Two different types of sugar exist: simple and complex. Complex sugar takes longer for your body to break down and is healthier for your body. This type is found in natural carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruit. On the other hand, simple sugar is broken down by your body quickly and causes energy ups and downs. This type of sugar includes refined and processed sugar found in table sugar and added to many sweets. Consuming an excess of simple sugar comes with numerous health problems.
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Immune System Health
Eating too much simple sugar can negatively affect your immune system for up to 5 hours after you eat it, according to AskDrSears.com. An excess of sugar blocks your immune system from functioning properly and diminishes the ability of white blood cells to fight bacteria. In contrast, complex carbohydrates do not have these effects. Dr. Sears reports that just eight tablespoons of sugar, or 2 1/2, 12-ounce cans of soda, reduces your immune system's ability to fight germs by 40 percent.
Almost everyone has experienced energy surges and dips after eating simple sugars as they are broken down quickly in your body. While not everyone has the same reaction to sugar, sugar-sensitive people have drastic “sugar highs” from adrenaline surges after eating sugar and “sugar lows” associated with low blood sugar. These effects can lead to behavior problems, difficulty paying attention and trouble learning.
Similar to consuming too much salt, an excess of sugar can lead to high blood pressure in men, according to the American Heart Association. These results are associated with fructose, the type of sugar found in table sugar and added to many products, and are not related to another type of sugar: glucose. However, high blood pressure from sugar occurred in men consuming much more fructose than the amount found in the typical American diet.
It’s no surprise that sugar negatively affects your dental health. When the sugar you eat mixes with plaque, it creates an acid that can cause tooth decay over time, according to the American Dental Association. The ADA recommends eating fewer foods with added sugar, such as desserts, to brush your teeth twice a day and to floss regularly.
Contrary to popular belief, sugar does not directly cause diabetes, says the American Dietetic Association. However, excessive sugar, similar to other unhealthy eating habits, can indirectly lead to diabetes. Eating an excess of foods high in calories, which includes many foods that are also high in sugar, can cause you to gain weight. This weight gain can increase your chances of developing diabetes.