What Are the Dangers of Too Much Sugar?

White table sugar is a refined sugar.
White table sugar is a refined sugar. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Sugar is a common ingredient in many commercial products. Sugar can be found in natural forms, such lactose and fructose, as well as refined forms, such as table sugar. Sugar can be included in the diet in moderate amounts; however, excess amounts of sugar can lead to side effects. Too much sugar can result in weight gain, which can lead to many other medical conditions, such as the development of atherosclerosis, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Excess Weight Gain

Sugar is a source of empty calories. Sugar provides calories but does not provide any nutrients or vitamins that help make up a healthy and balanced diet. Sugar is added to a variety of products, such as baked goods and beverages. Each teaspoon of sugar provides 15 calories. With such a high calorie density, sugar can lead to excess weight gain quickly if eaten in large amounts on a consistent basis.

Insulin Resistance Syndrome

Eating sugar does not cause diabetes; however, weight gain from eating too much sugar can lead to type 2 diabetes. There is a direct correlation between weight gain and the development of insulin resistance syndrome, which is a precondition for type 2 diabetes.


Migraine headaches can be triggered by various things in different people. Sugar is often linked with the development of migraines. Excess sugar intake can weaken the immune system, making headaches more prominent. Individuals that suffer from severe headaches should keep a food journal to determine if sugar is a possible trigger. After determining that sugar does impact the development of headaches, sugar intake may need to be decreased and limited to control the onset of headaches.


Atherosclerosis is the buildup of plaque on arterial walls. This condition can limit the amount of blood flow through the arteries and can be a serious risk factor for other cardiovascular diseases. Sugar intake can lead to increased triglyceride levels that can lead to atherosclerosis. Limiting sugar and fat intake can help control triglyceride levels and atherosclerotic plaque development.

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