Updated: Apr 5
Sugary foods make up a large part of the average diet because they taste good. Sugar is added to many foods to boost the flavor, preserve the shelf life and achieve a desired texture. You should limit your intake of sugar to between 6 and 9 teaspoons per day, but most American consume closer to 22 teaspoons, MayoClinic.com notes. Knowing the disadvantages of consuming too much sugar might motivate you to take charge of your health and reduce your intake.
One teaspoon of sugar contains 15 calories, which can add hundreds of extra calories to your daily caloric intake. Over time, these extra calories can lead to unhealthy weight gain. Soda consumption in particular plays a major role in the overweight and obesity epidemic. Soda and other sugary foods don't supply healthy amounts of protein or fiber, which means they don't fill you up and satisfy your hunger. This makes it more likely that you'll overeat, increasing your overall calorie intake and leading to weight gain.
Nutrient-dense foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, supply the vitamins and minerals your teeth and gums require for good health. Sugary foods don't supply these nutrients and also negatively impact your oral health. Plaque bacteria, which is naturally present in your mouth, reacts to the sugars you consume by producing acids. The acids destroy the protective enamel on your teeth, which leads to cavities and decay. The more sugar you consume, the more likely dental decay becomes.
Gaining too much weight by eating sugary foods increases your risk of hypertension, diabetes, depression and certain types of cancer. High-sugar intake might also contribute to an increased risk of heart disease. A diet high in sugar increases your triglycerides and negatively changes your lipoprotein counts. Too much sugar can reduce your beneficial high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. A high-sugar diet is also associated with poor nutrition. When you eat too many sugary foods, it leaves less room in your diet for more nutritious choices.
Read nutrition labels to determine how much sugar is in the foods you normally eat. Added sugar can be lurking in unexpected places, such as ketchup, salad dressing and bread. Reading nutritional information can help you make healthier food choices that allow you to remain within the healthy limits for sugar intake. Make soda an occasional treat rather than a beverage you drink daily. One serving of regular soda can contain as much as 10 teaspoons of sugar. Use the same rule for other sweets such as cake, cookies and ice cream. Limit them to once or twice per week to keep your sugar intake low.