Negative Effects of Sugar

With Christmas recently over, Valentine’s day upon us and Easter just around the corner, it is so easy to go over the daily recommendations for sugar. A national survey of diets has shown that children aged four to ten, along with adults are eating twice the amount of sugar they should be, whilst teenagers are eating three times as much.

NHS Guidelines on sugar consumption show that those below the age of four should avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and foods with added sugar, four to six year olds should have a maximum of 19g (5 teaspoons) of sugar per day, seven to ten year olds should have a maximum of 24g (6 teaspoons), and eleven years up, including adults should only eat 30g (7 teaspoons). Sugar is linked to hyperactivity in children, lower concentration levels, tooth decay (the biggest cause of hospital admissions among children), diabetes, etc, and drinking just one 330ml can of fizzy drink a day could add up to over a stone weight gain per year.

To combat this, Sugar Smart is trying to encourage people to give up sugary drinks for February to reduce sugar intake. The chart below shows how easy it is to drink your sugar intake:


Sugar Content per 100ml

Sugar in Standard Serving

Amount of Teaspoons Based on Standard Drink Size (4g per teaspoon)

Coca Cola


35g per 330ml




36g per 330ml


Dr Pepper


12g per 250ml


Schweppes Lemonade


14g per 330ml


Capri Sun


9.8g per 200ml


Innocent Smoothie (Strawberry and Banana)


26g per 250ml


Red Bull


27.5g per 250ml




24g per 500ml



11 g

55g per 500ml


Starbucks Mocha Frappucino


25g per 250ml


*It should be noted that juices and smoothies still count to one of your five a day but should be limited to no more than 150mls a day

So, what are the negatives of fizzy drinks?

Large amounts of sugar are turned into fat on the liver

Fructose – which occurs in table sugar along with glucose (metabolised by every cell in the body) – can only be metabolised by the liver, when you consume too much your liver becomes overloaded and turns the fructose into fat. Fructose is only harmful in large amounts, so drinking sugar can be harmful, but eating high amounts of fruit is less of a risk because it's difficult to get excessive amounts of fructose from fruit.

Health Issues – Diabetes type 2, cancer, gout, dementia, heart disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

All of these health issues can be caused by consuming too much sugar. Fizzy drinks have been linked to bad memory and poor decision making, the spike in blood sugar they cause has been linked to dementia. Recent human studies published in JAMA Internal Medicine note a strong association between sugar intake and heart disease risk in all populations.

Some scientists believe that the effects of sugar on the brain are similar to the effect cocaine has

Some studies show that sugar is addictive, however others argue this is nonsense

Sugary drinks can cause insulin resistance

The hormone insulin drives glucose from your bloodstream into your cells, but sugary drinks can make cells less sensitive to insulin (insulin resistance) meaning your pancreas must make more insulin. Fructose in fizzy drinks can cause insulin resistance which can lead to Diabetes type 2. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that even diet fizzy drinks may cause an increased need for insulin.

Sugar effects bone mass and dental health

Sugar causes a decrease in calcium in our bones and removes any magnesium stores, on top of this, sugar reduces our ability to absorb magnesium and calcium.

Sugar increases belly fat

Fructose is linked to an increase in belly fat and fat around organs which in turn is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

If you are looking to reduce your sugar intake this February, there are a few ways to do so. Cancer Research are doing sugar free February and Sugar Smart is doing ‘Fizz Free February’. Alternatively, Everyone Health provides Weight Management Services to help you set goals that put a healthy lifestyle into easy reach and to help you maintain a healthy diet, helping you to maintain a healthy sugar intake. Simply visit the website to see if you are eligible for the services or call us on 0333 005 0095.

Weight Management
12 tips to help you lose weight

Get off to the best possible start with these 12 diet and exercise tips from the NHS

I enjoyed the concise way in which the trainers delivered nutritional information and exercise to our small group held my interest every week. Plenty of time allowed for questions which were answered promptly and in an encouraging professional manner.

6 Activities for Kids

6 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained Indoors

Looking After Your Health and Wellbeing at Home

Your health and wellbeing is important, especially during Covid-19. You may be self-isolating, working from home or socially distancing yourself from others, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be healthy, happy and in a good mental space.

Coronavirus Tips

Are you worried about the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the life changes it may bring to you and your family?