Sugar cravings are the worst. Period. No matter how hard you try to control them, you still invariably find yourself caving in. And even though you convince yourself that you’ll just have one small bite of that chocolate bar, before you know it the entire bar is gone! But that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the sugar problem.
While consuming sugar is necessary for your overall health and wellbeing, too much of it can spell trouble (1). And the problem is sugar exists in most foods you eat throughout the day. So, you’re probably already having too much of it. If you don’t stop, you are likely to suffer from the following health issues:
1. Sugar Addiction
It’s a real thing, alright! Just like you can get addicted to coffee, tea or even alcohol and cigarettes, you can get addicted to sugar (2). Sugar addiction can be dangerous as you may always find yourself craving to satisfy your sweet tooth and consequently eating much more than you set out to. Plus, the worst part is that sugar addiction can be as hard to overcome as those dependencies caused by drugs, with withdrawal symptoms of its own. And if that doesn’t scare you, a report released by the journal Circulation revealed that nearly 184,000 adults die each year worldwide due to bingeing on sugary drinks (3)!
Over the years, obesity has turned into a worldwide problem and it has been estimated that there are currently over 2.1 billion people worldwide who are obese (4). Although obesity can be caused by a lot of factors, including genetics, an unhealthy diet and lifestyle, however, remain the primary cause. Several studies have shown that sugar in particular (especially in its artificial form) leads to weight gain, which consequently causes obesity if not controlled in time (5). Obesity, in turn, causes a lot of other health problems such as hypertension and heart disease (6). So, it’s pretty much a downward spiral.
3. Chromium Deficiency
Chromium is a type of mineral that your body requires in trace amounts to help improve the action of insulin – the hormone that helps in the storage and metabolism of fat, carbohydrates, and protein (7). When you consume too much sugar, the sugar leads to an increased excretion of chromium in your urine, giving rise to a deficiency of this mineral in your body (8). Although this type of deficiency is very rare, it can still interfere with the proper functioning of your body so you should beware.
4. Speedy Aging
If you want to look forever young, you must cut down on your daily sugar intake right now! You already know that sugar can lead to an expanding waistline, which is bad enough. Unfortunately, the signs of excess sugar consumption can show on your face too in the form of wrinkles and early aging (9), (10), (11). Sugar causes your collagen fibers to lose their strength and elasticity. This makes your skin more prone to sun damage, sagging, and fine lines. Hence, the best way to look 10 years younger is to lower the amount of sugar you eat each day.
5. Fatty Liver
Fatty liver or fatty liver disease is very common, and if not controlled in time, it can cause severe damage to the liver (12). Although the exact cause of fatty liver is yet unknown, certain risk factors play a major role in bringing about the disease, such as diabetes, obesity, and the like. Having too many sugary beverages is another risk factor that can prevent your liver from properly digesting fructose, thereby giving rise to fatty liver disease (13). This can be harmful in the long run, especially if cirrhosis takes place as that indicates complete liver failure.
Although too much sugar consumption doesn’t directly cause diabetes, the relation between the two is still strong. As mentioned before, increased sugar intake can lead to obesity. Now, obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, and those who are obese are more likely to get type 2 diabetes (14). Diabetes in itself is a deadly disease that not only disrupts your daily life but can even lead to a host of other diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, eye damage, nerve damage, foot damage, skin problems, and much more (15).
You can almost say that having too much sugar is the root cause of all bodily problems. However, the good news is that you can limit your sugar consumption by following certain tips and tricks. These include having natural sources of sugar (fruits), avoiding processed foods, drinking plenty of water, eating more greens, and even taking a walk whenever the craving hits (16). So, try to make an active attempt to free yourself from the sugary circle and live healthy!