Negative Effects of Sugar on the Body & How to Reduce Intake

By Micheal
Negative Effects of Sugar on the Body & How to Reduce Intake

In 2014, an Australian documentary, That Sugar Film, captured worldwide attention because of its storyline. 
The documentary explored Damon Gameau’s 2-months experiment on eating sugars found in perceived healthy foods. Damon continued taking 40 teaspoons of sugar daily. The effects were drastic and impacted his overall health. Consequently, the documentary showed how the signs vanished in thin air after Damon resumed eating pre-experiment. 
That Sugar Film sparked interest and raised awareness of most Americans' way of living. 
Americans eat around 17 teaspoons of sugar daily, about 270 calories. The AHA, on the other hand, recommends 6-10 teaspoons of sugar as a healthy dose for an average American.

When you exceed the limit, it gives way to deteriorating health. From skin to heart, liver, and overall body composition, everything starts going downhill. 

Let’s see what those negative effects are. 

Negative Effects of Sugar on Skin

Only a few people realize the harmful effects of sugar on skin. That’s mainly because the signs start appearing gradually until you finally register what happened. 

A sugar overdose can lead to the following:

  • Premature Aging – Skin needs collagen and elastin to retain its shape and remain firm. Sugar breaks down these proteins to make your skin age faster. As a result, your skin starts to look saggy, wrinkled, and dull. 
  • Aggravated Inflammatory Skin Conditions – Sugar contains carbohydrates that directly increase inflammation inside your body. So, the sudden inflammatory spike can trigger your symptoms if you have a pre-existing inflammatory skin condition, such as eczema, psoriasis, etc. 
  • Acne Breakouts – The breakouts follow the same principle of inflammation, causing zits, pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads to appear. Moreover, added sugar increases sebum production, which may also contribute to the risk of developing acne. 

Impact of Sugar on Heart

When Selena Gomez said, “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” she was definitely not talking about taking sugary diets to your heart’s content. 🍮🍨🎂🍩🍪

Pun asides, excess sugar can wear out the heart’s function like nothing else. As a result, you might suffer from raised blood pressure and increased chronic inflammation. Both lead to cardiovascular disease. 

The Liver Gets Overloaded

One of the most prominent signs of excessive sugar intake Damon started showing in That Sugar Film was fatty liver. Fatty liver is caused by a large amount of fructose present in sugar and processed in the liver. This amount can damage the liver when broken down into fat. 

The liver might even get scarred after getting inflamed, further leading to loss of blood supply to the liver. In worst-case scenarios, this condition may transition to cirrhosis, needing a liver transplant as a last resort. 

The Risk of Diabetes Increases

Your pancreas is the organ that regulates blood sugar levels. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas is no longer in a position to perform its normal function. 

It happens when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin (the hormone that regulates sugar out or into the bloodstream) or when your cells become insulin resistant. 

In addition, increased intake of sugar puts a negative strain on the liver due to fat accumulation. 

Weight Gain Becomes Unavoidable

The ‘high’ you get every time you eat sugary foods is understandable. But the trouble begins when you take more than your body needs. 

Since sugar is not a necessary nutrient required in your diet, it starts adding up and causes weight gain. 

There are other adverse effects of too much sugar, including:

  • Cancer
  • Risk of depression 
  • Dental problems


Are There Alternatives to Added Sugars?


With clinical research and studies negating the use of refined sugar in daily diet, it’s natural to search for options to curb your sweet tooth craving. 

Simply put, consuming natural sugars has health benefits and doesn’t put your body at risk of diseases. 

The alternatives to added sugar include:

  • Xylitol – a sugar alcohol extracted from corn or birch wood. Xylitol contains 2.4 calories per gram, 40% less than refined sugar. Moreover, it has no fructose, so there are no risks of fatty liver and heart diseases. 
  • Stevia – a plant-based sweetener extracted from South American bush leaves. Stevia is known to lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels. 
  • Coconut Sugar – has a lower glycemic index compared to sugar. This is mainly due to the insulin content coconut sugar contains.
  • Honey – known for its many health benefits due to the nutrients and minerals it carries. Furthermore, it has antioxidant properties to help against diabetes, heart diseases, etc. 

Tips on Reducing Sugar Intake

Once you get used to sugar, it seems too challenging to cut back on it. And since more than 80% of processed food contains sugar, it may feel unlikely to reduce sugar intake. 
Understandably, it’s not an easy task, but not impossible either. 

For example, you can try these tried and tested cut-back tips on reducing sugar intake:

  • Track your daily sugar consumption
  • Check out nutrition labels before buying a food product
  • Eat whole foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean proteins
  • Add a healthy breakfast to your daily diet
  • Eliminate one sugar source each week
  • Go for alternative flavoring
  • Cut sugary drinks like soda or sweetened tea
  • Try artificial flavors
  • Add fruits to your food for sweetening
  • Reduce sugar content in recipes

If Nothing Works, Distract Yourself

Taking sugar initiates a reward cycle in your brain by activating dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for driving happy memories and pleasurable goals). Therefore, you might be in the vice-like grip of your sugar addiction. 

If that happens, you can try doing something that takes your mind off your craving. Go for a walk, listen to music, and go far away from where you usually keep sugary food. 

You can also catch up on a friend or pass the time doing your favorite hobby – anything that makes the feeling pass. 


The negative effects of sugar can’t be emphasized further. That’s why it’s crucial to align a balanced diet plan that paves the way for a healthy lifestyle. 
As That Sugar Film concludes:

“Sugar is not evil, but life is so much better without it.”

About Author

Micheal Micheal - Writer at

Michael found his calling in writing ever since he hit his teens. As a content writer, Michael loves delving deep into the latest eCommerce and fashion trends and adding his unique touch to everything he writes.

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