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Is Excessive Sugar Intake Worsening Your Varicose Veins?
January 7, 2022

bowl of sugar and sugar cubes

The foods we consume play a vital role in how well blood circulates throughout the body. Maintaining a healthy diet is especially critical for anyone with varicose veins because a nutritious diet promotes a strong venous system.

Alcohol consumption and foods high in salt and sugar should be avoided whenever possible to avoid worsening already present varicose veins.

The Dangers of Consuming Excessive Sugar

It is a well-known fact that sugar causes adverse effects on our bodies. Consuming an excess amount of sugar can lead to weight gain, a rise in blood sugar levels, and inflammation. These effects from sugar stress our veins and contribute to the development of varicose veins over time.

Weight Gain

Sugary foods are often high in calories, which can lead to weight gain. Blood doesn’t pump through veins as smoothly when people are overweight, causing pooling in veins. When blood pools in the veins, varicose veins are formed. Eating low-sugar foods and watching one’s weight can help prevent varicose veins from developing.

High Blood Pressure

A severe chronic cardiovascular disease that has been linked to eating high levels of sugar is high blood pressure or hypertension. When high blood pressure persists, it can damage and weaken veins. This also leads to the development of varicose veins because they are weakened and unable to pump blood back to the heart.


One of the main ways sugar affects your skin is by causing inflammation in the body. Sugar is highly acidic, and while all acidic foods cause inflammation to some degree, sugar is one of the worst. Sugar causes your blood sugar levels to surge and plummet, leading to inflammation as your body’s natural response to a sugar crash. Skin inflammation also causes breakouts, so avoid:

  • Refined sugars
  • Foods with added sweeteners
  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Agave syrup
  • Molasses
  • Maple syrup
  • Honey

Inflamed Veins

Sugar absorbs water, causing the vein walls to expand. Once the blood sugar levels normalize, veins will contract back to their regular size. However, over time veins lose their elasticity and become more damaged. Damaged veins pump blood less efficiently, causing varicose veins.

Redness and Irritation

One of your body’s natural responses to inflammation is to become red and irritated. Many people who suffer from rashes or are prone to yeast imbalances can blame their diet as it’s often directly related to being too high in added and refined sugars.


Sugar reduces the amount of water and hydration from your body’s cells, leading to dry, puffy skin. Dehydration is also responsible for under-eye circles and puffy eyes.

Digestive Issues

Many people experience digestive issues after eating foods high in sugar content. Sugar is very hard on your digestive tract, thanks to the fact that it creates inflammation and dehydrates you all in one-fell-swoop. In addition, sugar cannot be broken down into nutrients beyond simple glucose. Once the glucose is gone and your blood sugar spikes, sugar creates a toxic state in your stomach that does not fully digest. Any time food does not digest from the body, it shows in your skin.

Lessen the Effects of Sugar on Varicose Veins

To help lessen the effects of sugar on varicose veins, limit your sugar intake. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends men consume less than 36 grams of sugar per day and women consume less than 25 grams per day. However, Americans, on average, are consuming closer to 77 grams per day.

Sugar can be found in obvious foods such as candy and soda. However, it is also found in several pre-packaged and processed foods and beverages. Next time you buy your favorite sauce, salad dressing, bread, drink, or yogurt, check the nutrition label and ingredient list. You just may be surprised at the sugar content and want to opt for a healthier option.

If you’re ready to find the best treatment option for your varicose veins, contact Hinsdale Vein & Laser today.