How Sugar Affects the Brain
It is pretty common knowledge that excess amounts of sugar can have a negative effect on the body. It may not be as commonly known that sugar also affects the brain negatively. Below you will read several of the negative impacts of how sugar affects the brain and how sugar addiction can actually exist.
The brain functions at all time. From in utero until the time we die. This takes an amazing amount of energy when compared to the other bodily organs. For humans, glucose, a form of sugar, is the fuel for the brain. Unfortunately for those with a sweet tooth, more is not better for the brain when it comes to sugar. Excess sugar impairs both our self-control and cognitive skills. This is because sugar has a drug like effect on the brain. In fact, this is why it can become addictive in and of itself. It’s also why people in detox often crave sugary, sweet foods.
For those who can’t ‘just say no’ to sugary foods, you are more likely to gain weight, overeat, and lose self-control. This is in part due to sugar activating the reward center of the brain. The stronger the sugar intake, the more reward the body receives. At least it feels that way.
Problems Caused by Excessive Sugar
As mentioned, more is not better when it comes to sugar. Excessive sugar is very harmful to the body. Elevated glucose levels can result in slowed cognitive functioning and memory deficits as well as affect mood. With higher blood sugar, people may not be able to process emotion. In diabetics, increased sadness and anxiety may be felt. Continued high levels of glucose can lead to extended damage over time. Including eye issues, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and even brain damage. We can fight sugar cravings and addictions by using replacement foods that are sweet with natural sugar, like fruit.
Sweets and Addiction
With the number of substances that one can now be addicted to, it seems almost humorous to consider sugar as addictive. However, the link between sweets and addiction is notable. Several studies have found that sugar is just as addictive as drugs like heroin or cocaine. While a hardcore heroin user may disagree as it would be unlikely that a sugar addict ends up homeless and pawning heirlooms for a sugar fix, the chemical reactions in the body are the same. Think about this in relation to children who have a strong sugar addiction. While at three or four it may not seem that important, getting the brain used to that continuous reward response may lead to harsher drugs in the future or in the least health issues.
If you have a sugar addiction or are trying to prevent one in a loved one, consult a doctor or nutritionist to help start curbing and then kicking the habit. It can be self defeating to think all sugar can be taken out of your life, but learning to make small replacements over time can keep you healthy and on track to a long life.
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