Your body needs a moderate amount of sugar. It helps in supplying the energy needed by the body for its daily needs and functions. All your cells use this carbohydrate. However, sugar, being a calorie, has negative health effects to every individual who consumes it in excess – resulting in heart damage or failure, depletion of brain power, obesity, shorter lifespan, diabetes and cancer cell production.
In this case, moderation is actually an important factor. But nowadays, everyone has access to candy bars, artificial sweeteners, energy drinks, sodas and so much more. With this variety of choices in stores, avoiding food with high sugar content is really harder.
What Lies Behind Sugar Addiction?
From the time your start craving for anything that contains a sweet ingredient, sugar addiction begins. Consuming too much of it can cause the production of natural opioids in your brain. These hormones help in relieving pain as well as triggered in the same way one would consume illegal drugs.
As written in The Atlantic, Dr. Robert Lustig, a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco states that:
“The brain’s pleasure center, called the nucleus accumbens, is essential for our survival as a species… When you consume any substance of abuse, including sugar, the nucleus accumbens receives a dopamine signal, from which you experience pleasure. And so you consume more. The problem is that with prolonged exposure, the signal attenuates, gets weaker. So you have to consume more to get the same effect — tolerance. And if you pull back on the substance, you go into withdrawal. Tolerance and withdrawal constitute addiction.”
A hormone known as leptin is another major player that contributes to sugar addiction. It tells the brain how to use the stored energy from fat. Furthermore, it could increase or decrease your food cravings as it targets those taste receptors found on your tongue. If you lack leptin or having a problem with leptin receptors, the chances of craving for food will be bigger and often times, in order to combat that craving, sugar will always be your first pick.
76 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health
Sugar’s detrimental health effects can be categorized into four: Behavioral Changes, Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency, Bodily Impairments, and Increased Risk of Diseases and Sicknesses.
Changes in Behavior and Mood Swings
- Decrease in emotional stability
- Addictive and intoxicating, similar to alcohol
- Rapid rise of adrenaline, hyperactivity, and anxiety
- Reduces learning capacity and can cause learning disorders that could affect schoolchildren’s grades
- Leads to difficulty in concentration, drowsiness, and crankiness in children
- Results in decreased activity in children
- Increases risk of antisocial behavior
Nutrient Imbalance or Deficiency
- Decreases good cholesterol levels
- Increases total cholesterol, triglycerides, and bad cholesterol levels
- Body changes sugar into two to five times more fat in the bloodstream compared to starch
- Upsets the mineral relationships in your body
- Chromium deficiency
- Interferes with the absorption of protein, calcium, and magnesium
- Lowers vitamin E levels
Impairs Your Body
- Increases advanced glycation end products wherein sugar molecules attach to proteins and end up damaging them
- DNA structure impairment
- Skin aging
- Impairs physiological homeostasis of bodily systems
- Lowers ability of enzymes to function
- Can cut off oxygen to brain via intravenous feedings
- Changing of collagen structure
- Increases liver size by making liver cells divide, increasing the amount of liver fat
- Increase kidney size and producing pathological changes
- Pancreatic damage
- Suppression of immune system, increasing risk of contracting infectious diseases
- Compromises lining of capillaries
- Brittle tendons
- Can cause an increase in delta, alpha, and theta brain waves, which can alter the mind’s ability to think clearly
- Causes hormonal imbalances
- Loss of tissue function and elasticity
- Increases free radicals and oxidative stress
- Weaker eyesight
- Premature aging
- Affects urinary electrolyte composition
- Slows down ability of adrenal glands to function
- Leads to substantial decrease in gestation, with a twofold increased risk for delivering a small-for-gestational-age infant
- Dehydration among newborns
- Change in protein structure and causes a permanent alteration of protein acts in your body
- Increase in body’s fluid retention
- Has potential to induce abnormal metabolic processes in a normal healthy individual
- Affects carbon dioxide production when given to premature babies
Increased Risk of Chronic Health Issues
- Increases fasting levels of glucose
- Increases systolic blood pressure
- Significant increase in platelet adhesion
- Leads to formation of kidney stones and gallstones
- Rapid sugar absorption promotes excessive food intake
- Decreases insulin sensitivity, leading to high insulin levels and eventually diabetes
- Reactive Hypoglycemia
- Promotes chronic degenerative diseases
- Causes cardiovascular and atherosclerosis
- Causes cataracts and nearsightedness
- Feeds cancer cells
- Can induce cell death
- May lead to autoimmune diseases like asthma, arthritis and multiple sclerosis
- Causes emphysema
- Contributes to osteoporosis
- Contraction of appendicitis, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids,
- Could lead to high blood pressure in obese people
- Increased consumption in intensive care units can induce death
- Parkinson’s disease (people with said disease have high sugar intake)
- Increases risk of gout and Alzheimer’s disease
- Headaches, including migraines
- Gastrointestinal tract problems
- Food allergies
- Gum disease
- Greatly promotes uncontrolled growth of Candida Albicans (yeast infections)
- Toxemia in pregnancy
- Contributes to eczema in children
- Worsens symptoms of children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Increases risk of polio
- May lead to epileptic seizures
- Acidity in saliva, tooth decay, and periodontal diseases
Break Free From Sugar Addiction!
Appeal to Your Emotions
Occasionally, your emotional need, such as feeling a bit happier after a tiring day or wanting to relieve stress, is the reason why you crave food. If you are considers eating healthy food, ignore these emotions.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
This is a simple yet effective psychological acupressure technique which can manage the emotional components of your cravings. It can relieve a lot of emotional traumas, break down food cravings, lessen physical pain and discomfort, and abolish phobias and post-traumatic stresses.
This technique provides you a right mindset when you are going on a diet or just taking some steps on improving your health.
Lessen Sugar Consumption
Lessen the amount of sugar that you consume on a daily basis. To be exact, it must be below 25 grams, including those from whole fruits.
Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) at All Costs
HFCS is a sweetener made from corn. It can be found in various food items you eat and drink. Aside from the high amount of sugar that goes in it, it can also be deadly because of the many health risks it can cause (most were already mentioned above).
Choose a Well-Balanced Diet
A balanced diet tailored to your specific body type, with an emphasis on fiber-rich foods, can help on slowing down the absorption of sugar as well as of food rich in high-quality omega-3 fats. Avoid foods with high sugar content and always hydrate with pure and fresh water.
Exercising every day, along with managing your stress levels, getting enough sleep and optimizing your vitamin D levels, can help lessen the effects of excessive intake of sugar. A good exercise can improve insulin sensitivity, speed up metabolism, boost your mood, reduce stress level, strengthen bones and suppress ghrelin (the appetite hormone).
If you are actually consuming sweets on a daily basis, it can be difficult to say no to sugar. However, all your sacrifices will all be worth it once you have already felt the wonderful effects of lowering sugar intake. Trust me!