When it comes to weight management, refined sugar in all its forms — high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, rice syrup, sucrose and many others — is certainly one of the top items to get knocked off an eating list.

Harvard University’s School of Public Health suggests that to achieve a healthy weight, you should limit “lower-quality foods” including sugar-sweetened beverages, refined sugar and highly processed snacks.

But your waistline isn’t the only thing affected by excess sugar consumption. Overindulgence on the sweet stuff can affect you in some other surprising ways:


According to the National Sleep Foundation, an after-dinner dessert is a great way to get a terrible night of sleep. In fact, the organization notes, the more sugar you eat during the day, the more likely it is you’ll wake up during the night.

That’s because sugar lowers the activity of orexin cells, a neuropeptide that regulates how wakeful you are. More bad news: These cells also help control appetite, so if they’re feeling off-kilter, you’re more likely to eat more.


When it comes to an effective immune system response — the kind you need to be on high alert during cold and flu season — sugar could be defeating your white-blood-cell army.

When you eat a big dose of sugar at once, like a soda or a candy bar, you temporarily suppress your immune system’s ability to respond to invaders, according to certified nutrition specialist Monica Reinagel of Nutrition Diva. If that happens occasionally, it may be no big deal, but since the effect lasts for a few hours, you may be sabotaging your immune system on a consistent basis if you eat sugary food regularly.


Sugar may be tough on your weight goals, but it’s even tougher on your heart. A major study published in JAMA Internal Medicine suggested a sugar-packed diet may ra