Sugar Addiction and the Effects It has On Your Body and Brain
Updated: Nov 23, 2022
When it comes to your diet you probably know that you should be picking healthy foods over unhealthy foods. When you’re busy, your time is at a premium and unhealthy foods are quick, easy to prepare and can be eaten on the go. Unfortunately, eating low quality junk foods can be seriously damaging to your health. Unhealthy eating can affect your mind & body in many ways. Let's look at how sugar can impact your body and your brain.
1. Sugar Can Lead to That Menopausal Middle
One of the main impacts of unhealthy eating & sugar is weight gain. Unhealthy foods are generally loaded with sugar & calories, and don’t satisfy your appetite in the same way as healthy foods. This means when you eat junk foods, you are much more likely to overeat and take in lots of calories. Eating whole foods fill you up more and increases your metabolism.
Fast meals are loaded with extra calories. For example, a McDonalds Double Cheeseburger contains over 450 calories and isn’t the most filling of foods. A wholegrain chicken salad sandwich of the same size is much more filling and contains under 300 calories. By picking the junk food for just one of your daily meals, you can easily add an extra 200 calories to your day. If you do this every day, you add 1,400 calories to your week. If you do this for a few weeks, you will pile on the pounds very quickly.
2) Sugar Lowers Your Immunity
Studies done on the white blood cells of the body, the cells that help fight off infections, suggest that hyperglycemia (high concentrations of sugar in the blood) actually reduces the effectiveness of the white blood cells.
3) A Diet High in Sugar Can Cause an Unhealthy Heart
Eating low quality foods deprives your vital organs of the nutrients they need. This can prevent them from functioning properly and in the worst cases,
it can lead to organ damage and organ failure. For example, many of the vitamins and minerals that are found in healthy foods support the heart. Not getting enough of these in your diet can damage the blood vessels in and around your heart and increase your heart disease risk. Eating a balanced diet low in sugar and rich in fiber, with whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetable can prevent heart disease.
4) Sugar Can Cause Muscle Wasting
Unhealthy diets often contain high levels of fats and carbohydrates but very little protein. For example, chocolate, potato chips and sodas are all lacking in protein. Even meatier junk foods such as burgers and sausages are relatively low in protein and high in fat compared to lean meats.
The main function of protein is to provide your body with the fuel it needs to build new cells and to maintain and repair your existing cells. If you don’t eat enough protein your body starts to source, it from existing muscle cells and as a result your muscles start to shrink and become weak. Malnutrition can lead to muscle shrinkage. The good news is that muscle atrophy can be reversed with good nutrition.
5) Sugar Can Cause You to Look Older
Sugar can lead to unhealthy skin. Eating lots of junk food prevents your skin from getting the nutrients it requires to stay healthy. This can cause several undesirable skin problems. Acne responds well to a low glycemic diet. Failing to get enough vitamins in your diet can cause your skin to become dry and scaly and lead to the development of age spots and skin rashes. High sugar levels can lead to fungal infections and rashes. Not consuming enough minerals can cause wrinkles and skin sores.
6) Sugar Can Cause Fluctuating Energy Levels
Unhealthy foods are normally loaded with simple sugars. When you eat them, they get digested very quickly and rapidly enter your blood stream. This results in a short surge in energy levels before they come crashing back down again. These constant surges and drops in blood sugar make it extremely difficult to concentrate and perform during the day. They can also damage your blood vessels and increase your risk of contracting diabetes. Processed grains, such as those found in white bread, white pasta and white rice may actually cause more harm than good when it comes to your energy levels
7) Sugar Causes Inflammation & Can Lead to Chronic Diseases
The more sugar you consume, the higher your pH will swing out of healthy balance. When your body is overly acidic, it creates stress on vital organs, weakens your immune system, and creates inflammation in your joints. Eating too many inflammatory foods may cause chronic low-grade inflammation.
Low quality foods can significantly increase your risk of developing chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. For starters, lots of junk foods contain dangerous man-made chemicals and substances, such as trans fats. These substances have been proven to directly increase your chances of developing chronic diseases. Additionally, junk foods deprive your body of the essential nutrients which can help prevent these chronic diseases.
8) Sugar Causes Inflammation in the Brain
Researchers say higher blood sugar levels can affect brain health and lead to cognitive decline. Excessive sugar consumption has links to inflammation in the body, including in your brain. When your brain becomes inflamed, it can affect your memory, your ability to learn efficiently, and your motor speeds. The more sugar you consume in excessive amounts, the more damage you do to your system.
When you are busy, eating healthy isn’t normally your main priority. However, I hope this article has shown you how consistent unhealthy eating can impact your overall health, encouraging you to make time for healthy eating. Your health is one of the most valuable things in your life and should be prioritized accordingly.
Even if your time is extremely limited, healthy eating doesn’t have to take long. You can prepare healthy egg bites in less than 10 minutes. A nutritious salad can be prepared in under five minutes. Foods like this are quick, easy and most importantly, protect your health from the dangers discussed in this article.
I am Penny Hyndman, Registered Nurse and Neurofeedback Practitioner in Vancouver British Columbia. Brain health is the prime focus of my private practice. It’s my passion to teach and inspire others to live healthfully and live the best possible life. If you struggle with sugar addiction and want to learn more about kicking your sugar habit, download my report Breaking Sugar Addiction today.