5 Ways Sugar Teases Your Taste Buds While Destroying Your Health!
Ah, sugar! That sweet little devil that teases your taste buds, tantalizes your desire for sweetness, and compromises your chances for good health! While I have long been a passionate advocate for minimizing this “sweet evil” of our day, I will be the first to admit that I have a huge sweet tooth. I love a good maple bar as much as the next guy. Yes, you heard me say it. I love sugar, and I look forward to eating it during my Saturday night cheat meal. However, the commitment that I have made to myself is that I enjoy the sugar for a brief moment, and then I get back to my natural foods’ lifestyle.
Today, I want to share 5 reasons why you, too, should minimize your sugar intake. The following reasons are only a very small fraction of all the potential side effects that sugar has on your body, but they are a very good start because they alone can make or break your overall health.
Again, remember, that I speak of EXCESS sugar intake from processed and added sources such as candy, pastries, chips, cookies, soda, crackers, breads, and other sugar-rich sources of carbohydrate.
Health Bomb #1: Sugar spikes your blood sugar!
I have this listed as number one for a very good reason. When your blood sugar is high from eating sugar or any other high glycemic (carbohydrates that break down into blood sugar quickly) foods, your insulin levels will also rise. This is very bad because one of insulin’s primarily roles is to store body fat! This seems to be the biggest drawback for most of us, but having chronically high blood sugar levels has also been shown to increase the chances of the following:
-Glucose intolerance (Pre-cursor to insulin resistance and type II diabetes)
-Type II diabetes
Health Bomb #2: Depression and dementia!
Let’s start with the acronym BDNF. What is that? This stands for “Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor,” which is a protein that maintains and promotes growth of new neurons and synapses in the brain. Needless to say, it is extremely important, so important, in fact, that John J. Ratey, author of Spark, The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain, has coined it the “Miracle Grow” of the brain. It literally helps to build and maintain your brain cells and holds them together with perfect integrity.
Well, guess what? Yep, you guessed it, my friends. Excess sugar INHIBITS the production of this extremely important factor in the brain, which leads to depression and ultimately dementia. The studies are ongoing, but the research is becoming more conclusive.
Health Bomb #3: Altered brain chemistry leads to sugar addiction
Dr. Robert Lustig has documented a terrific You-Tube series called the “Skinny on Obesity.” It is a 7-part series that is highly compelling. Watch the first video here:
In short, when you consume too much sugar, you activate a portion of your brain called the nucleus accumbens, nicknamed the “pleasure center.” Essentially, this is the site in which dopamine (one of your major feel good hormones) is secreted and absorbed by the appropriate receptor sites. This is all well and good until you realize that excess sugar consumption actually “dulls” or numbs the receptor sites, meaning that you will have to consume more the next time to get the same “pleasure” that sugar gave you initially. This becomes a vicious cycle and is similar to becoming addicted to nicotine or more hard-core drugs.
Health Bomb #4: Evaporation of your GOOD cholesterol and a spike in your triglycerides!
In a recent study from the Journal of the American Medical Association, we learn that participants that consumed excess sugar significantly raised their triglycerides (fat in the blood) and significantly lowered their HDL (good) cholesterol. Just more of what we have sensed to be true all along!
Health Bomb #5: Weight gain & decreased quality of life!
I will not be referencing any scientific journals here; although, there is a profound link between excess sugar intake and becoming overweight and/or obese. It is a very simple equation: our modern day foods are being hijacked by too much processing, which normally equates into increased sugar intake! All of these excess calories are being converted to fat because our activity levels have significantly dropped in comparison to our excessive intake!
Well, there you have it, my friends: five out of MANY reasons you should limit your sugar. YES, you can have a little bit of sugar in moderation. YES, you can enjoy a dessert every once in a while. YES, you can still eat healthy and throw in a little bit of the “Sweet Evil” every now and then, but keep it minimal! I would personally recommend that you stay below 50 grams of processed/added sugar per day and that is even stretching it! Life is good, my friends. Don’t screw it over with excess sugar!