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What Sugar Does to You
What Does Sugar Do?
When any sugar is consumed, the liver and the pleasure center of the brain are affected immediately. Insulin is released in the liver to handle the sugar. Opioids and dopamine located in the nucleus accumbens aka pleasure center of your brain are also released, giving you a mild euphoric feeling. Interestingly, sugar consumption follows a clear circular cycle of hunger, fatigue and moodiness. When you consume sugar, you blood sugar spikes, making you feel happy and energetic. After this spike, you begin to come down and eventually crash. The crash leads to moodiness and irritability. In order to counteract these negative feelings, people consume more sugary foods. Thus repeating the cycle of consumption and withdrawal. You may think this resembles an addiction. Consider this, the chemical formula for sucralose aka table sugar is C12H22O11. That’s 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms and 11 oxygen atoms. And the chemical formula for cocaine is C17H21NO4. For all intents and purposes, a single nitrogen atom is what separates table sugar from cocaine. Reconsidering that candy bar?
What Does Excessive Sugar Do?
Even though sugar is essential for daily function, too much can do a lot of damage to the human body. Excessive sugar consumption leads to inflammation, tooth decay, headaches, organ malfunction, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, hormone disruption, depression, behavioral problems and immune system disruption. A recent study found that consuming 20 teaspoons of sugar a day can suppress the immune system as much as 50%! Another study found for every additional 150 calories from added sugar consumed per person, per day, the prevalence of diabetes rises by 1.1% A diet that is high in fructose leads to a build up of fat around the liver. This fat build up is a precursor to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a phenomenon not seen before 1980. When a large amount of sugar is consumed quickly, it overloads the liver’s regular function and is converted immediately to fat instead being used for energy.
A Shocking Discovery
A 2005 study found that a high fat, high sugar diet can increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Leading to a theory that Alzheimer’s disease may be a metabolic disease. Interestingly, the human brain also produces insulin. The brain’s insulin is essential for normal function. It facilitates the firing of neurons, which are crucial for memory and learning. The study suggests that similar to insulin resistance in the liver, diabetes, insulin resistance can also occur in the brain. Leading the researchers to coin Alzheimer’s disease, Type-3 diabetes. Insulin resistance in the brain leads to impaired memory and cognition. Extended periods of insulin resistance in the brain can lead to the shrinking of the hippocampus, which is a hallmark symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. The hippocampus is involved in the formation, organization and storage of memories. The connection between diet and the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is still being investigated. The current findings suggest that eating less processed foods and more natural foods can lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
For More Information:
Harmful Effects (Wellness Mama)
How Sugar Affects You (Women’s Health)
Why Sugar is Bad (Authority Nutrition)
Sugar on the Brain (Lifehacker)
Danger of Sugar (Huffington Post)
Sugar and Alcohol (Medical Daily)
Sugar and BDNF (olsonnd)
Sugar and Brain Function (mercola)