Your dentist has warned you about it. Your mother probably locked it away in a treat drawer. And you already know it’s terrible for you. Sugar. It’s everywhere. And it might even seem easy to avoid, especially if you think sweets are the primary source of sugar in your diet. But sugar lurks in unexpected places. White flour and fruit snacks, for instance, are a prime source, and even salty foods are often loaded with sugar. Sweetened drinks, too, can contain enough sugar to send you into a sugar rush that quickly causes you to crash.
All this sugar can do some pretty unpleasant things to your health. So if you’re concerned that your diet could be a culprit in an underlying health problem, check out these five common symptoms of excess sugar consumption.
1. You have mood swings
Sugar temporarily gives you a feeling of energy, but that quickly ends with a sugar crash that can feel a lot like a hangover. Over time, the highs and lows inherent to life on sugar may become less apparent to you, but they’re still there. If you struggle with mood swings, this could indicate you’re cycling in and out of a sugar rush. Facing depression or anxiety? Some evidence suggest sugar can lead to mental health problems.
2. You’re exhausted
Sugar depletes your body’s resources, leaving you feeling exhausted even when you’ve gotten plenty of sleep. If you spend half of the day waking up and feel fatigued no matter how much sleep you get, it’s time to turn a critical eye toward your diet.
3. You’re always hungry
Leptin is the chemical your body uses to help you feel full, signaling that it’s time to stop eating. Too much sugar consumption, though, can destroy leptin, interfering with your ability to feel full. If you truly feel always hungry—rather than just eating out of boredom or to cope with stress—sugar could have caused leptin to stop properly functioning, leading to chronic hunger pangs.
4. You’re gaining weight
One of the most obvious telltale signs that you’re eating too much sugar is weight gain. Even if you keep your daily caloric intake low, the body tends to pack on the pounds when there’s too much sugar circulating in your blood. Moreover, most high-sugar foods are also high in calories, so that so-called health food that’s high in sugar could be a culprit in your expanding waistline.
5. You have gastrointestinal problems
Fruit can cause diarrhea, but this isn’t because of anything unique to fruit. Fructose, the sugar most prevalent in fruit, is correlated with a host of gastrointestinal problems
, including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and loose stools. If you’re having some trouble in the bathroom, consider whether the fuel you feed your body might also be feeding your gastrointestinal distress.
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