That part-time job you have to keep, the inability to get capital, and even bad employees are all standard ideas of what’s standing in the way of an entrepreneur’s success—but is the reality much “simpler” than that?

Sugar, particularly that added, refined stuff brimming with simple carbs, might be dragging you down more than you think. Any true entrepreneur has drive and ambition in spades, and sometimes this means dipping into supplements to keep that energy high. Long hours aren’t going to fuel themselves, which is why so many entrepreneurs find themselves reaching for energy boosts via caffeine and sugar.

However, those on the go meals and energy drinks add up. You know in your gut that you’re not making the best nutritional decisions, but these choices are impacting more than “just” your health and looks. According to the co-author of the book Sugar Crush: How to Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Nerve Damage and Reclaim Good Health, Raquel Baldelomar, sugar can make or break an entrepreneur. She knows how intensely sugar can sabotage a person’s ability to focus, demolish long-term energy and, ultimately, lead to chronic health issues that will shut down a business for good.

The Not So Sweet Surprise

Baldelomar herself has experienced success as the owner of an advertising agency. She realized her discipline, focus and energy were directly related to her food intake—particularly when it came to sugars. “In the early years of starting Quaintise, I was working hard but found that I was riding an energy roller coaster every day. I tried to eat the right food to stay healthy and get me through my days: Orange juice and whole grain cereal for breakfast, granola and fruit for snacks, and a sandwich for lunch,” she explains. “I rarely ate candy or cake, but still I’d be ravenously hungry by mid-day and then I’d hit an energy low in late afternoon that would have me dragging. I just didn’t realize what was draining my energy and making it harder for me to do everything I needed to do to build my business.”

Sound familiar? It’s something entrepreneurs consider “normal,” but it’s not. Luckily for Baldelomar, she was working within the healthcare marketing realm and had connections with nutritionists and doctors. When she discovered that sugars lead to blood vessel inflammation, which causes swelling and minimal blood flow, she realized what the real problem was. People know about blood sugar spikes, but not what that really means for health and energy.

Hidden Secrets of Success

Most people know a candy bar won’t do them any good, but there are “hidden” sugars everywhere. According to Baldelomar, “I saw a cycle that many entrepreneurs fall into. When you are young, you exchange health to gain your wealth. And then when you have it, you exchange your wealth to gain back your health.” It doesn’t need to be this way. It shouldn’t be this way.

The simplest hack? Read nutritional labels and look for sugars, carbohydrates—and sodium as an added bonus (most adults should get less than 2,800 mg per day). It can be a challenge to cut out sugar, but remember that your palate adjusts relatively quickly. Soon, what used to not taste like such a treat will seem sweet and satisfying, such as berries or even whipped cream (both of which are very low in sugars).

Even better, your venture will soar as your energy levels do.