Sugar on the Brain
As much as we love to indulge in sweets, we need to understand the full consequences of our desire. Most of us already know that increased sugar intake can lead to obesity, tooth decay and diabetes, but we still ignore the negative side, and consume away! Why?
Glucose, which is a simple sugar, is the main source of energy in our body. We need glucose to feed our cells and give us the energy we need to carry on our day. When we consume sugar, we also activate the chemical Dopamine, which we call the “feel good” hormone in our body. Dopamine can influence a persons mood and wellbeing, so, when we eat sugar, our body will naturally start to “feel good”. So, when glucose levels are low in the body, or a person is going through a challenging time, or depressed, we can crave the feeling, and reach for the sugar. If a person creates enough of a habitual pattern, the person can become addicted, and reach for sugar anytime the person needs to “feel good”.
The problem with this constant reinforcement of sugar, is that it can increase the amount of inflammation in the body, including in our brain, which, along with the known causes like obesity, tooth decay, and diabetes, it can also cause:
-memory lapses, by reducing the amount of neuron connections to the brain;
-atherosclerosis, which clogs the arteries with fatty deposits;
-increases the risk of cancers, due to the inflammation;
-increases anxiety, depression, and drains your energy, due to the blood sugar swings;
-ages you faster, by destroying the structures that protect our cells from functioning properly
-increases your kidney disease risk, by damaging the vessels in the kidneys
-increases risk of gout, by raising the uric acid in the body
-increases risk of dementia, due to the inflammation
So, now that we know what it can do to our body, how can we stop these cravings? Well, please understand that this is something that you shouldn’t do cold turkey. (Some may be able to, but for others, be ready for the body to revolt!) The best way to eliminate sugars from the diet, is to do it slowly. For those with a harsh addiction, I tell them to not deplete the body from sugar right away, but to “fool” the body instead. By replacing the simple sugars with sweet fruit, such as pineapples and grapes, you are not only giving the body what it “craves”, but also allowing in more of the nutrients your body needs. So, it’s win win! Keep fresh fruit on hand, as you would your favorite sweet, and it won’t take long to start to feel the difference in your body.
Over a few weeks time, you will start to notice a decrease in those cravings and your body will start feeling more naturally energetic. You may even notice a difference in your sleep patterns. Once the body adjusts to the “new sugar” (fruit), you can then slowly reduce the amount of fruit, or start to choose less sweet fruit to eat. Since the body can break down fruit much easier than it can sugar, the body can adjust to the change much easier. As an added bonus of health, while you slowly eliminate sugars from your diet, allow yourself to increase the consumption of vegetables, for an overall healthy change.
Remember this is the only body you have, and life to lead. The choices we make today, will influence how we live tomorrow. Taking a month or two of cracking down on maintaining good healthy choices, will only benefit you in the long run, and your body will thank you.
Love and peace... XO
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Michelle has a BS, E-RYT, YACEP, CHN, CLYL, and Y12SRL.