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What Are The Effects Of Sugar On Your Body

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All In Your Head: The Effects Of Sugar On The Mind

What Does Sugar Actually Do To Your Body?

Sugar does more to your brain that just foster an addiction to the sweet ingredient. Eating large amounts of sugar can affect the brains pathways, potentially decreasing the ability to store new information. Sugar can interfere with communication between nerve cells, potentially altering your mood, memory and processing of information. It can feel as if you are in a fog when it messes with your processing. High-sugar diets may also increase the risk of depression by 58 percent. So, while you may feel good immediately, over time your sugar consumption could cause some serious problems in the way you feel.

What Happens To The Body When We Eat Food That Contains Sugar

Each part of the body has different ways of dealing with all foods and nutrients for digestion, including sugar.

The Mouth

Sugar digestion starts its journey in our mouths when our bodies start producing an enzyme called salivary amylase that helps start breaking down the foods we chew along with any sugars in those foods. Once food travels through the esophagus into the stomach, stomach acid makes the salivary amylase inactive.

The Stomach

Once the food and sugars make their way to the stomach the digestive system starts to become more active by breaking down foods into their basic nutrient components. During this process starches and sugars start breaking down by both mechanical and chemical processes.

Stomach acid and gastric juices consist of digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid along with other substances that help to break down foods, split up proteins and kill bacteria. Once the stomach has done its job, food weve eaten has been broken down into monosaccharides like glucose, fructose, and galactose for distribution and use throughout the body.

The Small Intestine

As broken down food travels through our digestive system, the body starts to absorb different nutrients for use as energy or is stored as glycogen in our liver and muscles. This stored glycogen acts as a reserve of readily available glucose that can be easily used as an energy source should the body require it.

The Liver

The Brain


Consuming Too Much Sugar

However, problems occur when you consume too much added sugar that is, sugar that food manufacturers add to products to increase flavor or extend shelf life.

In the American diet, the top sources are soft drinks, fruit drinks, flavored yogurts, cereals, cookies, cakes, candy, and most processed foods. But added sugar is also present in items that you may not think of as sweetened, like soups, bread, cured meats, and ketchup.

The result: we consume way too much added sugar. Adult men take in an average of 24 teaspoons of added sugar per day, according to the National Cancer Institute. That’s equal to 384 calories.

“Excess sugar’s impact on obesity and diabetes is well documented, but one area that may surprise many men is how their taste for sugar can have a serious impact on their heart health,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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Does Sugar Cause Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

We know that sugar does not cause type 1 diabetes, nor is it caused by anything else in your lifestyle. In type 1 diabetes, the insulin producing cells in your pancreas are destroyed by your immune system.

With type 2 diabetes, the answer is a little more complex. Though we know sugar doesnt directly cause type 2 diabetes, you are more likely to get it if you are overweight. You gain weight when you take in more calories than your body needs, and sugary foods and drinks contain a lot of calories.

So you can see if too much sugar is making you put on weight, then you are increasing your risk of getting type 2 diabetes. But type 2 diabetes is complex, and sugar is unlikely to be the only reason the condition develops.

We also know that sugar sweetened drinks, like canned soft drinks, are associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, and this is not necessarily linked to their effect on body weight.

Find out your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Sugar And Your Pancreas


The pancreas is responsible for releasing insulin in response to blood sugar spikes. If you eat sugary foods, your blood sugar spikes which trigger the pancreas to release insulin to bring the blood sugar back within normal ranges.

As with any other organ in the body, we can wear it out by not looking after it. The pancreas can only take so much sugar before going on strike or reducing the effectiveness of insulin receptors. This is when the body reduces insulin output and consequently type 2 diabetes is diagnosed.

One of my favorite analogies of an overworked pancreas is by David Zinczenko, who wrote in A letter from your pancreas, Its OHare Airport at Christmas down here! Sugar all over the place and Im pumping insulin like mad!

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Inflammation Throughout The Body

Sugar can cause inflammation throughout the body, which can lead to other health issues. Individuals with arthritis in particular may experience increased inflammation with highly processed sugar consumption, leading to increased pain. The inflammation can also affect the collagen and elastin that keeps your skin looking young and supple. Young, healthy skin generally repairs itself from damage caused by UV rays and other damaging factors to prevent premature aging. Sugar is different. It causes cross-links to form in amino acids near the skin, which interferes with the natural repair process. This could increase the appearance of premature aging in the skin through wrinkles or sagging.

Eat Foods That Support Blood Sugar

Low glycemic, high fiber foods along with protein and healthy fats can help stabilize blood sugar and increase satiety.

Low blood sugar can make you irritable and hangry. By focusing on meals and snacks rich in protein and fat, youll avoid blood sugar crashes. Consider fresh veggies and guacamole, hard-boiled eggs, almond butter or a handful of mixed nuts and seeds. Amino acids found in lean protein like turkey may support mood symptoms from sugar withdrawal.

