamine levels drop, leading to withdrawal symptoms. As a result, the body craves more sweets like candy and cake, increasing a person’s dependence on them.
Acne or other skin issues
Frequent sugar consumption triggers the production of hormones like androgens, which may result in acne around the jawline and the mouth. So, if a person notices breakouts on their skin, it is a potential sign to cut down on added sugars. Besides causing breakouts, a high-sugar meal plan makes the skin appear wrinkly. This happens as sugar destroys collagen, the protein responsible for maintaining skin elasticity, structure, and strength.
Cavities or tooth decay
While dental problems could arise due to many reasons, they are also a famous indicator of excessive sugar intake. Sugary foods or drinks allow bacteria to thrive in the tiny spaces around the teeth, ultimately leading to oral health problems. When sugar combines with saliva and bacteria, it can form plaque on the teeth and result in dental issues like tooth decay and cavities.
Foods high in refined sugar, such as ice cream, pastries, and candy, are linked to sleep disorders. Many people who eat such foods close to bedtime find it challenging to sleep. Even if they fall asleep, they find it hard to get quality rest and do not feel refreshed the following day. So, those who find themselves restless while sleeping and wake up tired or sluggish should look for excess sugar in their nutrition regimen.
A high-sugar meal can make a person feel confused and distracted. This is called brain fog. The rise and drop in blood sugar levels may affect one’s ability to stay focused at work. The elevations and crashes in blood sugar can also cause inflammation in the brain cells, resulting in memory loss over time and other complications that are hard to manage.
Joint pain is a popular symptom of aging and joint conditions like arthritis, but it could also result from excess sugar consumption. High sugar intake can cause chronic inflammation and pain in the joints. Moreover, research has shown that drinking sweetened soda regularly increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in some women.
Food no longer tastes sweet enough
If one feels the need to add more sugar to their meals to satisfy their sweet cravings, it could be because their taste buds expect a higher level of sweetness. Reducing sugar intake gradually can help such individuals feel content with what they eat. Avoiding artificial sweeteners is also crucial, as they are sweeter than natural sugar and can increase overall sugar cravings.
Foods high in sugar lack fiber, leading to digestive issues. So, those experiencing bloating, diarrhea, or stomach pain should pay attention to their sugar intake. Sugar may worsen the symptoms in some people with Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or ulcerative colitis. Individuals with these disorders should swap sugary foods with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to prevent gut problems.
Eating too much sugar can lead to several health conditions, including type 2 diabetes. This condition has no cure, and managing it can be difficult. The health treatments to manage high blood sugar can vary depending on the type of diabetes. General diabetes care usually includes monitoring blood glucose levels, following a healthy nutrition plan, and staying active. However, severe cases may also require medical treatments. Consistently high blood sugar can lead to complications like chronic kidney disease (CKD), which also requires specific health treatments.
Those with diabetes and CKD should visit a doctor nearby and use the health treatments that work best for them. A healthcare expert can recommend the right health tests and the top health treatment options. They can also help patients develop a strategy to cut back on sugar and manage their sugar cravings. This can not only help lower blood sugar levels but also contribute to better overall health and well-being in the long term.
If you struggle to keep up with diabetes treatment, Medicare health insurance has some options. It covers not just some supplies but offers services and runs preventive programs for those at a higher risk. It also covers CGM devices or Continuous Glucose Monitor devices to help one track their blood sugar levels.