Why too much sugar is ruining your health

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That sweet tooth is sometimes hard to ignore, but sugar can have a huge impact on your overall health and well-being. 

“Sugar provides empty calories, so a diet high in sugar often has too many calories, leading to a lot of problems, including weight gain,” says Lori Chong, RDN, LD, a registered dietitian with Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

How much sugar is too much?


U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend no more than 10 percent of total daily calories come from “added sugar.” Note: This refers to added sugar, not sugar found naturally in things like fruit and milk.  So if your daily caloric intake is 1,500 calories, your daily sugar intake should be limited to about 37.5 grams (or 9.4 teaspoons) of added sugar.

If your daily caloric intake is 2,000 calories, those limits go up to about 50 grams (or 12.5 teaspoons) of added sugar. For perspective – a single 12-ounce regular soda contains about 40 grams, or 10 teaspoons, of added sugar.

What are the overall health risks of consuming too much sugar?


Eating and drinking too much sugar for long periods of time can lead to insulin resistance and eventually type 2 diabetes, says Chong.

Sugar is carbohydrate without any other nutrients like vitamins and minerals. Metabolizing our food requires nutrients, so sugar uses up nutrients without providing any in return, explains Chong.

7 areas of your health affected by high sugar diet:
  • Joint Pain – Sugar causes inflammation, which makes pain worse.
  • Teeth – Sugar is a big contributor to cavity development.
  • Liver – Too much sugar gets made into fat by the liver, but the liver has better things to do (like detoxification). If the workload is too much, then some of that fat is deposited right into the liver, leading to fatty liver. 
  • Pancreas – Too much sugar over time will promote insulin resistance, which causes the pancreas to work harder. 
  • Kidneys –Sugar causes an increase in kidney disease risk factors, including diabetes and obesity.
  • Heart – A high sugar and high fat diet can decrease the amount of blood that flows to and from your heart.
  • Sexual health – If something is bad for your arteries, then it is also bad for your sexual health.


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