Features Lifestyle

How sugary diets impact physical and mental health

By Elise Martin

It’s easy to be tempted by the dessert stand in the DC or the many candy and sugary drink options at the HUB. But there is a real danger in the overconsumption of sugar, and it can cause very negative effects on one’s physical and mental health, which are two very important things for college students to maintain as we are head-on in our studies and need to maintain our health while we are still growing.

According to the American Heart Association, the maximum amount of added sugars one should consume a day is 150 calories, or nine teaspoons, for men, and 100 calories, or six teaspoons, for women. But according to WebMD, the average American consumes as much as 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day.

This is a real problem for college students as well. According to a study done by the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, most students drink one or more sugar-sweetened beverage daily. It’s understandable that sugar is addictive; it tastes good. But the effects of consuming too much should be widely recognized.

According to WebMD, due to high insulin and blood sugar levels, the pancreas, kidneys and liver are highly affected by sugar, and your chance of getting diabetes increases with sugar intake. Most importantly, there is a higher chance of heart disease, heart attacks and strokes later in life from eating too much sugar due to the extra insulin in your bloodstream.

And another physical effect is the obvious one: body weight, which can increase significantly when consuming too much sugar.

Alarmingly, sugar has many effects on mental health as well. Sugar impacts the brain by giving you a surge of dopamine, which causes those dangerous sugar cravings. The more dopamine you produce, the more you will become addicted and the more sugar you will eat. This can, in time, affect your mood. While giving you a temporary burst of energy, blood sugars soon drop, and you start to get jittery and anxious.

The overconsumption of sugar is also linked to a higher risk of depression. According to a UCLA study, there is a significant correlation between sugar intake and a decrease in how well we understand, remember and process ideas. This can drastically affect the way we learn in the most important time of our lives when we need to be focused on studying.

Overall, we need to start being very careful and more aware about how much sugar we are consuming daily because the effects can be very damaging in many areas of our lives.

Works Cited

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