Sugar is delicious. Anyone who denies that is lying. But because life is unfair, sugar, especially in copious amounts, is really bad for your health. In fact, once you learn about all the ways sugar impacts your body, it’s difficult to look at it the same way (despite knowing how heavenly it tastes).
So how do you know if you’re eating too much? Here are eight red flags your body is sending you that it’s time to cut back on the sweet stuff.
1. You constantly crave sugary things.
The more sugar you eat, the more you’ll crave it. “More cravings then equal consuming more sugar—it becomes a vicious and addictive cycle,” Brooke Alpert, M.S., R.D., author of The Sugar Detox: Lose Weight, Feel Great and Look Years Younger, tells SELF. This isn’t just because your taste buds have adapted and left you needing more and more to get that same taste, but also because of how sugar gives you a high followed by a crash, just like an actual drug. “By eating a high sugar diet, you cause a hormonal response in your body that’s like a wave, it brings you up and then you crash down and it triggers your body to want more sugar.”
2. You feel sluggish throughout the day.
What goes up must come down. After sugar causes an initial spike of insulin and that “high” feeling, it causes an inevitable crash. “Energy is most stable when blood sugar is stable, so when you’re consuming too much sugar, the highs and lows of your blood sugar lead to highs and lows of energy,” Alpert says. Eating a lot of sugar also means it’s likely you’re not eating enough protein and fiber, both important nutrients for sustained energy.
3. Your skin won’t stop breaking out.
“Some people are sensitive to getting a spike in insulin from sugar intake, which can set off a hormonal cascade that can lead to a breakout like acne or rosacea,” Rebecca Kazin, M.D., of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery and the Johns Hopkins department of dermatology, tells SELF. A sugar binge can show up on your face in just a few days. If your skin’s unruly, Kazin recommends reassessing your diet, otherwise “you may be treating skin for other issues without getting to the bottom of what’s really going on.”
4. You’re way moodier than usual.
The blood sugar crash that happens when you’re coming off a sugar high can cause mood swings and leave you feeling crabby. Not to mention, if your energy is also tanking, that just contributes to a bad attitude.
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