Sugar consumption – from added sugar primarily – in this country is completely out of control. Americans are consuming as much as 22 teaspoons of added sugar every day.

And it’s true, too much sugar can wreak havoc when it comes to your health.

We all know the effects of too much sugar are bad in theory, but how does too much sugar specifically damage your health?

Related: How are Sugar and Blood Pressure Related?

Chances are, your body on sugar is a less healthy place than you think, and there are a lot of reasons why.

1. Weight Gain and Hunger

Sugar and sugary-foods might satisfy your sweet tooth initially, but they are satisfying in the long run or nutritious. Simply put, they taste good.

Sugar-packed snacks don’t help you feel full, but they’re still PACKED with calories. This is why, when you eat sugary foods, you feel like you can eat a lot. This is one factor that leads to weight gain, the lack of appetite control.

The other factor is the way excess sugar is stored. If you have all that sugar circulating around your body with:

a) nowhere to go
b) no physical activity to burn it off

Then sugar gets stored as fat and leads to weight gain.

In addition to the empty calories you’re consuming, too much sugar can lead to leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone that sends signals that you’ve had too much to eat. Without the “I’m full” signal, you’re appetite will significantly increase.

2. Liver Failure

Sound horrible? It is.

Your liver is a key player in how the body metabolizes sugar.

When there’s too much sugar to deal with, your liver is overwhelmed and can lead to excess fat storage and even “scarring” that can cause liver failure.

Damage to the liver isn’t typically detectable until an individual goes into full-blown liver failure. This is often indicated by nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, and lack of appetite.

Liver failure is quite serious, and can be fatal if not treated quickly.

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3. Poor Nutrition

This seems like a given, and it really should be.

Think about it this way: if you’re too occupied with eating your way through processed foods, sweets, and prepackaged goods, think of all the other healthy, nutritious options you’re completely overlooking.

Not to mention that the least expensive grocery items offered tend to be sweet processed foods.

Instead of overlooking healthy options because they’re too difficult to prepare or seem “more expensive”, think about the cost of damaging your health.

The cost of eating healthy and buying quality groceries and foods to put in your body is much less than paying for extensive medical bills, and they;re far easier to deal with than overwhelming health issues in the future.

4. Insulin Resistance and Diabetes

Insulin is the hormone that helps your body convert glucose stores into fuel or energy.

When the body is overloaded with sugar, it produces more insulin to handle the large influx of sugar. Over time and regular sugar consumption, your body adapts to the high levels of insulin and stops producing enough to deal with the sugar.

This leads to a build-up of glucose in the blood stream as your body’s sensitivity to insulin decreases.

Insulin resistance is often a precursor for high blood pressure, weight gain, and type 2 diabetes.

5. Heart Disease

Studies indicate there is a significant relationship between sugar consumption and cardiovascular disease.

This could be because high amounts of sugar affect blood glucose, blood pressure, and extra sugar gets stored as fat in the body.

Typically, this fat is stored around the middle, or even around organs, as well as playing a role in artery blockage.

6. Poor Brain Function

Multiple studies show a strong relationship between excessive sugar intake and poor brain function.

This could be because sugar interferes with emotional reactions, as well as being a contributor to stress, depression, and anxiety.

Sugar has been known to impair learning abilities and memory, as well as being highly addictive.

A certain study showed that rats, if they were given a choice, would choose sugar over cocaine. This suggests the effects might not be so different when it comes to humans and sugar.

7. Dental Health

Studies as far back as 1967 have called sugar the “arch criminal” behind cavities. Your teeth suffer as the bacteria that line the teeth feed on simple sugar. That process creates acid that destroys your enamel and leads to decay.

Consuming excessive amounts of sugar directly leads to reduced dental health and significantly increases your chances of getting cavities.