The Harmful Effects of Sugar Can Ruin Your Everyday Life

By: Michael Lam, MD, MPH; Justin Lam, ABAAHP, FMNM

When the harmful effects of sugar matterIt’s completely inappropriate to advertise junk food, sugar packed sweets, soda, and energy drinks as healthy for your body. Yet some advertising companies talk about how their sugary snacks and drinks are packed with energy and can rejuvenate your body. The problem with this is that sugary foods can have a real negative impact on your body. There is a common misconception that partaking in minimal intake of sugar is okay too. However, there are just too many harmful effects of sugar to justify eating sugary sweets on a daily basis. It is also very hard to find a balance between healthy food and junk food.

How much sugar is too much? What are the risks of eating too much sugar? If you take a closer look at the truth behind sugar and your body, you will probably want to start limiting your sugar intake right away.

The Adverse and Harmful Effects of Sugar

As a society we eat to nourish and replenish our bodies. Eating is so very vital to our overall health and well being. So with that being said, the food that we put into our bodies is either healthy or unhealthy. There is no gray area here. There have been scientific studies that show eating sugary foods, in moderation, is okay. However, that doesn’t necessarily make it healthy for you. It’s just saying that the harmful effects of junk food and sugar may only be minimal if the consumption of such products is moderate.

Sugar and Metabolic Syndrome

A scientific study showed that eating one sugary treat daily for an entire month can set off metabolic syndrome in an otherwise healthy person.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of factors that can lead to high risk diseases such as coronary disease and diabetes. These risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, obesity and high levels of triglycerides. Metabolic syndrome can lead to strokes or heart attacks proving that over time the effects of sugar are seriously harmful. Metabolic syndrome has also been linked to frequent illness and liver disease.

Drinking Soda and Heart Failure

Drinking soda regularly can cause major health problems and harmful effects of sugar. There have been studies that suggest that sugary drinks, filled with sugar and artificial sweeteners, can increase your risk for heart failure. One scientific study, in Sweden, found that men who drank two sodas a day had higher risks for developing heart failure than those who didn’t not. Just this harmful type effect of sugar alone should make you want to cut back on your sugar intake. Sugar can irritate and inflame artery walls, this can lead to ruptures, heart attacks and even cardiac arrest. If this is not a bad side effect of sugar, I don’t know what is.

Harmful effects of sugar found in candy

The Truth About Soda and Sugary Sweets As An Energy Source

We have all heard how sugar can cause weight gain, hypertension, vascular diseases, and other ways sugar affects are harmful to our bodies. Yet, we still see people buying and drinking soda, energy drinks, and other high sugary drinks as a source of daily energy. Is this energy necessarily a good energy? How is energy from soda really affecting our bodies?

The caffeine and sugar in soda may give you a quick boost of energy, but once the harmful effects of sugar wear off, you will quickly crash and burn. This is why so many people have that addiction. You drink a soda, feel like you have some good energy going on and then in an hour or so you are tired and you drink another one to get your energy back. It’s a vicious cycle. The only way to get true and lasting energy, to carry you through the day, is by eating healthy foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables. A banana, granola bar, and a cup of yogurt will carrying you through to your next meal better than one can of soda, while you avoid the crashing effect that soda and energy drinks causes.

The Problems with Advertising and Sugar

Big companies market their junk food ads in a major way, and to be honest, it’s working with the harmful effects of sugar. They make sweets relatable to kids, teens, and even adults. They inadvertently make us crave snacks before we buy them. In fact, have you ever noticed that when you are shopping at a grocery store, junk food, prepared package foods, and drinks are typically cheaper than the healthier, all-natural foods? Healthy foods are always so much more expensive. It’s no wonder why the obesity is a huge issue in the United States. These junk food ads make unhealthy foods seem good for you. It’s all a marketing campaign that we fall victim too. Medicare launched an 8 billion dollar campaign to help fight obesity in 2015. It may have helped a little, yet junk food companies make so much more money, annually, that it is becoming a losing battle.

Are You Eating Too Much Sugar In Your Diet?

On average, most Americans consume about 20 teaspoons of sugar a day. The harmful effects of sugar is far too much for the human body to process without the sugar affecting your body harmfully. The American Heart Association recommends that men limit their added sugar intake to 38 grams (or 9 teaspoons) daily and while, for women, it’s recommended they limit their added sugar intake to 25 grams (or 6 teaspoons) of sugar daily. Limiting your sugar intake will reduce the risks of many diseases, obesity, and high blood pressure.

How Sugar Affects Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome?

Your heart will show the harmful effects of sugarExcessive sugar can have a harmful effect on your heart, pancreas, liver, adrenal glands, and your brain. It causes obesity, which can lead to many other health concerns. When you eat too much sugar it forces your body to make extra insulin and cortisol. Overtime this surplus of insulin and cortisol will take effect on the body’s organs. A person who has had a long term high sugar diet will have lower levels of neurotransmitters and hormones which will eventually trigger adrenal fatigue. So, if you want to relieve some of the symptoms of adrenal fatigue and the harmful effects of sugar, it’s ideal that your lower your added sugar and artificial sugar intake. Keep in mind that there are many food items that have high sugar counts that you would not necessary think do. Read the packaging before eating and when in doubt, avoid the food all together. There are so many items that have low glucose naturally which are good for you.

