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10 bad things you never knew sugar was doing to your body

July 20th 2017 / Katie Robertson Google+ Katie Robertson / 4 comments


We reached out to our stellar panel of expert nutritionists and heard from Vicki Edgson and Eve Kalinik about the secret damage sugar is doing to our body

Tell the average person that an excess of sugar can lead to tooth decay and weight-gain, and they’ll probably tell you that they already know that. Mention consequences such as heart disease, wrinkles and rotten gums however, and they’re unlikely to be so sugar savvy.

While you might consider yourself to be following a reasonably healthy diet, the average person in Britain currently consumes a whopping 238 teaspoons of sugar each week - often without even knowing it. Indeed a large proportion of our deadly sugar intake is hidden within seemingly innocent snacks and foods such as soups, yoghurts and ready meals.

With absolutely no nutritional value and being proven to be a major factor in causing obesity and diabetes both in the UK and worldwide, it’s never been more important for us to pay attention and cut out the secret sugars that are sneaking their way into our daily diets - we’re sure that if you knew the extent sugar was really harming your body, you couldn’t look at a Mars bar in the same way again.

It's the number one cause of premature wrinkles

“Too much sugar consumption forms a process called glycation and end products called AGEs (yes it does what it says!), says expert Nutritionist Eve Kalinik. “This affects the structure and flexibility of proteins and the most vulnerable of these in the skin are collagen and elastin which are the ones needed for plump and firmness. This also leaves the skin much more susceptible to the effects of environmental damage too.”

It harms your hormones

“Sugar upsets your hormone levels, so watch out if you’ve discovered you have imbalances such as PCOS – (Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome), Endometriosis or heavy periods, says expert Nutritionist Vicki Edgson. “While you might crave chocolate prior to your period for the magnesium it contains to relax cramping muscles, choose dark low-sugar chocolate which is more likely to help, without harming at the same time.”

It drains your energy

“Sugar deprives you of energy, rather than contributing to increased amounts. Athletes in particular, know this. Eating high sugar foods prior to a race or hurdles only slows you down. Susannah Taylor found this on her training towards her triathlon, and Sarah Vine can vouch for this when she experienced her various delvings into diets that don’t work.” Vicki recommends snacking on an apple, core and all if you’re looking for a little lift. “Plenty of fibre combined with the inherent glucose in a food is the best way to ‘get your fix’ – with the glucose being released more slowly and consistently.”

It’s like an addiction

“Sugar is highly addictive since it affects satiety hormones (the ones that tell us we are full) and that’s why we continue to eat it”, says nutritionist Eve Kalinik. “It also stimulates dopamine in the brain, giving that pleasure effect, so with the two together it can be a pretty difficult habit to break!”

MORE GLOSS: Sweet talk: Is there a healthier alternative to sugar?

It rots your gums

Not just a danger to your teeth, sugar also hugely contributes to the rotting of your gums. “This in turn then leads to gingivitis and causes your teeth to fall out”, says Vicki. She advises chewing parsley to naturally sweeten your breath and strengthen up the gums.

It can be highly disruptive for the immune system

“Sugar feeds the yeasts in our guts”, says Eve. “Since 80% of the immune system resides in the gut, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance of the good bacteria so we can fight off viruses and bugs.”

It makes you sweat

“Sugar makes you sweat more profusely, and it isn’t a sweet odour either. As sugar is a toxin, the body will try to get rid of it anyway it can, and it won’t just be through the sweat glands in your armpits.” Nutritionist Vicki Edgson recommends using natural deodorant to stay protected and eating fresh fruit rather than dried.

It can lead to heart disease

“Sugar can be a significant contributor to heart disease since it increases triglycerides, VLDL cholesterol, insulin resistance and also leading to thickening of the arterial walls”, says Eve. All major risk factors.

Sugar makes you...break wind

The more you eat, ahem, the worse the stench, aside from being just feeling bloated and uncomfortable. “Sugar feeds the pathogenic bacteria in your gut, leading to cravings for more of the same”, says Vicki. “Don’t eat probiotic yoghurt, which simply has added sugars to ‘feed the good bacteria’ – it’s nonsense! Take a good quality probiotic supplement such as Optibac or Biokult, which provide you with multiple strains.

It dries out your skin

“Refined sugar (bleached, blanched, and anything ending in ‘ose’ such as fructose, galactose, sucrose) all cause dehydration to skin cells, resulting in that crepey, thin-looking skin that is anything but healthy”, says Vicki Edgson. “Sugars bind to to the essential fatty acids that make up the outer layer of our skin cells, preventing the nutrients getting in, and the toxins getting out. So, rather than spending fortunes on skincare remedies, why not cut back on your sugars, and treat yourself to a great facial every month – far better value.”

Convinced? Read our expert tips on how to cut out sugar and beat sugar cravings here


Join the conversation

  • Sofia
  • November 25th 2015

Ahhh... that love/hate relation we have with sugar..
The problem is that we are born with the love of sweet things... Being constantly surrounded by cookies, candy, ice cream and so on is the problem. Our environment is the problem.

  • October 17th 2014

Hi Laia - so glad you enjoyed it!

In response to your question Eve has said 'Yes predominantly we are talking about refined sugar as this has zero nutritional benefits in it. Fruit contains fructose which is a type of sugar but fruits in themselves also contain a wealth of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients (if organic!). Fruit juice is a concentrated hit of this so better to stick to whole foods where you are taking in the fibre that also slows down absorption and less of a spike in blood sugar levels. I usually advise clients to stick to one piece of fruit per day and make up the other 7 servings of fruit and veg per day with the latter.'


  • Laia
  • October 14th 2014

Very interesting article thanks!
I presume by sugar we are talking about refined sugar here, but does fruit count as sugar? Or fruit juice? Isn't fructose in sugar and if so how much is too much?

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  • Alexandria
  • October 14th 2014

WoW! This is shocking! I hate to admit it but I do love sugar! I have known it is not good for me but hearing it ages you is horrible!

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