By Sumedha Kommaraju (‘22)
It is inevitable that a person will find out about the effects of consuming sugar in their lifetime, but for teens, it is much worse. Sugar is the enemy of all ages, however it can affect a teenager in school, social situations, and many other aspects of their life.
According to The Health Site, the risk of obesity, depression, and diabetes increases as sugar consumption increases in someone’s childhood or teenage years.
The obesity rate in the United States is increasing everyday, and sugar consumption in teens causes the most dramatic spike in these numbers. Since their bodies are still growing, they can only do so much to prevent weight gain. Obesity can cause lower-self esteem, which can lead to mental health issues such a depression.
The website of Healthfully stated that a student’s performance in academics, as well as physical situations, is drastically affected by the consumption of sugar. Sugar does not provide the brain and the body with the nutrients required to function, and this may cause a short attention span in a student. Sugar makes it hard for a student to retain large amounts of information needed for a test or assessment.
Ms. Donna Moreen has been a nurse at South Brunswick High School for six years.
She stated that “Sugar releases endorphins. You’re on an endorphin rush, and then you crash. It’s like a drug, just like people go through withdrawal.”
In an article posted on theconversation.com, Amy Reichelt stated, “Easy access to cheap junk foods… outweighs the protection from [obesity].”
Teenagers consume more sugar and ‘junk’ food than any other age group in the world. Giving them easier access to unhealthy foods makes it more likely for them to face the problems this brings. Sugar can damage neurons in a teen’s brain, and this can eventually cause early stages of dementia or memory loss.
Studies also show that the brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 20. Once the teen's brain is under the influence of sugar, the development of the brain drastically decreases. Decision making skills, behavior control, and can affect a teen’s driving and coordination skills.
Mrs. Moreen also said, “Your performance in sports and academics can be affected. You can start feeling fatigue and irritability and become hypoglycemic, which means [that you have] extremely low blood sugar.”
The amount of sugar a teen consumes can also affect heart health. According to livestrong.com, teens who ingest large amounts of sugar, had lower amounts of “good” HDL cholesterol, when compared to teens who consumed less sugar. “Good” cholesterol is essential for distributing fat around the body where it is needed. Other types of cholesterol can block arteries and blood flow.
On the website of health website takepart.com, writer Steve Holt stated, “More Americans now believe that between sugar and marijuana, the sweet stuff is more dangerous.”
Teens are more likely to be drawn to food more than any other marketed product in most stores. These stores can make it easy for teens to get addicted to sugar, and even easier to keep feeding their addiction. Though sugar may not seem like it could be addictive, it has proven difficult to stay away from, especially for teenagers.
Ms. Moreen concluded by saying, “When you are not on a diet of sugar, you’ll feel healthier and better.”