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Sugar May Mess With Your Brains Signals

While its not exactly the same as the drugs of addiction, research has shown that sugar is as addictive as caffeine and nicotine, according to research published in Frontiers in Psychiatryand eating it may lead to cravings, an increased tolerance for sugary foods, and withdrawal if you stop. Energy-dense, sweet-tasting foods may lead to reinforcement of consuming those foods in a part of the brain called the limbic system, Dr. Saltzman says. In essence, we are training our brains to like and to want these sweet-tasting foods, and this may lead to increased consumption. Dr. Malik also says sugar may stimulate the pleasure centers of your brain, similar to the way drugs do. If youre fast becoming a glucose junkie, try these surprising ways to kick your sugar addiction.

Sugar Makes You Gain Weight

What Does Sugar Do To Your Body? 10 Proven Negative Effects of Sugar

Your body needs some sugar for energy, but the rest is stored as fat. Not shockingly, sugars relationship to weight gain affects your health. In a number of studies, added sugars have been associated with weight gain and obesity, which in turn leads to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, says Dr. Saltzman. Why this happens is complicated, but may have to do with low-grade inflammation caused by obesity as well as insulin resistance, he says. In addition, he points out, eating loads of added sugar has also been linked to increased waist circumferencebelly fat. Thats an independent risk factor for heart disease, says Dr. Malik.

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Due To Its Effects On Hormones And The Brain Sugar Has Unique Fat

Not all calories are created equal.

Different foods can have different effects on our brains and the hormones that control food intake .

Studies show that fructose doesnt have the same kind of effect on satiety as glucose.

In one study, people drank either a fructose-sweetened drink or a glucose-sweetened drink.

Afterwards, the fructose drinkers had much less activity in the satiety centres of the brain and felt hungrier .

There is also a study where fructose didnt lower the hunger hormone ghrelin nearly as much as glucose did .

Over time, because the calories from sugar arent as fulfilling, this can translate into an increased calorie intake.

Effects Of Sugar On The Body

The average American consumes 22 to 30 teaspoons of sugar each day, according to the American Heart Association. Thats an extra 350 to 480 calories each day in sugar and over three times the recommended daily amount. But the effects of sugar on the body go far beyond a simple increase in calorie consumption. Sugar consumption affects organs throughout the body, including the liver and heart. It increases your risk of disease. It can affect your thought processes. It even affects the appearance of your skin. Sugar messes with your functioning from head to toe from minor annoyances to life-threatening health conditions.

Educating yourself on the effects of sugar on your body is the first step to taking control of your sugar consumption.

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Tooth Decay And Sugar

Sugar is one of the main causes of tooth decay.

To prevent tooth decay, reduce the amount of food and drinks you have that contain free sugars such as sweets, chocolates, cakes, biscuits, sugary breakfast cereals, jams, honey, fruit smoothies and dried fruit and limit them to mealtimes.

The sugars found naturally in fruit and vegetables are less likely to cause tooth decay, because they’re contained within the structure.

But when fruit and vegetables are juiced or blended into a smoothie, the sugars are released. Once released, these sugars can damage teeth.

Limit the amount of fruit juice and smoothies you drink to a maximum of 150ml in total per day, and drink it with meals to reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Squashes sweetened with sugar, fizzy drinks, soft drinks and juice drinks have no place in a child’s daily diet.

If you’re looking after children, swap any sugary drinks for water, lower-fat milk or sugar-free drinks.

You’ll Get Fewer Cavities

This Infographic Shows What Eating Too Much Sugar Does to Your Body And ...

You’ve heard it since you were a kidsugar causes tooth decay. And studies have repeatedly proven it. The bacteria on your teeth metabolize sugar, producing an acid that takes minerals out of the enamel and can eventually create a hole. There’s evidence that consuming less than 50 grams daily of added sugar is associated with far fewer cavities. And if you eat under 25 grams the number drops even more dramatically.

Carolyn Williams, Ph.D., R.D., is author to the new cookbook, Meals That Heal: 100 Everyday Anti-Inflammatory Recipes in 30 Minutes or Less, and a culinary nutrition expert known for her ability to simplify food and nutrition information. She received a 2017 James Beard Journalism award. You can follow her on Instagram @realfoodreallife_rd or on

Some original reporting in EatingWell, September 2021.

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Added Sugar Contains No Essential Nutrients And Is Bad For Your Teeth

Youve probably heard this a million times before but its worth repeating.

Added sugars contain a whole bunch of calories with NO essential nutrients.

For this reason, they are called empty calories.

There are no proteins, essential fats, vitamins or minerals in sugar just pure energy.

When people eat up to 10-20% of calories as sugar , this can become a major problem and contribute to nutrient deficiencies.

Sugar is also very bad for the teeth, because it provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth .

Where Sugar Is Found In Your Diet

Sugar is found naturally in fruit, vegetables and dairy foods . Its also added to food and drink by food manufacturers, or by ourselves at home. These types of added sugars are called free sugars and they are also present in pure fruit juices, smoothies, syrups and honey. The debate about sugar and health is mainly around free sugars.

