FoodExcessive sugar consumption: the hidden signs and tips to reduce intake, according to a dietitian

Excessive sugar consumption: the hidden signs and tips to reduce intake, according to a dietitian

Do you have these symptoms? Limit your sugar intake before it's too late.
Do you have these symptoms? Limit your sugar intake before it's too late.
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Nemanja Saric

7:07 AM EST, February 10, 2024

Do you monitor your sugar consumption daily? Overindulging in sugar can pose significant health risks, even when you're not cognizant of it. It's crucial to look out for symptoms indicating you've surpassed the recommended limit. A dietitian sheds light on how to identify if you're ensnared in "sugar traps" and how you can curtail your consumption of this sweet substance before it becomes a more serious concern.

Indications of excessive sugar consumption

High sugar intake can lead to severe health impacts including the onset of type 2 diabetes, obesity, fatty liver disease, dental decay, and a weakened immune system.

If you observe one or more of the given symptoms, it might be a sign that you're consuming too much sugar:

  • Low blood sugar levels: Symptoms include feeling fatigued, weak, shaky, dizzy, or experiencing headaches.
  • Obesity and fatty liver disease: You may notice weight increase, particularly in the abdominal area, alongside abdominal discomfort or nausea.
  • Sweet cravings: You may be incessantly yearning for sweets, even after having a meal.
  • Digestive issues: Bloating, diarrhea, or constipation could be experienced.
  • Weakened immune system: A higher frequency in catching infections.
  • Difficulty in focusing: Trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
  • Dental decay: Manifested through cavities in your tooth enamel.

If you identify with any of these indications, curtailing your sugar intake is advisable.

Sugar© Adobe Stock

Below are a few tips to help you achieve this:

  • Read food labels and opt for products with a low glycemic index.
  • Minimise your consumption of beverages sweetened with sugar.
  • Choose fruits, with their natural sugar content, over sweet treats.
  • Substitute sugar with honey or maple syrup in recipes.
  • Boost your physical activity.

Reducing sugar intake could significantly enhance your health and overall well-being.

The role of sugar in our diet: Why we shouldn't entirely eliminate it

Why isn't a complete sugar elimination advisable? Dietitian Uwe Schroeder of the German Institute of Sports Nutrition elucidates that sugar plays a crucial role in our body, hence moderation is key. Overconsumption of sugar creates difficulty in storage within cells, thereby increasing the demand for insulin and possibly culminating in insulin resistance.

Schroeder recommends a maximum sugar intake of about 50 g daily, constituting about 10% of the total amount of energy consumed. This is particularly important for those leading a sedentary lifestyle. Note that this limit applies not only to common household sugar but also includes sugars present in fruits and vegetables.

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