You’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure
Your blood pressure is considered normal if it is 120/80 or lower. A high-sugar diet can push your blood pressure over this threshold, according to a study in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. In a 2014 research review published in the BMJ journal Open Heart, medical experts argued that limiting peoples’ sugar intake is more important than reducing sodium consumption when it comes to healthy blood pressure. “Added sugars probably matter more than dietary sodium for hypertension, and fructose in particular may uniquely increase cardiovascular risk by inciting metabolic dysfunction,” the authors wrote.
You’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol
A more hidden sign of too much sugar in your diet: increases in levels of various fats circulating in your blood. A superabundance of sugar can decrease the body’s good cholesterol (HDL) and increase the body’s bad cholesterol (LDL), according to research in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Though the mechanisms by which sugar could affect cholesterol and blood fats isn’t completely understood, study authors suggest that fructose may spur the body to create triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. If your doctor is concerned about your cholesterol levels, discuss the best dietary changes you could make to lower cholesterol. Whether you have high cholesterol or not, you should avoid these foods that have way more sugar than you realize.
You crash after a workout
Properly fueling your body is critical for a good workout. If exercise seems to be getting harder, a high-sugar diet might be to blame. “If you spike your blood sugar with a very sugary item right before an intense effort, you can end up feeling very fatigued and pretty miserable afterward,” says Sara Folta, PhD, an assistant professor at Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Fueling yourself with too many simple sugars can cause a quick spike in blood sugar followed by a rapid drop, leaving you feeling exhausted halfway through your run, she notes.
Your jeans are a little snug
If you’ve been relying on soda to push through a tough work deadline, the scale might read a little higher than you’d like. According to a review of studies in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, sugar-sweetened beverages seem to uniquely lead to weight gain, thanks to a killer combo of high sugar content, low satiety (they don’t make you feel full), and “incomplete compensation for total energy” (they don’t displace other foods, so they add to your total calorie intake). Try to cut yourself off from sugar-sweetened drinks and stick with water, milk, coffee, and tea. Here are some more surprising ways you can kick a sugar addiction.