Did you know that sugar is extremely addictive? Thanks to a chemical in your brain called dopamine, every time you reach for a candy bar, a peppermint or add that bit of sugar in your coffee, your brain releases dopamine which is that feel good response. For some people, that is satisfying enough and they can eat that one piece of candy. However, for the rest of us… We go back for “just one more piece.” We become addicted to that feel good response and need more sugar for the dopamine release. Over time, our bodies become more and more insulin resistant as our sugar consumption increases. It is a very unhealthy cycle and a hard one to break.
Have you taken a look at the ingredients listed on what you have been consuming lately? Chances are, there is sugar in that list! On an ingredients list there are many names for sugar. Here are some of the names you can look for when trying to spot sugar: Agave, barley malt, beet sugar, molasses, brown sugar, cane sugar, cane juice, caramel, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, dextrin, diatase, evaporated cane juice, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, glucose, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltodextrin, maltose, raw sugar, saccharose, sorghum syrup, treacle, and xylose. This isn’t even a complete list!
If you are considering cutting sugar, let me give you a few good reasons why you should!
- Weight gain
When you consume sugar your blood glucose levels rise and your body responds by stimulating insulin (this is a natural response); triggering your body to flip the on switch to activate fat (energy) storing mode. The more consistent you are with your sugar consumption, the longer and more frequently your body will operate in fat storing mode.
- Immune system suppression
When consumed, sugar can suppress your immune system. Your white blood cells are 40 percent less effective at killing germs, which is crippling to your immune system for up to 5 hours after consuming it!
- Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs as an increased resistance to insulin. Insulin is released in response to increased glucose levels in the blood and allows for individual cells to take up glucose from the blood to metabolize it. A diet high in sugar has been linked with an increased incidence of Type 2 Diabetes due to the links between high sugar intake and obesity.
While a healthy diet can improve your mood, a diet high in added sugars and processed foods may increase your chances of developing depression. It is believed that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation and inflammation may all be reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health.
A diet rich in processed, sugary food and beverages can lead to obesity, which significantly raises your risk of cancer. Sugar increases inflammation in your body and increases insulin resistance, both of which increase cancer risk. Cancers associated with a high sugar diet are esophageal cancer, pleural cancer, cancer of the small intestine, endometrial cancer, and the cancer study is ongoing of course.
Here are a few other negative effects of consuming too much sugar; it increases the skin aging and cellular aging process, impacts dental health, accelerates cognitive decline, increases risk of gout, depletes body of essential vitamins and nutrients, linked to heart disease, and inflammation in your gut.
When you go to the store next time, try to buy items that are not premade, boxed or bagged. Go for foods that do not have an ingredient list. If you do find yourself buying something in a box or bottle, check the ingredients and make an informed choice about the foods that you are putting into your body. Eating too much sugar can have many negative health effects. So next time you want a snack and you consider eating a sugary treat, I hope you think twice about what you are putting into your body.