Sugar can affect everyone slightly differently but research indicates that sugar most greatly effects inflammation, joint paint, aged skin and heart health when it comes to sugar and effects on the body, including our brains.
High sugar foods have been shown to lead to inflammation in the body, which can increase the susceptibility of individuals to the above health issues and can also worsen symptoms for those already suffering from them.
The inflammation caused by sugar not only impacts our health, but also how our skin looks and feels!
When you consume simple sugars, the boost of insulin in the bloodstream can cause artery walls to grow faster than normal and lose their elasticity.
Over time, this can lead to heart attacks, stroke, and heart disease.
However, research suggests that consuming less sugar may help to lower blood pressure, which is a major heart disease risk factor.
Additionally, studies have found that those who eat a lot of sugar (25% or more of their calories as added sugar) are twice as likely to die of heart disease when compared to those who consume 10% or less of their total calories from sugar.
SUGAR AFFECTS ON THE BRAIN
In some studies sugar has been found to lead to signs of dopamine sensitization and opioid dependence, including cross-sensitization with alcohol and amphetamine, neurochemical and behavioral signs of withdrawal, and alterations in dopamine and my-opioid receptors..
Basically meaning that sugar shares many similarities with drugs of abuse!
When you eat sugar, you brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that causes you to feel good. Whole foods, even fruits, do not cause the release of the same quantity of dopamine as processed, sugary foods, such as donuts.
As time goes on, your sensitivity to dopamine decreases, causing your brain to need more to feel the same amount of pleasure. This is what causes addiction cravings to sugar.
Studies have also linked high sugar consumption to depression risk in adults. This leads to the following question:
Does sugar lead to depression, or does depression influence sugar intake?
So How Much Sugar is too Much?
Currently the average adult consumes roughly 22 teaspoons of ADDED sugar per day, which is far more than the American Heart Association recommends:
• No more than 6 t/day for women and 9 t/day for men.
Remember that this is added sugar, so not the natural sugars found in fruits!
The best way to reduce the amount of sugar you are ingesting on a daily basis is to slowly taper the sugary products, weaning yourself off of them. If you have been consuming large amounts of sugar you will feel off and this is a result of withdrawals as you use less and less of this additive. Remember, your body has become accustomed to the amount you have bee feeding it every day and it will take time for your systems to adjust, just like if you quit high consumption of coffee.
Here’s to better health and wellbeing!
Lorraine Taylor – Lay Minister