In Veins

The Effects of Sugar on Varicose Veins

colorful chocolate candies It’s commonly known that sugar has many adverse effects on our bodies. Consuming excessive amounts of sugar can lead to excess weight gain, a rise in blood sugar levels, and chronic inflammation in the veins. When combined, the effects from sugar add unmanageable stress to the veins and contribute to the development of varicose veins over time. If you currently have varicose veins, eating too many sweets can make symptoms worse. The best way to keep your veins healthy is by limiting sweets and sugary snacks, especially if you suffer from varicose veins.

The Dangers of Consuming Excessive Sugar

Sugar has many negative effects on your vascular system. Since varicose veins result from insufficient blood flow in the veins, consuming high amounts of sugar will interfere with the average circulation of blood. This leads to clogged veins that become visible and painful varicose veins. Here are seven effects of excessive sugar consumption on varicose veins.

Weight Gain

Sugary foods are often high in calories, which can lead to weight gain. Foods packed with refined sugar are usually high in calories, too. When your body is overweight, blood doesn’t flow smoothly due to the pressure those excess pounds put on the veins. Blood then becomes pooled in the veins, leading to the formation of varicose veins. While several factors contribute to the development of varicose veins out of your control, such as a family history or a side effect of pregnancy, your weight can be managed. Keep your body weight within an ideal level to reduce unnecessary stress on your veins.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a severe chronic cardiovascular disease that has been directly linked to consuming high levels of sugar. When high blood pressure is present, it can damage and weaken veins. This commonly leads to the development of varicose veins because the veins are weakened and unable to pump blood back to the heart efficiently.


One of the main ways sugar affects the 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, which leads 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.


Hydration is essential to your body’s overall health. Water maintains body temperature, lubricates and cushions joints, and helps eliminate waste through urine and bowel movements. Sugar reduces the amount of water and hydration from your body’s cells, leading to dry, puffy skin. Additionally, dehydration forces the heart to work harder during exercise, increasing the risk of experiencing painful symptoms from varicose veins while being active.

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.

Lessen the Effects of Sugar on Varicose Veins

To help lessen the effects of sugar on existing varicose veins, we recommend limiting 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. 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. Contact us today to learn more about varicose veins and the many treatment options we offer at Vein & Laser Institute.
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