18 Obvious Signs You’re Eating Too Much Sugar

Written By Jill Taylor

We love our bowls of ice cream, packs of chocolate cookies, and carbonated soft drinks so much that they’ve become a part of our daily lives. However, eating too much of these has negative effects on our health, and here are 18 of these effects you should always watch out for.

Mood Swings

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Fluctuations in your blood sugar levels, from high to low, can affect your mood! We learn from the University of Michigan about how high sugar consumption is associated with feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, and even depression—having a negative effect on our long-term mental health.

Constant Cravings

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Ordinarily, when you eat too much sugar, your blood sugar level rises, which makes you hungry. Satisfying this hunger with sugary foods causes your body to release feel-good neurochemicals (dopamines) into your brain, making you demand even more. You end up in a cycle of cravings and overconsumption that worsens as you feed into them.

Increased Body Weight

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Given its association with a demand for more food, excess sugar causes you to consume more calories and, hence, gain weight. Consuming too much sugar also causes your body to produce more insulin, a hormone known to increase your fat retention.

Increased Cholesterol Levels

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Diets high in sugar also cause an imbalance in our lipoprotein density levels, particularly by forcing our body to increase its LDL, which, in turn, raises our cholesterol levels. We also have more triglycerides (a type of fat) in our blood, and this worsens our cholesterol levels even more.

Feeling Tired

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After a sugar high, there is an immediate sugar low, and this causes your energy levels to plummet rapidly. The poor diet that causes high sugar intake may also result in you not consuming enough nutrients for energy production. Sugar is also known to make it hard to fall asleep—affecting energy replenishment, too!

High Blood Pressure

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An excerpt from Harvard Health reads that “consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation, both of which are pathological pathways to heart disease.” Yes, it isn’t only salt; sugar also heavily contributes to elevated blood pressure levels. Its association with an increased risk of obesity and obesity-related high blood pressure can’t be ignored either.

Skin Issues

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Sugar increases the production of oil on the skin, but this is just the surface level of problems you could have. Oily skin leads to inflammation, and this can make conditions like acne and eczema even worse. Glycation is also associated with excess sugar, and it’s a process known to damage collagen and elastin, causing the skin to age faster.

Dental Problems

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One of the more common and noticeable side effects of consuming too much sugar is tooth decay. Not only does sugar feed the bacteria in our mouths, but it also turns into acid after bacteria act on it. This eats up the enamel layer of our teeth, causing holes, cavities, and tooth abscesses to develop.

Difficulty Concentrating

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Sugar is the brain’s main source of fuel, and consuming too much of it leads to an alertness that only lasts for about 20 minutes before dropping. Once this drop happens, we’re left with brain fog, a cognitive impairment that makes us feel unfocused and easily distracted.

Joint Pain

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Excessive consumption of sugar, especially processed sugar, also causes chronic inflammation in the parts of our body with the least amount of blood flowing to them. And our joints fall into this group. If you aren’t careful, you may worsen joint-related conditions like arthritis.

Nerve Damage

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As the Mayo Clinic shares, consistently high blood sugar levels also interfere with our nervous system. Particularly seen in diabetic patients, there are cases where high blood sugar weakens the nerves by cutting off their supply of oxygen and nutrients, a series of events that leads to neuropathy.

Gastrointestinal Problems

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Any surplus sugar that can’t be broken down by the body will be left in our bowels. This sugar ferments here and slowly feeds bacteria in our large intestine, and the reactions from this result in degenerate conditions like bloating, spasms, constipation, and diarrhea.

Frequent Illnesses

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Excess sugar intake doesn’t directly cause illnesses like the flu. However, what it does is inhibit the ability of our white blood cells to fight off harmful microbes. Some experts say this remains so for up to 12 hours! And when our immune system is compromised for this long, we’re much more likely to get sick.

Muscle Damage

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High-sugar diets also stop the body from getting nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and potassium which are needed for strong muscle function. As a result, you can experience inflammation in your muscles, and your body may find it difficult to regulate muscle relaxation and contraction. There’s also the risk of accumulating fat when trying to build muscles instead.

Poorer Vision

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High blood sugar is also linked to swelling in the lenses of the eyes, which affects our ability to focus and see clearly. The CDC even reveals that it damages blood vessels in the eyes and puts us at risk of developing more severe eye diseases and losing our vision.

Liver Stress

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Due to surplus retention, fat around the liver could also accumulate—this fat is typically called glycogen. Over time, this can develop into fatty liver disease, a condition that causes inflammation of the liver, similar to the effects of excess alcohol and obesity.


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When you have high blood glucose levels, your kidney works hard to flush excess sugar out through urine. And, after going to the loo more times than you ordinarily should, you deplete the water and fluids stored in your body, causing you to feel dehydrated.

Addiction-Like Symptoms

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Intermittent but excessive consumption of sugar also comes with the risk of developing an addiction-like dependency on it. Your body becomes demanding of the extra dopamine produced from its surplus consumption. You can also experience headaches, irritability, and cravings (previously discussed) when you reduce your sugar intake.

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