7 Harmful Effects of Sugar on Your Body and Brain Health

7 Harmful Effects of Sugar on Your Body and Brain Health

Of all the ingredients that you don’t need in your diet, sugar should be at the top of the list. Sugar is added into many processed foods and drinks and it causes many negative effects on your body and brain health. Limiting your intake of processed foods with sugar added, reducing and eliminating starchy or refined carbohydrates like grains, and not adding sugar into your recipes is a great way to take control of your overall health and avoid the health depleting effects of eating sugar. In case you need more convincing, here are 7 harmful effects of sugar on your body and brain health. I have added some additional information to Sophie’s guest post to help you plus my favorite books you can check out to learn more about the effects on sugar on your overall health and effective ways to eliminate sugar from your diet.

  1. Weight gain

One of the most widely-know effects of eating foods high in sugar is weight gain. Sugar is high in empty calories, meaning that it gives your body an immediate boost of energy but no essential nutrients. Furthermore, sugar consumption causes a spike in blood glucose levels which increases insulin production.  At the end of this cascade of unfavorable events, your blood glucose may crash as fast as it went up, making you crave more sugar which can cause you to overeat more processed foods which leads to weight gain. Eating sugar can also cause an inflammatory response in the body which can lead to temporary weight gain. To learn more about why  you should avoid sugar and how the fat you eat is the key to sustained weight loss and vibrant health check out the book Eat Fat, Get Thin by Dr. Mark Hyman, MD.

  1. Cavities

Sugar can affect your health in many ways, and the same goes true for dental health. Cavities are a result of an infection with a certain strain of bacteria that feed on sugar and produce acids that erode tooth enamel. Without sugar, these bacteria wouldn’t survive, and your teeth will stay healthy. If you frequently munch on foods high in sugar like sweet treats you will be exposing your teeth to sugar through most of the day, increasing your risk of tooth decay. Eating a nutrient-rich ancestral diet along with having good dental hygiene can help prevent tooth cavities.

  1. Poor brain functioning 

Studies found that diets high in sugar and low in nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats are strongly associated with poor cognitive functioning in mid-life. Feeding your body high amounts of refined sugar and foods that cause elevated levels of glucose can lower mitochondrial function and be very damaging to brain health. Our brain and body has the unique ability to use either glucose from carbohydrates or ketones and free fatty acids from fat for energy. The latest research is showing that using fat instead of sugar as your main energy source has many health benefits.

To find out how to use fat as your body’s primary fuel source rather than glucose and the health benefits of doing this check out the book Primal Fat Burner by Nora Gedgaudas.  To find out more information about the effects of sugar and other toxic foods on your brain along with ways to protect your brain health check out the new book Head Strong by Dave Asprey.  Also check out the book Grain Brain by by Dr. David Perlmutter a renowned neurologist which has eye opening information on the negative effects sugar, wheat, and carbohydrates have on brain health.

  1. Diabetes

Another common result of excess sugar intake is insulin resistance and, over time, diabetes.  A constant intake of sugar and starchy foods like grains and legumes causes the pancreas to release high amounts of the hormone insulin to lower the amount of glucose in the bloodstream. Over time this constant release of high amounts of insulin causes the cells in the body to lose their sensitivity to insulin.  This causes insulin resistance which can lead to diabetes and other metabolic diseases as well. This fact was confirmed in epidemiological and biochemical studies explained in this article that was published in Nutrition & Metabolism more than 10 years ago.

  1. Memory problems

If you were ever wondering how to improve your memory, ditching the sugar may be your best bet. While, as we’ve explained earlier, sugar intake causes poor mental functioning, it is also associated with more severe cognitive problems such as Alzheimer’s. Check out this information about the role of inflammation and oxidative stress and the molecular connectivity between insulin resistance, obesity, and Alzheimer’s Disease here.

  1. Heart disease

In the past eating saturated fat was wrongly accused for being a leading factor in cardiovascular disease. But new research is proving that sugar and chronic inflammation is the main cause of many degenerative and metabolic diseases including heart disease. A study published in the American Society for Clinical Nutrition examined the role of sugar in hypertension, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases that are factors that can cause heart disease. The results show that sugar is the major culprit in these high-mortality diseases, including heart disease. Sugar causes the liver to malfunction which inevitably leads to poor lipid metabolism. High blood cholesterol and triglycerides (lipids) can lead to poor blood vessel health and functioning.

  1. Sugar and cancer

Metabolic syndrome, diabetes, mitochondria dysfunction, and obesity are all conditions strongly linked to cancer development. Since these conditions are a result of a malfunctioning glucose metabolism, often from too much sugar in the diet, it’s safe to say that sugar can increase your risk of getting cancer. Sugar consumption is also associated with greater levels of chronic systemic inflammation in the body which is another common risk factor for getting cancer. Limiting your sugar intake can help improve your overall health and reduce your risk of getting cancer.



You’ve probably already heard many times that eating high amounts of sugar is simply bad for your health. But knowing exactly how sugar influences your body and your brain may make it easier for you to kick your sugar habit. From causing insulin resistance, weight gain, and other degenerative diseases, there are many negative effects that sugar is known for and surprisingly no positives.


NuNaturals has a line of delicious and healthy sugar substitutes including stevia, erythritol, monkfruit and tagatose.  I use their products in many of  my healthy recipes. Visit their site to find out more about these products here.

Check out this fantastic article by Dr. Josh Axe for more info on the damaging effects of sugar.

Please leave a comment below and tell us your thoughts about sugar and it’s effect on your health. Join our holistic community by signing up for our email updates, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, join us on Instagram, and pin with us on Pinterest to get all the latest healthy recipes, health tips, event notifications, and information on increasing your energy, strength, and immunity with whole foods and holistic lifestyle solutions.


Guest Author Bio:

Sophie Addison is a popular blogger and skincare expert. She is very passionate about writing on skincare and beauty. She has posted articles on tips for fine lines and wrinkles, joint pain treatment, weight loss and fitness news. Apart from work she likes gardening and listening to music. You can find her on Facebook, and Pinterest.


Paid Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.


  1. This reminds me of an anti-sugar commercial using Johnny Cash’s song, “Sugartime” but with a small change.

    “Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar at supper time. They keep on adding sugar, to everything we buy.”

    Sugar is everywhere which makes it so hard to avoid.
    Dave recently posted..5 Ways to Make Yourself SmarterMy Profile

  2. Your welcome Heather!
    Shelley Alexander recently posted..Why You Need Fermented MicroFood For A Healthy GutMy Profile

  3. hello Shelley,

    yes I agree with you over eating to much sugar can cause weight gain. This is really informative subject and appreciate your great work you have done to us. diabetes is acurable disease to handle.

    Thank you for sharing a useful post to us.

    Thank you

  4. Hey Shelley,
    it’s really disturbing to see how much harm sugar can cause, while at the same time being a real addiction in our society.. What’s even worse is that this still isn’t widespread knowledge.
    But thankfully there are enough healthy sugar alternatives to stop our cravings 🙂

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