Are you one of those who, according to the American Heart Association, eats two to three times the recommended amount of sugar every day? Added sugar has become a dietary issue, with high blood sugar leading to serious health problems.
In this article, we’ll explore:
- Where blood sugar comes from
- The dangers of added sugar
- The link between high blood sugar and… raised blood pressure, weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes
- Blood sugar management
Blood Sugar: Where Does it Come From?
Simply put: from what you eat! Everything you eat affects your blood glucose levels.
Sugar itself is extracted from sugarcane or sugar beets and you often find it used as a sweetener in food and drinks. However, the sugar you consume comes in various forms:
- Natural (from fruits, vegetables, milk, honey)
- Added (from processed foods and beverages such as microwave meals, deli meats, breakfast cereals, yogurt, soda, and desserts)
- Complex carbohydrates as you digest them (e.g., bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes etc.)
The American Heart Association recommends strict daily limits:
- for adults, no more than six teaspoons for women, and nine teaspoons for men
- for children, no more than six teaspoons
Why is Added Sugar an Issue?
It’s easy to consume added sugars without being aware of the total quantity, especially in what we consider everyday foods.
But is sugar really that bad?
To answer, let’s look at an illustration to see how high blood sugar levels can be a problem!
Think of your body as a car engine, with sugar as the fuel you put in the tank to provide energy.
Ever put diesel in instead of gas? Your car needs the right type and amount of fuel. Put the wrong type in (say, low-quality sticky gasoline) and you have a problem. Burning this low-grade fuel clogs your engine up. The engine splutters and struggles to function.
In the same way, sugar itself is only good for giving you energy – it has no nutritional value – and you need the right amount only. Too much and your body struggles to deal with it, and can’t therefore work as intended.
Over time, this leads to hyperglycemia – high blood sugar – which can harm your body.
High Blood Sugar: Hyperglycemia
Hyperglycemia leads to a variety of health problems, including:
- Impaired blood circulation and heart complications (heart disease, heart attack, stroke)
- Weight gain and obesity (linked to increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer)
- Insulin resistance (we’ll look at that in a moment)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Damage to your kidneys, eyes, and nervous system
- Raised blood pressure
- Oral health problems (tooth decay, growth of harmful bacteria, weakened tooth enamel)
- Physical and mental fatigue, mood swings, brain fog
- Digestive issues (impaired pancreatic function, damage to your stomach and intestines, gut microbiome imbalance)
- Hormonal imbalance (insulin resistance and increased cortisol levels can affect the sex hormones and the thyroid)
- Chronic inflammation
That’s some list. It’s enough to put you off that last chocolate cookie!
In addition, sugar not only directly affects your body but also your mind. Did you realize, when you took that second or third chocolate cookie, that it might be the highly addictive nature of sugar that makes you crave it when you were no longer hungry? It happens to the best of us!
But knowledge is power, so let’s look at insulin resistance and its effects.
High Blood Sugar, Insulin Resistance, Weight Gain, Type 2 Diabetes, and Heart Problems
Excessive sugar consumption means your pancreas has to produce even more insulin. But this constant demand induces insulin resistance in your cells.
It’s like they go on strike, refusing to take up any more sugar from your blood stream.
The problem is, when cells stop responding to insulin’s signals to deal with the glucose, you have increased blood sugar levels. And over time, that results in a state of constant high blood sugar, which is a sign of type 2 diabetes.
You might be tempted to say “so what?” because this stage can take a while to develop.
But gradually, too much sugar and insulin resistance can lead to:
- unhealthy weight gain
- inflammation and damage to your blood vessels and heart
Hyperglycemic Control: Manage Your Blood Sugar
The healthy option is to prevent high blood sugar levels and avoid serious complications further down the line. You can achieve this through measures such as:
1 A healthy diet
Focus on reducing added sugar and prioritize consuming sugars from healthy natural sources such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains – plus carbohydrates from minimally processed foods.
Your body does need energy to function and survive. But try out these healthier ideas:
- Reduce sugary drinks (read the label).
- Reduce alcohol intake (red wine has lower sugar content, if you must!).
- Swap sugary desserts for whole fruit.
- Avoid ready-made meals (preservatives are often carby).
- Don’t choose low-fat options as they have hidden carbohydrates.
- Replace sweet breakfast cereals with whole-grain cereals.
- Try to make your own meals from scratch at home – it’s cheaper too!
- Ask us about peptide therapy and sustainable weight loss.
Regular physical activity can help improve insulin sensitivity, regulate blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of complications. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day.
Discuss with your GP about testing your HbA1c (also known as hemoglobin A1C) at intervals to measure your average blood sugar levels in the previous three months. This will let you know how much sugar is stuck to your red blood cells and likely to cause the problems we’ve mentioned.
According to the CDC, an overnight fasting blood sugar level of 99 mg/dL is normal; higher is an indication you should take action! But your healthcare provider will understand the different ranges and numbers and advise you.
Evexias Denver Can Help You Control Your High Blood Sugar
We’ve emphasized the problem of high blood sugar. But all is not lost if you’ve been dipping in to sugary treats a little too often! You can backtrack and take a different approach.
At Evexias Denver, we have a team of medical professionals who can work with you to develop a personalized plan for managing your high blood sugar condition and preventing complications in future.
Additionally, we offer access to medications like semaglutide, which can help with weight regulation by increasing insulin and reducing your blood sugar levels. That’s one way to limit your risks. We’ll talk about this in our next article.
In the meantime, why not call us today and let’s discuss how you can avoid having high blood sugar!