by Dr. Jeff Rebarcak, health and wellness expert
April 05, 2015
Imagine yourself on a Saturday night. You're relaxing, catching up on your favorite TV show and probably eating or drinking something. What are you eating? If you are like the majority of people you can probably hear yourself saying, "I want something sweet!" Ice cream, cookies, brownies, leftover Easter candy. If all else fails, you'll settle for a glass of sweet tea or coffee with cream and sugar.
Does that sound like you? If so, you are like most people. Eating or drinking sugary things makes us feel good— at least for a little while. That sweet rush raises your blood sugar, provides you with a boost of energy and carries serotonin to your brain, which makes you happy. Unfortunately, these enhancements last only a short while, and they are followed by the inevitable "crash." And how do we treat a crash? More sugar, of course.
Now, we all know that sugar isn't very kind to our waistlines, but the dangers go beyond that. Sugar impacts our bodies in ways that you would never imagine.
1. Sugar triggers hunger
Have you ever noticed that your stomach starts to growl a short while after eating sugary foods? This can be attributed to the fact that sugary foods cause our blood sugar to rise, which signals the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is necessary for delivering glucose from the blood into the cells, lowering blood sugar levels. Once there is a drop in blood sugar, the body is alerted that it is hungry.
There are obvious sugar hosts, such as soda, candy and other treats, but sugar is prevalent in less apparent substances, as well—like juices and coffee drinks. Also, refined flours rapidly convert to sugar, meaning that they have a similar impact on the body and should be avoided, too.
2. Sugar leads to mood swings and fatigue.
Are you the type of person who greets the day with a sweet cup of coffee and then heads out on your way? If so, you have probably experienced the shaky, lightheaded feeling that makes you want to eat the first thing that you see.
This is a result of your blood sugar getting low and bringing your energy and mood down with it. Your first instinct may be to reach for another energy booster (like a sweet pastry), but this type of nutrition sets you into a cycle of sugar highs and crashes.
3. Sugar will be stored as fat.
When the body releases insulin, it begins to store excess calories as fat. As we said earlier, it is easy to fall into a cycle of eating sugary foods. When a person consumes a high level of sugar over a period of time, the body becomes resistant to insulin. In order to compensate for this change, more insulin is released. More insulin means more signals to store fat.
Excess fat storage around the midsection is more than just an appearance issue. This type of weight gain is known for contributing to the development of heart disease, diabetes, and more.
4. Sugar makes skin appear older.
I think it's safe to say that no one wants to intentionally sabotage their skin and make themselves look older. However, that is exactly what you are doing by consuming high levels of sugar.
Sugar creates advanced glycation end-products. This causes damage to collagen and elastin in the skin, which leads to sagging and defined wrinkles. The good news is that, if you have begun to notice your skin aging in an untimely manner, giving up sugar will allow your skin to take back a bit of its youthful appearance.
5. Sugar makes us more susceptible to sickness.
As we mentioned earlier, sugary foods cause the pancreas to release insulin in an effort to lower blood sugar and deliver it to the cells. Insulin hinders the release of human growth hormone, which causes our immune system to suffer. This leaves us more susceptible to infections and viruses.
As you can see, consuming significant amounts of sugar and refined flours handicaps us in many ways. Allowing these ingredients into our bodies opens the door for sickness and emotional instability and closes the door to health and happiness.
Choose to take care of the body you have!