This includes:

  • table sugar that we add to our hot drinks or breakfast cereal
  • caster sugar, used in baking
  • sugars hidden in sauces, ready meals, cakes and drinks.
  • honey and syrups, like golden syrup or agave syrup
  • pure fruit juice

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If Youve Got It Really Bad Here Is Supplemental Support

  • 500 mg 1000mg of glutamine really helps some people. Break open the capsules and empty under your tongue, then swallow with water. This does not work for everyone.
  • certain minerals like chromium help arrest sugar cravingsyou can often find them in blood sugar balance blends with other herbs or nutrients to help stop sugar cravings. Examples are gymnema, alpha lipoic acid, and even cinnamon. Body Ecology Ancient Minerals is awesome.
  • Try this crave arrest to help balance brain chemicals that can cause cravings.
  • Have a cup of green tea. It may sound preposterous, but we sometimes mistake hunger or craving cues for thirst, and the minerals in green tea give you a boost. Minerals in general also help stop sugar cravings. Drink lots of green juicesvery high in minerals!
  • Have a protein snack using suggestions above. As I mentioned, when blood sugar is low, you actually need protein, not sugar.

Stick to dark chocolate it has health benefitsor truffles over hard candy, and bring treats that dont contain refined sugars to parties. Its ok to treat yourself every once in a while, and I often recommend sugar busting snacks in the afternoon, like coconut butter or coconut oil melted with almond butter and a bit of honey that can satisfy a craving. Remember that indulging in too much sugar every day will only make sugar cravings worse, so save the treats for parties and special occasions.

Giving Up Sugar 6 Amazing Health Benefits

How sugar affects the brain – Nicole Avena

Posted on June 8, 2018 by Site AdminNews & Updates

Icecream, soft drink, cake, biscuits and chocolate many of us experience a great deal of pleasure when we indulge in a sugary treat. Unfortunately however, research has shown that some of us are not just indulging occasionally, but basing much of our diet on foods containing sugar, particularly refined sugars that contain fructose.

Unlike other molecules we ingest that stimulate our appetite hormones, fructose goes undetected, which means we can eat a lot of refined sugar but we dont feel full. Much of the sugar we eat is also filled with empty kilojoules and lacks many of the important components we need for a health diet, including vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and healthy fats. But why is this an issue?

A diet high in refined sugars can lead to all sorts of health issues from lower immunity, digestive issues and obesity to more serious problems like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. However, all of these issues can be minimised by focussing on reducing your sugar intake or giving up sugar altogether! Here are six amazing health benefits.

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Where Is Sugar Hiding In Your Everyday Foods

We arent here to make you feel guilty for eating too much sugar every once in a while, nor are we here to make you feel guilty if you regularly eat too much sugar.

What we are here to do is to provide you with the tools you need to avoid the consumption of too much sugar, if that is your goal. The best ways to do that is to cut down on added sugars, and the best way to do that is to familiarize yourself with the many types of sugar and familiarize yourself with common foods that are high in added sugar.

Signs That Youre Suffering From Processed Sugar And Its Effects On Mental Health

The growing body of research on sugar and mental health makes it clear that the way processed and added sugars react in the body and brain is detrimental to mood and well-being. Have you been suffering from the consequences of what sugar does to your body? Here are five signs that your sugar intake may be negatively impacting your mental health.

  • You feel irritable, stressed, and on edge for no apparent reason.
  • Youre often fatigued and have low energy.
  • Cravings for sweets come over you on a daily basis.
  • Falling asleep and/or staying asleep are difficult.
  • Your focus, concentration, and mental clarity are poor.
  • These signs may also indicate a mental health issue unrelated to sugar, so its important to get a full mental health assessment if you are experiencing these symptoms.

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    Sugar May Lead To Fatty Liver Disease

    An unhealthy liver is just one of the many effects of sugar on the body, especially when its consumed in large amounts. Fructose is metabolized in the liver, and consuming too much can lead to the production of fat in the liver, which is another path to adverse metabolic health, Dr. Malik says. About 30 to 40 percent of adults in the U.S. have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and your risk factors include obesity, prediabetes, and high cholesterol. If youve gone on a sugar jag, you can try these 9 tricks to reverse a sugar binge.

    May Lower Your Risk Of Depression

    The Harmful Effects of Sugar On The Body And Reasons To Stop Drinking ...

    What we eat may affect how our brain functions, thus impacting our mood. For example, eating healthy diets that emphasize fish, whole grains, nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of depressive symptoms.15

    Several studies also suggest that sugary beverages are linked to a higher risk of depressive symptoms and depression. This may be because too much sugar can be addictive: When you eat it, your brain releases endorphins and dopaminehormones that make you feel good in the moment. Over time, this can impact your mood.15,16

    However, other studies have found no relationship between sugar intake and depression risk. More research is needed to examine how sugar can affect your mood.15,16

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