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Does Sugar Increase Your Risk for Varicose Veins?

It’s no secret that sugar can wreak havoc on your body. Processed foods and excessive amounts of sugar do more to your body than just add a few calories to your daily intake.

Varicose Veins and Sugar

While the effects of sugar on the body are already adverse, they are exacerbated in those who have varicose veins.

Weight Gain and Obesity

Foods with high sugar content are convenient and commonplace – and they’re particularly in high supply during the holiday months. However, it’s important to remember that moderation is key when it comes to controlling your weight. When you’re carrying around extra weight, the extra pressure on your veins can keep blood from flowing smoothly. This allows your blood to pool inside the veins, leading to new or worsened varicose veins.


Blood vessels become inflamed when they are presented with too much sugar. This causes damage as it prevents the valves in your veins from successfully pumping blood from your extremities back to your heart, leaving you with swollen varicose veins.

Because sugar retains water in your bloodstream, it also dilates the walls of your veins. Due to the decreased capacity for blood flow, the excess blood forces the veins to expand, which can result in varicose veins.

High Blood Pressure

Excess sugar leads to hypertension in the body. Not only does this increased pressure in the cardiovascular system threaten your heart health, but it also weakens your veins and arteries. This damage lays the groundwork for varicose veins.

The Sneaky Hiding Spots of Sugar

While it’s easy to identify soda and sweet treats as sugar-filled items, there are probably some unexpected suspects hiding in your kitchen cabinets:

  • Cereal
  • Yogurt
  • Salad dressing
  • Crackers
  • Chips
  • Dried fruit
  • Peanut butter
  • Tomato sauce
  • Sports drinks
  • Granola
  • Flavored coffee

The American Heart Association recommends limiting sugar to 36 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women. That entire amount could be hiding in a single premade smoothie or your favorite breakfast cereal.

Food companies have found other ways to list sugar in their products to make them appear healthier. Glucose, fructose, sucrose, syrup, fruit juice concentrate, cane juice, maltose, agave nectar, and maltodextrin are just a few of the aliases of sugar in high-calorie foods.

Some manufacturers will use different types of sugar in their products. By listing them as separate ingredients used in small amounts, they can place the healthy-looking ingredients first and hide the actual amount of sugar in their products.

Beware the labels of “no refined sugar” and “sugar-free.” This simply states there is no white sugar in the product. Natural sugars and artificial sweeteners can be just as damaging to your body and the health of your veins.

How to Keep Varicose Veins Away

A healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables, grains, and lean meats (and the occasional sugary indulgence) is the best way to avoid sugar overloads and prevent the development of varicose veins.

Everyone deserves to feel confident and to look their best. If the visual effect or pain caused by varicose veins is disrupting your daily life, schedule a consultation with our vein specialists. The Metropolitan Vein & Aesthetic Center has the treatments you need to look and feel great!

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