Excessive sugar consumption is a major contributor to health problems in our society. Sugar, in one form or another, can be found in many common food products, from breakfast cereal to salad dressing to ketchup.

Obesity and diabetes

Obesity and diabetes are two (often-related) health problems associated with excessive sugar consumption. Sugar is commonly consumed in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, energy drinks and other beverages. These drinks frequently contribute to weight gain and obesity. According to a study published in The Lancet, sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption is associated with childhood obesity. Another study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, reports that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages causes weight gain and obesity and that public health measures should be implemented to discourage the intake of sugar-rich drinks as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Excessive sugar consumption (especially in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages) leads to metabolic syndrome- a set of unfavorable health symptoms- and type 2 diabetes in many people. An article published in the journal Diabetes Care confirms that, in addition to weight gain, greater intake of sugary drinks is indeed associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, reports that the excessive calories and large amounts of rapidly absorbable sugars associated with sugary drinks are linked to a greater degree of weight gain and a heightened risk for type 2 diabetes in young and middle-aged women.

Tooth decay

Sugar consumption, including the consumption of soft drinks, plays a significant role in tooth decay. According to a study published in the Journal of Zhejiang University, the acids and sugars found in soft drinks may cause both dental cavities and enamel erosion. A study published in the journal Dental Education states that controlling sugar is one if the — if not the — most important aspects of preventing dental cavities.

Depression

Depression is a complex health problem that may be caused by many factors. One often overlooked factor may be excessive sugar consumption. According to a study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety, sugar consumption may directly affect the prevalence of major depression-a disorder characterized by bouts of low mood, low self esteem and reduced interest in normally enjoyable activities.

Your chiropractor can counsel you on how to use diet and nutrition to help balance your blood sugar levels, reduce your sweet cravings and reduce your risk for health problems commonly associated with intermittent, excessive sugar consumption.

— Dr. Larry Formanek, of the Knoxville Chiropractic Clinic, writes occasional articles about health issues.

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