It’s that time when many of us start to be more indulgent and begin to relax our healthy routines as the year winds down, and the parties wine up. We eat more treats that are likely not as healthy, with sugar being the main culprit in many of these delights. It’s well-known that too much sugar in our diet can affect our bodies in many ways, from cavities to diabetes. To combat sugar’s harmful effects on our bodies, we must be mindful of how much we eat and when to pull back.
Sugar and its effects on your healthy last longer than the moments of sweetness it brings into your life. Don’t get me wrong, sugar is fine in moderation, and it’s ok to let your hair down and enjoy it once in a while, but keep in mind how much you consume.
What is Sugar?
Sugar is the generic name for sweet carbohydrates and provides a source of energy. Sugars occur naturally in some foods and can take many forms, including white, raw, brown sugar, honey, or corn syrup. Processed sugar provides a simple energy source but doesn’t contain other nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Processed sugar offers no nutritional health benefits, so you don’t need it in your diet.
Sugar is sweet; it makes everything taste delicious and makes you feel happy. Unfortunately, sugar is addictive, and like with any addiction, it can be dangerous. Some people may say that sugar is as addictive as cocaine because it alters the mood and can invoke reward and pleasure in the same way drugs, such as cocaine, affect the brain.
How Sugar Effects your Health
All carbohydrates in your body get metabolized into simple sugar. The sugar then gets absorbed into the bloodstream and signals the pancreas to release insulin. Finally, the insulin helps the sugar break down into energy, and ideally, you would baseline and recoup within two hours.
If you continually eat more sugar than your body needs or can process, it will begin to store the energy as fat. That fat is stored either in your muscles or your liver. Living a primarily sedentary lifestyle, and continuing to add to those fat reserves, can make your body insulin resistant.
We all know overeating sugar can lead to obesity and diabetes, but it is also associated with:
- Cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s and Dementia
How Sugar Effects Gut Function
Studies have shown that too much sugar in your diet can negatively affect the gut biome. Too much sugar can reduce beneficial bacteria leading to leaky gut syndrome. There is a delicate balance of bacteria in your gut, and sugar can cause problems for the good bacteria in this ecosystem. Also, because sugar creates an imbalance of healthy gut bacteria, your body can start craving sugar when your gut health is working to get back to normal. If you give in to these cravings, you can further damage your gut health.
How Sugar Effects Kids
Research has found links between kids’ high-sugar diets and problems with sleep, learning, and emotional health. A diet high, including sugary foods and drinks, has also been associated with a higher risk of developing acne. Consuming too much sugar is associated with lower scores on tests of cognitive function. While kids are still developing, they need nutrient rich foods for their growing minds and bodies.
Effects of Sugar on the Brain
Sugar impacts the brain’s reward response by connecting sugar with feelings of pleasure. Over time, more significant amounts of the substance are required to reach the same reward level. Sugar can also cause inflammation in the brain, contributing to memory loss later in life. All of which can be reversed by following a healthy lifestyle.
Effects of Sugar your Skin
Excessive sugar can aggravate skin conditions such as acne, eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis due to the inflammation it causes in your body. If you want to keep from looking older, it would be best to reduce your sugar intake. That is because sugar breaks down collagen in the skin and accelerates the development of fine lines and wrinkles.
Effects of Sugar on your Mood
Multiple studies have found a link between diets high in sugar and depression. Overconsumption of sugar triggers imbalances in certain brain chemicals. People who consume high amounts of sugar in their diets can similarly experience the physiological sensation of withdrawal if they suddenly stop consuming sugar like with other addictive substances.
The Truth about Sugar
On its own, sugar is not the enemy and the cause of all the health problems on earth. Studies have shown that highly refined sugars combined with damaged fats, like vegetable oil, can cause severe adverse health issues. Fat and carbohydrates are a unique combination that is highly palatable and addictive, leading to the overconsumption of sugars and fat. 
Excessive sugar consumption can contribute to consuming too many calories and lead to weight gain. Being overweight increases your risk of health problems such as heart disease, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes.
The key to good health is eating a well-balanced diet with various foods and getting plenty of physical activity. Join the Breathe Chile community by subscribing for support on your journey. Comment below on changes you plan to make toward a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
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Sugar: The Bittersweet Truth – Ingredientologist. – https://shawnwells.com/2020/09/sugar-hidden-sources-types/
How Does Sugar Affect the Skin? | Biodermis.com | Biodermis. https://www.biodermis.com/blogs/biodermis-blog/how-does-sugar-affect-the-skin-biodermis-com
Your Anxiety Loves Sugar. Eat These 3 Things Instead – Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/how-sugar-harms-mental-health
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