Sugar is delicious. Anyone who denies that is lying. But because life is unfair, sugar, especially in copious amounts, is really bad for your health. In fact, once you learn about all the ways sugar impacts your body, it’s difficult to look at it the same way (despite knowing how heavenly it tastes).
So how do you know if you’re eating too much? Here are eight red flags your body is sending you that it’s time to cut back on the sweet stuff.
1. Tiredness & Lack of energy
A constant feeling of tiredness or fatigue is one of the biggest signs you’ve got too much sugar in your diet.
Although high-sugar foods can give you a big carbohydrate boost and temporarily lend a feeling of increased energy, the crash that comes afterward is a daunting one. Feeling tired all the time may be a sign that it’s time to reexamine your diet to see if you’re eating (or drinking) too much sugar.
2. Sugar/Carb Cravings
If you find yourself craving the sweet flavor of sugary snacks on a daily basis, chances are you’ve become a sugar addict.
Sugar consumption can create a chain reaction of sugar cravings because it is so sweetly addictive. If you hear the carbs calling your name with every move you make, you could be in the throes of a deep sugar addiction.
3. Frequent colds & flu
If you find yourself falling ill more often than you used to, it could be due to having excessive sugar in your diet.
If every virus that goes around seems to find you and make you sick, it could be due to your penchant for sugary treats. Consumption of too much sugar can weaken your immune system, making your body’s natural ability to fight off colds, flu viruses, and even chronic disease weaker than it would be if you avoided foods with added sugars.
4. Your brain tends to get foggy, especially after a meal.
This fog is a common symptom of low blood sugar. When you eat a lot of sugar, your blood sugar levels rapidly rise and fall instead of gradually doing so. “Poor blood sugar control is a major risk for cognitive issues and impairment,” says Alpert.
5. Nothing tastes as sweet as it used to.
“Eating too much sugar basically bombards your taste buds,” Alpert says. “This sugar overkill causes your taste bud sugar tolerance to go up, so you need more and more sugar to satisfy that sweet craving.” When your taste buds need lots of sugar to feel like something is sweet enough, it can be tough to lower your base level. However, it you cut back and suffer through it in the beginning, you’ll eventually lower your tolerance again and be content with minimal sugar. You might even start to feel like things are too sweet for you and—gasp!—be happier consuming sugar in moderation.
6. Skin and feet problems (including dark circles under your eyes)
Sugar has an inflammatory effect on the body when it is eaten, so it can also contribute to inflammatory skin problems.
If you find yourself suffering from acne, rosacea, eczema, or even just excessive oiliness or dryness, sugar could be to blame. Some people find that cutting sugar out of their diets greatly improves their skin problems (not to mention their overall health).
According to Dr. Sherri Greene, a podiatrist in New York City, sugar could also have an inflammatory effect on your feet. This inflammation could appear in your foot as plantar fasciitis, which causes pain in the thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot, in your heel, or elsewhere in your foot.
I already mentioned in the past that too much sugar consumption can also cause adrenal fatigue and there are people who believe that one of the signs of adrenal fatigue is dark circles under the eyes.
7.You’ve been putting on some weight.
Excess sugar is excess calories, and since it has no protein or fiber, it doesn’t fill you up (so you just keep eating it). It also triggers the release of insulin, a hormone that plays a big role in weight gain. When we eat sugar, the pancreas releases insulin, which carries sugar to our organs so it can be used for energy. When you load up on sugar, your body’s told to produce more insulin—over time, that excessive output can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance means our bodies can’t respond to normal amounts of insulin properly and therefore can’t use sugar the right way.
The initial weight gain from simply eating too many calories from sugar is being compounded by the disruption to your normal insulin response (there’s a link between insulin resistance and obesity). What’s more, when the pancreas works in overdrive for too long you can develop diabetes.