Have you ever wondered if you have an addiction to sugar?
Sounds silly or does it?
However, the reality is that sugar is highly addictive. We are apparently all born with a slight sweet tooth but for some, that sweet tooth can get out of control.
So what happens to our bodies when we eat sugar?Eating a sugary snack releases ‘feel good’ chemicals such as Dopamine & serotonin. You’ll experience an initial high and like anything of an addictive nature, your body will start to crave more. You’ll become addicted to that feeling so eventually you’ll want or need more in order to have that same ‘sugar high’
Your body will then release insulin to try and stabilise your blood sugar levels. Once this has happened your blood sugar levels will drop and you may find that you have a slump in your energy levels. You’ll feel tired like you need a nap. At this point, you may find that you need sugar to help raise those energy levels. This is of course a complete no-no as you’ll just end up repeating that sugar rush cycle.
Too much sugar can make you put on weight.It’s not rocket science to realise that sugar is calories that your body just doesn’t need. There’s no nutritional values in sugar – no fibre or protein and you’ll need to eat a lot more sugary snacks to feel fuller than you would a high protein meal. Eating just 1 chocolate bar a day can help you put on 1lb in a week
Lets talk diabetes. It’s the elephant in the room with a lot of ‘sugar addicts’ we all know that sugar causes spikes to your insulin levels but did you know that your cells in your body can start to become resistant to insulin? Your pancreas will work harder to produce more insulin but unfortunately your cells don’t respond and your body ends up with sugar in your bloodstream.
Certain forms of diabetes can be controlled with medication (such as type 2) but cutting back on your sugar intake now will really help you in the long term before it gets too late.
Sugar can damage your arteriesSo we know that high sugar intake is linked with obesity and diabetes but did you know that other areas of your body will be affected?
High blood pressure for one which increases your risk of stroke. It can age you. Sugar in your bloodstream will affect your collagen levels which means that your skin will age faster.
Fancy a trip to the dentist?As a child I was petrified of those pictures on the dentists wall – the ones with children who had tooth decay. As an adult I’m pretty proud of the fact I have only 1 filling. Now it isn’t sugar itself that necessarily causes first hand damage but it plays a huge part. You see the bacteria in our mouths feed on the sugars. Acids are created and those acids can help cause tooth decay.
If these effects have been enough to scare you into next week, then read our must read article - tips for cutting back on sugar
Alleyne is a qualified weight management counsellor, author and columnist.
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