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What Happens When You Eat Too Much Sugar

What happens when you eat too much sugar? It’s a question that has become increasingly relevant in today’s society, where sugary treats and processed foods are readily available and often consumed in excess. The average American consumes over 100 pounds of sugar per year, or 35 teaspoons per day. The effects of excessive sugar intake extend beyond mere indulgence, impacting various aspects of health and well-being.

From weight gain to increased risk of chronic diseases, understanding the consequences of consuming too much sugar is essential for making informed dietary choices. We delve into the physiological effects and potential health risks associated with excessive sugar consumption, shedding light on why moderation is key to maintaining optimal health.

Weston Price, DDS was a dentist in Ohio in the 1930s when he noticed a dramatic uptick in the incidence of dental problems: caries, periodontal issues, cleft palate, crowded dentition, etc. Dr. Price was director of research for the American Dental Association for 14 years. His bright mind wondered if nutrition played a role in dental problems. At his own expense, Price traveled around the world with his nurse wife and studied 15 cultures on 5 continents. His findings are clearly spelled out in his seminal book Nutrition and Physical Degeneration.

Essentially, Price found that when people abandoned their native indigenous diet of thousands of years eating local fresh plant and animal food their health declined dramatically. Price took thousands of photos of native people, some of whom had continued eating the same unprocessed diet as their ancestors, and the others who embraced the processed diet of the west. The addition of processed sugar to the diet inevitably created a rapid deterioration in physical, dental, and mental health.

Excess sugar intake poses many health risks, including heart disease, obesity, cancer, kidney stones, Alzheimer’s, and more.

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Sugar and Cancer Connection

Sugar and cancer are synonymous. Medical researchers and natural health practitioners know that cutting off the supply of certain foods, particularly sugar,  to tumors and cancer cells is the most effective and logical way to starve cancer cells.  Otto Warburg, MD earned the Nobel prize in medicine in 1931 for his discovery that cancer cells mutate into fermenting (sugar eating) cells. The modern multi-million dollar PET scan uses radioactive sugar injected into the veins of the cancer patient, then tracked throughout the body, because cancer is an “obligate glucose metabolizer”. Thomas Seyfried, PhD has written a compelling book Cancer as a Metabolic Disease, which highlights the facts surrounding cancer as a sugar feeder.

Sugar in today’s diet causes significant inflammation in our bodies. Simple carbohydrates found in white bread, pasta, snack foods, sweets contribute to the increase of sugar consumption. White sugar causes magnesium mineral deficiencies and deficiencies in magnesium promote inflammation and cancer.

Stephanie Maxson, senior clinical dietitian at MD Anderson’s Integrative Medicine Center wrote, “Prolonged inflammation can damage your body’s healthy cells and tissue, and weaken your immune system. This weakened state can increase your risk of diseases like cancer. “

Leptin Resistance When You Eat too Much Sugar

In the world of nutrition and health, the impact of excessive sugar consumption goes beyond just empty calories. One concerning consequence is the potential development of leptin resistance. Leptin, often referred to as the “satiety hormone” or the “starvation hormone,” plays a vital role in signaling to our bodies when we’ve had enough to eat. Produced by the body’s fat cells, leptin primarily affects the hypothalamus, the region responsible for regulating hunger and body weight.

In individuals with a higher body mass index (BMI), a condition known as leptin resistance may occur, leading to reduced sensitivity to the hormone’s feeding and body weight-regulating effects compared to those with normal BMI levels. Understanding leptin resistance and its connection to excessive sugar intake can shed light on the importance of making mindful dietary choices for overall health and well-being. There is an intricate relationship between sugar, leptin, and its potential impact on our bodies.

Leptin resistance has been closely associated with body fat increase, and the effect is thought to also contribute to the maintenance of obesity.  According to Robert Lustig MD, “Food was just as abundant before obesity’s ascendance. The problem is the increase in sugar consumption. Sugar both drives fat storage and makes the brain think it is hungry, setting up a “vicious cycle.”
Why is Sugar Bad For You

When You Eat Too Much Sugar Glucose is Stored as Belly Fat

Some studies have theorized probability in which leptin resistance may be a side effect of obesity, and not a contributing cause as thought by the majority of people. Leptin acts as a potent energy enhancing hormones, although its effects may diminish or even be absent in the obese state. In simpler words, when people develop leptin resistance, this satisfied signal is never received. The individuals may be fat but their brains are not able to realize it. As the brain simulated starvation mode due to the lack of leptin produced, the brain will also direct the body to store glucose as belly fat.

