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What Excess Sugar Does to the Body

“Everything in moderation” is a phrase we often hear about the food and beverages we consume. While some sugar won’t hurt us, too much of the sweet stuff can lead to many problems, including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even a depressed immune system. In addition, excess sugar can contribute to cancer, create inflammation, and prevent your body from functioning as it should. 

While sugary beverages, cookies, cakes, ice cream, and other sweets contain large amounts of sugar, it is also a primary ingredient in food like bread, protein bars, and even tomato sauce.

Community First Emergency Room | What Excess Sugar Does to the Body

Regardless of what name it goes by – corn syrup, agave nectar, or sucrose – it’s all sugar, and too much of it can be detrimental to your health. 

What Happens to Our Body When We Consume Too Much Sugar? 

Eating sugar can negatively affect each part of our body, including the brain. When you consume a sweet treat, your brain releases a hormone called dopamine. Dopamine is a “feel good” hormone and explains why you tend to reach for a candy bar instead of an apple or carrot stick during your mid-afternoon slump. Put simply, the more sugar you eat, the more your body craves. 

Excess sugar can also wreak havoc with the joints, skin, liver, pancreas, and heart. So, let’s examine the effect extra sugar has on these different parts of the body.

Teeth: Too much sugar can lead to tooth decay. The bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar, creating an acid, which has the potential to erode your tooth enamel. This erosion can cause cavities and other issues. 

Joints:  Consuming too much sugar can cause inflammation in your joints. It can also put you at risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, a chronic, inflammatory disease that attacks your joints and organs. 

Skin:  Too much sugar can cause inflammation, which can cause your skin to age faster. The extra sugar attaches to proteins in your bloodstream to create what are known as advanced glycation end products or AGES. These molecules do exactly what they say – age your skin, resulting in unsightly sagging and wrinkles. 

Consuming too much sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity, which have several consequences, including damage to your major organs. 

Liver: The liver processes a form of sugar called fructose or high fructose corn syrup. Over time, large amounts of sugar can damage the liver and cause two types of liver disease: non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which is essentially excess fat build-up in the liver, and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), a form of scarring of the liver. 

Heart: A hormone called insulin is released into your bloodstream when you eat excess sugar. This extra insulin can harden your arteries, putting additional stress on your heart, which can cause heart attacks, heart failure, and strokes. It also can cause high blood pressure.

Pancreas: Overeating sugar can overwork your pancreas, and as a result, it will start pumping out more insulin. Eventually, you will become insulin resistant, putting you at increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. 

Controlling the Amount of Sugar in Your Diet 

If you are concerned about the amount of sugar in your diet, there are specific steps you can reduce the amount you are regularly consuming. 

  1. Choose whole foods as opposed to processed ones. Food manufacturers will often add sugar to make their foods taste better. When you eat and cook with whole foods, you know exactly what you’re eating. 
  2. Learn to read food labels. When you are grocery shopping, carefully read food labels and look for sugar and added sweeteners, like honey, molasses, glucose, and fructose. 
  3. Cut back on sugary foods and beverages: Sodas and other soft drinks are full of added sugar. Try a diet version or drink water, milk, or herbal tea instead. Breakfast cereals tend to have a lot of additional sugar. Instead of cereal for breakfast, try eggs, yogurt, or oatmeal. 

Community First ER is here for you

If you experience health issues related to too much sugar consumption, Community First Emergency Room will be here for you.  No appointment is necessary, and walk-ins are accepted. Our team has access to sophisticated imaging equipment, including X-rays, CT scans, and ultrasound, with fast same-day results so we can quickly evaluate the extent of your injury. You will experience little to no wait times to receive our personalized, compassionate, and concierge-level services. Our board-certified physicians and registered nurses will treat you or your loved one like family, making your health and peace of mind a top priority. We are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. 

About Community First ER 

Emergency health care is a critical resource. Our commitment is to provide a personal, transparent, and concierge-driven emergency health care experience to our community members. Locally owned and operated by health care providers and partners we trust, we strive to support and create meaningful relationships with those around us. We exist to put your health and wellness first. For more information, visit our website at https://communityfirster.com/  and engage with us on social media.

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