5+ Ways of How Sugar Affects the Body

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Find out more about how sugar affects the body in this podcast.Ever wonder if that donut is as harmless as it looks? An occasional treat won’t hurt you, but a daily habit might do more harm than just add a few pounds. Find out more about how sugar affects the body in this podcast.

How Sugar Affects the Body

You May Gain Weight

One way of how sugar affects the body is by adding extra pounds. There are two ways that this happens. First, it triggers the reward center in your brain. Sweet things make us feel good, which then turns on our desire to want more so we continue to feel good. This cycle continues even when we’re full and not hungry anymore, causing us to eat more than we need. The second way that it causes us to gain weight is through the liver. When the liver processes excess sugar, the extra glucose is converted into fat molecules for storage. So, eating fat doesn’t make you fat. In fact, it is the extra unused sugar and carbohydrates that taste so good that make you fat.

It Can Increase Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

While sugar is not the only culprit for type 2 diabetes, it is certainly another way of how sugar affects the body.  High amounts of sugar that break down quickly flood the bloodstream with glucose. Your cells need insulin in order to use the glucose. But, if the cells are constantly stimulated by insulin, they develop a tolerance for it and become unaffected by it. Then, your body needs to release more and more insulin to move the glucose into the cells. This continues until you become so insulin resistant that you develop type 2 diabetes. In addition to insulin resistance throughout the body, there is another way of how sugar affects the body. The high sugar intake leads to insulin resistance in the brain as well, leading to cognitive decline. In fact, people with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to develop dementia, which is why Alzheimer’s is now considered type 3 diabetes.

It Can Overload Your Liver (Fatty Liver)

As mentioned above, your liver processes all that excess glucose and converts it into fat. But, your liver can only metabolize so much of it at one time. The liver turns the excess glucose and fructose into fat that can accumulate not just in your midsection and thighs but in the liver, causing liver damage. Sometimes it can even lead to scarring and eventual cutting off of the liver’s blood supply, which means you need a transplant. It is important to note that the amount of fructose needed to overload your liver is only possible with an excessive amount of added sugar, so fructose found in fruit is likely not nearly enough to cause this.

How Sugar Affects the Body in Mind and Mood

If you are someone who suffers from mood swings or mental health issues, you might notice that they become worse when you consume a lot of sugar. Sugar causes a short-term boost of energy that leads to a much longer sugar crash. This in turn can make it harder when dealing with mental health issues like depression. This is because another way of how sugar affects the body is that it messes with your ability to produce serotonin by using up its vitamin pre-cursors and altering gut flora. In addition, too much sugar can also cause severe mood swings and irritability. Sugar also alters our ability to resist temptation, making it hard to control impulsive behavior and delay gratification. Research shows that a high sugar diet can impair memory function and cause inflammation in the brain.

Learn about more ways of how sugar can affect the body by listening to the podcast!

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