Blood Sugar Spikes When You Eat Too Much Sugar

Foods composed primarily of simple sugars can be digested almost immediately as it requires only a little amount of breaking down process. Consuming a bunch of simple sugars, however, causes a huge rush of glucose into the blood. To overcome this excess, the pancreas will release extra insulin to turn glucose into glycogen, which the liver and muscles may use up. After the sugar rush has ended, blood sugar levels will drop dramatically. Eating protein and vegetables before carbohydrates leads to lower post-meal glucose and insulin levels in obese patients with type 2 diabetes(1)

Many sweets are loaded with so much glucose that it floods the body and making the body overwhelmed, which will trigger the brain counteraction by shooting out serotonin, the sleep-regulating hormone. This process will trigger stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to be released in order to activate stored sugar supplies. Stress hormones will increase heart rate, causing the stomach to be uneasy and clenching as it anticipates for an attack, and leaving a shaky, nauseated feeling once the body realizes that there is no danger to respond to.

Insulin Resistance Caused by Eating Too Much Sugar

Insulin resistance takes place when the level of insulin is considerably high over a very longer period, and thus causes the sensitivity of body to the hormone to decrease. It is believed that one of the principle causes of insulin resistance include obesity, as it is suggested that central obesity (which occurs around the belly area) causes the fat cells to become oxygen deprived and to die.

The body may not be producing enough insulin to fulfill the need, and this causes some glucose to not be able to get into the cells. Glucose will remain in the bloodstream, causing high blood glucose levels and in many cases this will cause the body to produce more insulin than reasonably expected to convert the amount of food eaten at a meal into energy. (2)

The pancreas will actually working overtime in order to produce more insulin as the body cells are resistant to the insulin’s effects, so regardless of the presence of insulin in the bloodstream, the cells will not be able to be unlocked and therefore do not let enough glucose to enter into the cells.

Reverse Insulin Resistance

Once the body starts to be resistant to insulin, it can be quite difficult to reverse because the knock on effect of insulin resistance. This resistance may be aggravated by more insulin circulating in the blood stream and also by weight gain. Insulin resistance is usually closely associated with inflammation, which is the body’s attempt to repair itself.

One of the earliest and most obvious symptoms of insulin resistance is weight gain, particularly around the middle (stomach area). Other symptoms include lethargy, insatiable hunger, difficulty in concentrating as well as a high blood pressure. More importantly, a long term and increasingly severe level of insulin resistance may develop into what is known as Type 2 Diabetes.

Memory Loss from Eating Too Much Sugar

The maintenance of a normal blood sugar level is important as a protection against more than diabetes. One of the extra benefits of maintaining normal blood sugar levels is also related in preventing age-related memory loss. Researchers have shown that rising blood sugars specifically aims at the hippocampus, which is a vital brain area linked to memory decline.

The finding show that actions taken to improve blood sugar level, which includes exercising regularly and eating healthier, may help both the body and the brain in coping with the aging process. There is more concern about the fructose in high-fructose corn syrup, which is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative.   (3)

What Happens When You Eat Too Much Sugar

Research focused in the dentate gyrus within the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with memory and learning has affirmed that increased blood sugar was the sole changing factor to decrease its activity, compared with rising cholesterol and body weight. As blood sugar levels are often higher as a person ages, monitoring and carrying out actions to lower blood sugar is vital for avoiding age related cognitive decline, even for people without diabetes indication.

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Brain and Sugar Connection

Other research has shown that poorly controlled diabetes may cause memory loss as the brain runs on glucose, and the brain glucose storage is limited. Higher than normal blood glucose levels are known to damage the nerves, where the brain is affected in the same manner and therefore is not immune to these effects. Even situated within a healthy range, research has shown that an increase of about seven units on a blood test was linked to the ability to remember two fewer words after 30 minutes on a memory test. A UCLA rat study showed how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain and hampers memory and learning.

The extent of memory loss affected by high level of sugar can be stretched out to as far as causing Alzheimer’s disease. A lot of studies have beginning to find the link between excess sugar and cognitive issues. High level of sugar also had been proven to possibly increase the risk of dementia in the older ages. Try cutting back on refined sugars. You will find energy levels increase and if you are recovering from illness you will help your body by getting healthier.

Methods to lower gut and blood glucose:


Low glycemic index foods, meaning no simple sugars

Intermittent fasting, eat in a 8 hour window, and fast during the remaining 16 hour window

Meditate, stress can dramatically raise blood glucose as the body prepares for “fight or flight”

Sleep, deep restorative sleep calms the cortisol levels in the body, helping to regulate blood glucose


Dr. Patrick Quillin

Dr. Patrick Quillin, PhD,RD,CNS is an internationally recognized expert in the area of nutrition and health. He has 30 years experience as a clinical nutritionist, of which 10 years were spent as the Vice President for a leading cancer hospital system where he worked with thousands of cancer patients in a hospital setting. He is a Best Selling Author with 18 books which have sold over 2,000,000 copies and also a Keynote Speaker.

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