4 Signs that Sugar Is Bad for You

Sometimes sugar makes us feels bad, which triggers a series of quite characteristic signals. Discover if sugar is bad for you.
4 Signs that Sugar Is Bad for You
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 26 March, 2023

There are a number of signs that can alert you that sugar is bad for you. In that case, it’s best to reduce your consumption to experience a feeling of well-being. Otherwise, the metabolic disease could end up appearing, thus conditioning the state of health.

Sugar has a fundamentally energetic function. This means that it serves as a substrate for carrying out high-intensity activities. However, when consumed in the context of a sedentary lifestyle, the results can be negative.

Signs that sugar is bad for you

Next, we’re going to show you what the main signs are that sugar is bad for you. In the event that you have more doubts, it’s best to go to a specialist to receive an accurate diagnosis or to start an effective treatment.

1. Increased need for sweets

Some people experience an excessive need to consume sweet foods at some point in the day. Authors speculate that this may happen because sugar’s capable of producing a certain amount of addiction at the brain level.

The truth is that the intake of this compound triggers the synthesis of neurotransmitters related to the sensation of temporary pleasure. This can lead to some need for repeated consumption.

In the case of experiencing this sensation, perhaps it would be convenient to implement certain dietary mechanisms to prevent the situation from getting worse.

You may need to reduce sugar intake for a certain period of time, emphasizing the presence of fresh foods in your diet. These have a much higher nutritional density, which is why they’re also considered to be of higher quality.

In fact, simple sugar intake doesn’t make much sense outside of high-intensity exercise. People include it in their diet for its organoleptic characteristics, but not for its functionality.

This substance is capable of ensuring good performance when explosive or maximum force exercises are carried out, but its consumption in sedentary situations isn’t positive.

2. Headaches

The regular presence of sugar in the diet may increase the frequency and intensity of headaches and migraines in some people. This is evidenced by research published in the Iranian Journal of Child Neurology .

For this reason, people who experience this kind of problem should consider a type of diet with less presence of carbohydrates.

In any case, although the keto diet can help improve the management of migraines and reduce their frequency, limiting the intake of simple carbohydrates is what’s decisive. These complexes usually cause a much less significant effect, although, on certain occasions, they’re also responsible for this class of diseases.

Be that as it may, raising a high intake of anti-inflammatory compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids usually produces good results.

A high presence of sugar in the diet is capable of altering the composition of the intestinal microbiota, which produces a series of effects that are still quite uncertain in the medium term.

Influencing the density and diversity of bacteria that inhabit the intestine can determine the inflammatory and oxidative balance in the internal environment. It can also condition the absorption of nutrients and the proper functioning of the central nervous system.

To prevent problems in this regard, it’s a good idea to consider a diet with a high content of fermented milk and fiber. The former contains probiotics, live bacteria that have been shown to benefit the microbiota.

For its part, fiber is the main energy substrate for the growth of these microorganisms, which guarantees their survival.

3. Alterations in the state of energy

A person who's having a hard time concentrating on his work.
Bad dietary habits can affect almost any aspect of life, including work.

When sugar is bad for you, you may often experience changes in energy status after consumption. This is usually generated by a situation of insulin resistance and low metabolic flexibility.

Normally this sensation warns of the existence of some disease related to the pancreas, such as type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. It’s usually frequent in obese and overweight people.

To reverse the problem, the best thing is a change in habits sustained over time. It’s important to implement the practice of physical exercise on a regular basis, focusing above all on muscle strength work.

Therefore, an anti-inflammatory effect is achieved, which will improve the body’s response to many nutrients. The act of complementing the approach with a hypocaloric diet will also help quite a bit.

Some people also report that by implementing a keto or low-carb diet the feeling of energy improves significantly. This usually occurs because metabolic flexibility increases, which causes greater mobilization and oxidation of lipids located in adipose tissue.

However, for many, this kind of diet isn’t sustainable over time, as adherence isn’t always good.

During the first few days of ketosis, you may experience a number of side effects known as the “keto flu.” This is evidenced by research published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition.

Normally, the symptoms are gastrointestinal in nature, although sometimes it manifests itself through headaches and some fatigue. Of course, it usually improves when 3 or 4 days pass and the body adapts.

4. White tongue

Some people may experience a white tongue after consuming an excessive amount of sugar. This is because these nutrients are the energy substrate for some bacteria that inhabit the oral cavity.

Hence, their metabolism and the genesis of waste products are stimulated, which usually accumulate on the tongue. This could lead to halitosis and a bad taste in the mouth, making it uncomfortable.

If you experience a problem of this type, reducing the sugar content of the diet and even supplementing with probiotics may be good alternatives. Influencing the density and diversity of the oral microbiota will even contribute to preventing other diseases such as cavities or periodontal problems.

Low sugar diets to improve health

A man eating a salad.
There are healthy and energetic alternatives to gradually abandon “dependence” on some types of sugars.

Whether you notice that sugar makes you feel sick or not, considering a diet with a reduced presence of this nutrient could be beneficial for your health. Especially when high-intensity physical exercise isn’t performed frequently.

In these cases, there’s a greater probability of simple carbohydrates ending up turning into fat, affecting insulin sensitivity.

In fact, approaches with reduced carbohydrate intake can be related to a lower risk of developing certain types of complex diseases. This is demonstrated by research published in the journal Atherosclerosis.

However, increasing the fiber content in the diet can also be a good alternative, generating more adherence than low-sugar options.

Fiber’s capable of delaying gastric emptying and limiting the absorption of nutrients. This has a good side and a bad side.

On the one hand, the impact of sugars on blood glucose levels is reduced. However, the state of certain micronutrients in the internal environment can also be conditioned, such as iron. This already has a low availability, so the presence of an element that makes its absorption difficult could give rise to a deficit.

Now, what’s clear is that regular fiber consumption has the ability to help prevent the development of various types of chronic and complex diseases. For example, according to a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, a daily intake of at least 25 grams of the substance could reduce the incidence of colon cancer.

Identify when sugar is bad for you

The symptoms are precise when sugar is bad for you. In the event that they develop frequently, it may be necessary to visit a nutrition specialist to suggest a change in habits.

Not only will it be necessary to act at the dietary level, but it may be that the intervention involves other daily habits. For example, practicing physical activity will be essential in order to improve health.

Both lactose and fructose may not be adequately absorbed by the intestine, leading to intolerances. Some of the symptoms may coincide with those mentioned, in addition to alterations at the intestinal level.

In these cases, it’s best to start by carrying out a precise diagnosis with a medical professional who will suggest a dietary mechanism accordingly, allowing the process to be managed well.

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