We’ve all heard the expression that “you can never have too much of a good thing.” However, this is far from the truth, especially when it comes to your diet and health. Natural sugars exist in all foods that contain carbohydrates, including healthy foods like whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. In these cases, the sugar provides an essential supply of energy to the cells. However, many foods, including seemingly healthy fruit juices, add in additional sugar to help improve flavor or extend the product’s shelf life. It’s important to be aware of the sugar content in the foods and drinks that you and your family enjoy, as too much sugar can lead to serious long-term health problems.
There is obviously a very strong link between sugar consumption and the development of type 2 diabetes. In addition to contributing to obesity, the strongest risk factor for diabetes, consuming too much sugar can cause a resistance to insulin, deregulating blood sugar levels and significantly increasing the risk of diabetes. For people who already have diabetes, too much sugar can lead to long-term kidney damage.
Eating and drinking too much sugar can create extra insulin in a person’s bloodstream. This in turn can cause a chain reaction that affects arteries all over the body. Excess insulin in the blood can cause the artery walls to become inflamed while becoming thicker and more stiff. This creates additional stress on the heart that may damage it over time. The result is a significantly increased risk of heart disease including heart failure, heart attacks, and strokes. Additionally, too much sugar can also contribute to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for heart disease.
This is merely the tip of the iceberg. A prolonged period of eating and drinking too much sugar can contribute to a very wide variety of other health problems ranging from skin issues to dental complications to arthritis and more. Sugar can also affect a person’s mood and even lead to mental health issues like depression in some people.
The trick is not to give up sugar entirely, but to be aware of the potential effects of consuming too much of it and making the simple changes that can help promote your best long-term health and wellness. As a good start, we recommend cutting out sugary drinks like sodas and fruit juices and replacing them with healthier options like water or more natural products that do not contain added sugars. For more information or to schedule an appointment, or a telemedicine appointment, please contact Family Practice Center. And follow us on Facebook and Twitter for additional health tips, news, and much more.