Skip to main content

Toxic Effects of Sugar on Your Body

4 min read

By Catherine Roberts

Medically Reviewed by Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

You probably don’t consider sugar a toxic substance. However, when you ponder the damage that the average American inflicts on their bodies by consuming roughly 22-teaspoons sugar per day (according to the most recent American Heart Association statistics), you may suddenly have a scary new perspective concerning the sweet stuff!

Here are 10 toxic effects that refined sugar has on your body…

Sugar Raises the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Even though a diet high in refined sugars doesn’t give you diabetes outright, the sweet stuff can make you more prone to type 2 diabetes. For instance, the online publication, PLOS ONE, conducted a study that showed that for every 150-calories of sugar an individual consumed, their risk of type 2 diabetes was accelerated by 1.1-percent.

Sugar Can Make You Depressed

Although reaching for a chocolate bar, a bag of candy, or a pint of ice cream is habitual comfort in stressful or sad times, using sugar as a mood booster doesn’t work. In fact, research from the Public Health Journal linked diets high in fast food and refined sweets to a 40-percent high rate of depression due to the fact that those with higher resistance emit lower amounts of dopamine (the feel good hormone and neurotransmitter). For more information, check out this article on the Negative Effects of Sugar on the Brain.

Sugar Increases Fat Storage

We already know that the added calories that come from fructose-laden products (i.e., table sugar and products containing high-fructose corn syrup) cause fat accumulation. However, I’m not just talking about fat around your midsection. Fructose causes fat storage around your organs—especially around your liver—which raises the risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Sugar Causes Wrinkles

You already knew that too much sugar inside your body can cause insulin resistance. However, the refined sweet stuff also wreaks havoc on the outside as well! Sugar causes wrinkles and saggy skin when it attacks and breaks down protein fibers in collagen and elastin, which are essential for a taunt, smooth, elastic visage, as well as for protection from harmful UV rays.

Sugar Raises Cholesterol

There’s long been a scary connection between diets high in refined sugar and high cholesterol. And a research study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association supports this claim further. The study monitored a group of participants (excluding any with existing high cholesterol, high body weight, or diabetes from the study) and found a correlation between increased bad cholesterol levels and unhealthy triglyceride blood fats and high sugar diets. While those with low sugar diets had the highest good (or HDL) cholesterol levels.

Sugar Raises Risk of Heart Disease

The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association have long linked type 2 diabetes to increased risk of both heart disease and stroke. Both organizations credit 65-percent of diabetes patient deaths to either cardiovascular disease or stroke.

Sugar Makes You Overeat

You’ve heard claims that suggest eating a diet high in refined sugar messes with your appetite—meaning that those with high sugar diets often can’t tell when they’re full. In order for your body to send proper satiation messages to the brain, it requires leptin hormones. However, high levels of fructose obscure leptin levels so the brain doesn’t receive these messages on time and you overeat…even if you’re already full.

Sugar Restricts Blood Vessels

You already know that high sugar diets cause high insulin levels in the bloodstream. However, chronic high insulin coursing through the body causes abnormal cell growth around your artery walls—resulting in blood vessel restriction, high blood pressure, and ultimately a heart attack or stroke!

Sugar Zaps Your Energy

We’re all aware of the mid-day energy crash. However, dragging butt to the vending machine for a chocolate bar will only boost energy temporarily. Delivering a refined sugar spike in the form of a candy bar or donut will only set the stage for a full-on sugar crash and it will cause you to eat more sugar to repeat that temporary high—resulting in weight gain, lower energy levels, and troubled sleep.

Sugar is Extremely Addictive

You know that illegal drugs (i.e., heroin and cocaine) and even legal substances (i.e., cigarettes and alcohol) are highly addictive partly because the substances within trigger the production of chemicals and cause cravings. Sugar does the very same thing, targeting the brain’s pleasure center by triggering dopamine release. Eventually, as you crave that sugar high, it will be tougher to achieve so you increase your sugar intake. Before you know it, you’re hooked on the sweet stuff!


Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Diet and Nutrition News & Advice


Rapid Weight Loss is Just a Bite Away: Discover the Power of Keto Gummies
By Chris Brown Diet and Nutrition News & Advice

Rapid Weight Loss is Just a Bite Away: Discover the Power of Keto Gummies

Have you ever wished you could lose weight with a mere chew of a gummy? If yes, then brace yourself for a tasty revelation – Keto Gummies! It’s weight loss simplified, without giving up on your love for sweets. When used alongside a ketogenic meal plan and a well balanced fitness routine, Keto Gummies could […]

Read More about Rapid Weight Loss is Just a Bite Away: Discover the Power of Keto Gummies

3 min read

Revolutionize Your Diet: The Science-Backed Benefits of Personalized Nutrition/Diet Plans
By Clarissa Vanner Diet and Nutrition News & Advice

Revolutionize Your Diet: The Science-Backed Benefits of Personalized Nutrition/Diet Plans

Looking to take your health to the next level? Discover the science-backed benefits of personalized nutrition and diet plans. Plus, learn how to get started and make the most of your plan to crush your health goals today.

Read More about Revolutionize Your Diet: The Science-Backed Benefits of Personalized Nutrition/Diet Plans

5 min read

The Mayo Clinic Diet Weight Loss Solution: How and Why It Works
By Clarissa Vanner Diet and Nutrition News & Advice

The Mayo Clinic Diet Weight Loss Solution: How and Why It Works

Are you tired of yo-yo dieting and unsustainable weight loss programs? Discover the Mayo Clinic Diet — a research-backed weight loss solution that emphasizes healthy eating habits and lifestyle changes to achieve sustainable results.

Read More about The Mayo Clinic Diet Weight Loss Solution: How and Why It Works

4 min read