Something most of us eat every day. A substance we give to our kids. This substance is everywhere and we are craving it now more than ever. It might be obvious for some of us but for too many, it will be a surprise to learn that sugar is one of the most destructive substances for our general health and our brain health.
The occasional treat is fine but what we don't seem to understand is that companies are "hiding" it in almost everything we eat for us to by their brand again and again. Sugar is found in almost all the bread, cereals, juices of course, and much more.
It is actually pretty hard to walk away from it. One, because our brain will crave and ask for it and two because eating food without any sugar requires a very determined and attentive mind.
The relationship our brain has with sugar has been compared to the one it has with cocaine. An experiment led on rats showed that the rats in a specific setting were more likely to become addict to sugar than cocaine when given the choice. Although this study hasn't been led on human the results are still quite disturbing.
The brain is using most of the energy found in the body. It consumes it more than any other organ. Its primary source of energy is glucose (sugar molecules). This information probably seems a bit contradictory, stay with me. When the brain is getting too much sugar it can't function properly.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons) for men and 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons) for women.
Although the average American will consume 270 calories per day (71,14 grams or 17 teaspoons).
We are all familiar with health conditions threatening the health of someone eating too much sugar such as weight gain, obesity, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, liver disease, tooth decay, etc…
Further, how does it affect your brain? An overabundant presence of sugar in the brain can lead to an impairment of your cognitive skills and your self-control…
As mentioned earlier many scientists brought to light their hypothesis that food containing sugar, salt, or fat has a drug-like effect on our brains. Studies have shown that High-glycemic food can activate the reward response regions of the brain.
An excess of sugar in the bloodstream can lead to inflammation in the brain. When inflammation is present in the brain, its cognitive function will slow down and its memory and attention will be deficient.
Fortunately, a low level of brain damage caused by an overdose of sugar can be reversed by adopting a low-sugar diet.
A high level of sugar in the blood also has a powerful influence on our mood. A study from 2004 published in Diabetes Care showed that people suffering from type 2 diabetes were experiencing stronger feelings of anxiety and sadness when in acute hyperglycemia ( high level of sugar in the blood).
Another study led in Cambridge in 2018 showed that people with a diet holding more refined sugar were more at risk to develop depression.
Finally, people ingesting a larger amount of sugar than they should are also increasing their risk of developing any other kind of mental disorder by 23%.
As you may know already, high quantities of sugar in the bloodstream can cause damage to blood vessels throughout the body. These damages can lead to amputation of members such as fingers and toes or literal damage to the brain and eyes area causing retinopathy.
The damage caused to the blood vessel in the brain can induce learning disabilities, memory loss, slower motor speed, etc. A high level of sugar in the brain can literally cause brain shrinkage.
Lower IQ has been associated with higher sugar consumption…
Lastly,a research from 2002, demonstrate how high glucose diet could even be linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease…
In conclusion, taking sugar out of our lives won't be an easy task. Although giving it a try won't hurt anyone. Being conscious of this reality and the damage it can cause can be a great motivation. You might not realize it yet but after reading this article you probably will be more aware of how much sugar is surrounding us at all times. This awareness can be your fuel to victory. For a better future, upgrading your diet can not only make you feel better but also make you healthier.