by Matt Weik
Sugar! That wonderfully sweet ingredient that could literally make anything taste better, is slowly trying to destroy you. Consider sugar like Jedi mind tricks. Even a little bit can have a lasting effect on you, your body, and your health. Most people don’t know the damaging effects of sugar until it’s too late. Don’t wait until it’s too late to make a change in your nutritional habits, make the change TODAY. Read below to find 6 ways that sugar is damaging your body.
1.) Sugar crash
I think most people will understand the concept of a sugar crash. What goes up, must come down. It’s that moment after eating or drinking something that was full of sugar that gave you a quick jolt of energy but then had you slamming on the brakes rather than slowly coming to a complete stop. This happens after the body realizes that sugar is present and releases insulin—like it’s supposed to do—causing your blood sugar to come crashing down.
If you are eating something with sugar just to obtain energy, try black coffee (without sugar or creamers). Coffee has health benefits as well as caffeine to give you the energy you are looking for without the added calories and crash at the end.
2.) Insulin skyrockets
A segue from the above is that once the body realizes an increase in blood sugar levels, the pancreas then needs to release insulin to normalize those levels. While this is a normal function of the body, if there is a constant presence of glucose in the body that needs to be absorbed by the cells to be utilized and isn’t, it can alter insulin sensitivity leading to other health problems such as prediabetes and full blown diabetes. Once your body is insulin resistant, medication is needed to control blood sugar. It’s advised to try and keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day by not consuming products that contain sugars.
Sugar is like putting cocaine in your body—it’s a drug that your body wants more of after it has had it. While there aren’t any organizations that hold weekly meetings for “sugar addicts” we might be in need of them soon if Americans don’t get their act together with their nutrition.
After eating or drinking something containing sugar, dopamine and serotonin are released to give you that “feel good” feeling. Once your body gets that feeling it craves it. Once it subsides and insulin regulates blood sugar, you’re back to square one wanting more sugar. So what does this create? A never ending cycle where your body will want more and more sugar to get that same feeling. If you feed your body the nutrients it needs and stay away from sugar, you will be in better control of your body and how you feel throughout the day.
4.) Packing on the pounds
To be quite honest, this is a downward spiral. Once you are putting on extra weight, you risk running down the path towards obesity. Obesity leads you down the road to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance takes you even further down the path to diabetes. All of this can stem from excess sugar in your diet.
Extra sugar added to anything you are eating is extra calories that are unwanted and unneeded. Without even knowing it, you could be eating way more calories than you imagined simply because most foods that are high in sugar are lacking in protein and fiber which would help you feel full, ultimately stopping you from eating more of something.
It’s actually not that difficult to put on weight if you think about it and do the math. Let’s say during the day you eat a candy bar and drink a regular can of soda. You’re looking at about 500 calories right there. If you eat that 7 days a week, that’s 3,500 calories. You know what 3,500 calories equates to, right? One pound—and we aren’t talking about lean muscle mass. Remove excess sugar from your diet, period.
5.) Speeds up the aging process
If you cut out sugars from your diet you will not only feel better, but you’ll LOOK better as well. Many people buy all kinds of fancy anti-aging creams and serums, which can help, but if they wanted to be preventative they should definitely consider looking at what they eat throughout the day and making changes and modifications if they find their diet is full of sugars.
Through a process called glycation, glucose grabs ahold of collagen and elastin (proteins in the body) which are known for helping keep your skin tight and smooth and makes it harder for these proteins to repair themselves after being damaged which can result in wrinkles and other conditions associated with aging. By limiting sugars, collagen and elastin are able to repair themselves and maintain skin tightness, making you look younger with less signs of wrinkles.
6.) Tooth decay
Everyone wants an amazing smile—it’s what people notice during a first impression. Some people are born with it (consider yourself lucky), while others need to pay to achieve that straight smile. Either way, sugar can definitely do some damage to those pearly whites. Sugar itself doesn’t directly damage your teeth, rather the process of what happens inside your mouth when sugar is present. As you are aware, you have bacteria in your mouth. Many people use mouthwash on top of brushing their teeth to kill off some of that nasty bacteria. But when sugar is present, it sets off a chain reaction with the bacteria that then creates acids. It’s the acid that attacks tooth enamel, breaking down and damaging the teeth. Once the enamel has been weakened, it can eventually lead to tooth decay. Take care of your mouth and teeth by keeping sugars out of your diet as well as by brushing and flossing.