We crave it. It's a delicious treat, a reward, an indulgence. But, what happens once it enters our body?
Sugar converts to insulin and excess insulin negatively affects the body in so many ways. It's bad for our heart, brain, skin, joints, teeth, liver, and mood. Sugar is also addictive, so the more we consume, the more we crave. Falling into a vicious cycle of wanting more, ingesting more, and so on.
Studies have shown an association between a high - sugar diet and a greater risk of dying from heart disease. Sugar negatively affects the heart leading to heart disease in several ways. It causes chronic inflammation and raises blood pressure, both routes to heart disease. High amounts of sugar also overload the liver and eventually turn into fatty liver disease. Diabetes follows, which also increases the risk of heart disease.
When we ingest sugar, our brain gets a surge of the feel-good chemical dopamine. The more sugar we have, the more we crave. Our body wants to recreate that surge of feeling good. Besides the addiction aspect, sugar slows cognitive function and deficits in memory and attention. High glucose levels are associated with decreased mental capacity and a greater degree of brain shrinkage.
The occasional candy or cookie can give you a quick burst of energy by raising blood sugar levels, otherwise known as a sugar high. As our cells absorb the sugar and levels in our bloodstream drop, we experience a sugar crash. A large study linking depression to increased sugar intake found higher sugar consumption rates were associated with a greater incidence of depression. It has is proven that healthy young people are significantly affected by their ability to process emotions with increased sugar intake.
Increased inflammation from excess sugar takes a toll on our skin. It ages us by damaging collagen and elastin, causing wrinkles and sagging skin. Inflammation is horrible for joints, increasing joint pain.
IS ALL SUGAR BAD FOR US?
The goal is to stay away from highly processed sugar with no nutritional value. Natural sugars from fruit and milk are OK in moderation. Honey and maple syrup are better choices than sugar. They contain small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Supplementing with natural sugars is not ideal. Once our body breaks down sugar into monosaccharides, sugar molecules, all sugar is the same once broken down.
If you think you may be consuming too much sugar in your diet, I recommend cutting back on all processed sugars to start. Once you've accomplished that, focus on replacing other sugars with protein-rich snacks or switch from sugary foods to fruit when you have a sugar craving.
The cravings will eventually subside. If you find it hard to give up the sugar because the cravings are too intense, try adding mineral chromium 200 grams, 1-3 times daily. This will help control your blood sugar and lessen your cravings.
One easy switch you can make is to switch from soda pop to water or sparkling water, adding a couple of ounces of pomegranate juice. Try replacing flavoured yogurt with plain yogurt. And replace table sugar with monk fruit sugar (even when baking). Other sugar replacements include stevia and dates. Whatever you decide to substitute with, cut the quantity in half. You'll get used to it, and it will get easier as you go.
You can do this and your body with thank you! Questions, I am here to help.