On the contrary side those who suffer from symptoms of adrenal fatigue may also suffer from hypoglycemia which is low blood glucose levels. This can cause additional health complications. Be sure to consult your nutrition coach or primary care physician before lowering your sugar intake if you believe you may be hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia glucose levels are typically under 70 mg/dl. High blood glucose, or hyperglycemia, typically are levels over 130 mg/dl before you eat and 180 mg/dl or higher after you eat.

The best way to relieve some adrenal fatigue symptoms is by learning to manage your blood glucose so that it is in the average levels. Getting some nutritional coaching, from a licensed professional, will help. Here is the guide to normal glucose levels for someone without diabetes are:

Upon awakening: When you wake up in the morning your blood glucose should be under 100mg/dl.

Before meals: Before each meal your glucose levels should be around 70-99 mg/dl.

After meals: For about an hour or two after meals, your glucose will be slightly elevated, however, it should be under 140 mg/dl. These levels may not be be relevant in those with AFS. They are more sensitive to changes in blood sugar as they suffer hypoglycemic reactions even though blood sugar may not fall below the above listed values.

Also keep in mind, when you have adrenal fatigue symptoms, it is important to be aware of what you eat, especially added sugars. Have a diet journal where you write down everything you eat throughout the day. Be sure to write about how these foods made you feel after. This way you can look back and see the effects going on in your body. Sugar may negatively impact your body, having a journal will help you understand that better.

The Harmful Sugar Side Effects and the NEM Stress Response

The harmful effects of sugar on the NEM responseThe Metabolic effects of stress on your body can cause:

  • Obesity
  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hyperglycemia
  • Type 2 Diabetes

Stress affects individual organs and body systems differently. In fact, stress will trigger binge eating in some people. This type of binge eating is not good for your body and is typically with unhealthy foods or sugary treats. A NEM stress response, like this, can cause you to crave carbohydrates and sugar. If you are stressed out and use eating as a way to feel better, you should try a different distraction. Combate the harmful effects of sugar by getting out and do an activity you love instead, like a movie, bicycling, swimming, or meeting up with friends. Also, it is a good idea to limit the amount of unhealthy food you buy. This way if you do reach for a snack it will be something healthy like an apple.

From a different point a view, stress can trigger the ‘fight or flight’ response, which often times will rise your blood glucose levels to prepare your body to fight. The harmful effects of sugar of these rising glucose levels on a person who already has high blood glucose levels can cause serious damage to you body. This is why it is so important to try your best to monitor your blood glucose levels and sugar intake closely.

Harmful effects of sugar when you have adrenal fatigue symptoms stress can lower your blood glucose levels dramatically and even cause hypoglycemia. Those individuals who suffer with adrenal fatigue are already having different stresses on the body, when you further add to this stress your energy levels quickly drop. At this point many people with adrenal fatigue will typically reach for a sugary treat filled with added sugars or artificial sweeteners such as a soda. This type of snacking will temporarily relieve some of the lack of energy and hypoglycemic symptoms they are experiencing for about an hour or so. However, after that it will ping-pong their glucose levels even lower creating even worse symptoms. If you eat a healthy snack or meal instead of reaching for that sugary treat you can combat hypoglycemia without the ping-pong glucose levels and stress that it puts on your pancreas, adrenal glands and heart.

People who have Type 2 Diabetes will often have elevated blood glucose levels when under stress. Since their bodies don’t produce insulin effectively, harmful effects of sugar effects the glucose just piles up in their body and can lead to hyperglycemia. People with Type 2 Diabetes know how important it is to maintain healthy glucose levels especially when they are stressed out.

Final Thoughts

Harmful effects of sugar on your healthThe best way to maintain a healthy body overall without the harmful effects, that sugar creates in your body, is to completely minimize your sugar intake. Taking no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day will ensure that you are properly maintain normal blood glucose levels in your body while not adding stress to your organs or your worsening adrenal fatigue syndrome. The symptoms of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia will negatively impact your body and organs because sugar can affect so many aspects of your body from your heart to your brain. It’s better to monitor your intake in order to protect your body from these harmful effects. Keep in mind soda, sugary juices and energy drinks are only temporary energy fixes that will result in a ping-pong effect of your energy levels and glucose levels. It is always best to cut them out of your diet all together, especially if you suffer from adrenal fatigue. Water is one of the best drinks you can have, so kick your soda habit and replace it with a good water habit. Lastly, always remember to talk to a professional or a specialists before going on special diets such as low sugar diets. This will ensure that you are still eating healthy and will not hurt your body by or put you at any unnecessary risks.

© Copyright 2017 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.

Harmful effects of sugar