Effects of Sugar on the brain: How it Affects Your Long-Term Health
Posted by Dr. Elsa Stokes on
Sugar Rush: What Are The Effects Of Sugar On The Brain? When you consume something sweet, it causes many different actions within of you. Your tongue sends out signals to your brain as to what you're tasting. Your brain and your gut work hand in hand, with sugar stimulating your pleasure center, and dopamine boosting your excitement center. All this makes you feel good and makes what you just did (eating something sweet) so much better.
But what are the long-term effects of sugar on the brain? Do they encourage the development of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in children? Could have a sweet tooth encourage heart disease and/or hypertension? Does it affect your long-term memory? And what about your moods? There's a lot to learn here, but we'll start with a little bit of a science lesson...
How does the consumption of sugary substances on the brain relate to our behavior? Well, the brain is essentially a power plant; it uses all sorts of chemicals and electrical activities to make decisions, control behavior, and keep us alive. It's when these chemical reactions that go awry that you start to see the effects of sugar on the brain - if you eat a lot, you have a constant source of" neurotransmitters" flowing through your body, affecting your mood and appetite levels, and regulating your sleeping habits and stress levels.
In fact, when your diet is lacking in essential nutrients, your mood is negatively affected, your appetite becomes more powerful, and you can develop serious medical problems. We all know the symptoms of poor nutrition: fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in everyday activities, weight gain, dehydration, lack of concentration, depression, and so on. But did you know that one of the most powerful effects of sugar on the brain is a craving for it! That's right, if you don't get your sugary "reward" in the form of a treat, you'll eventually develop a "crash" where you crave sweets - and weight gain ensues!
You might be wondering, why would this affect your long-term health? Well, the reason is pretty straightforward. As mentioned above, sugar is a chemical, and anything chemically constructed must behave in a specific manner. If there are any unnatural chemicals, or if they are arranged in a way that they cannot behave naturally, they will become problematic. Sugar, like all other things in our modern world, is unnatural, and therefore, it has all sorts of different effects on the body which are intended to either help us or hurt us.
That said, what does this mean for you? Well, if you consume a lot of sugary foods, then your brain won't be getting enough glucose, resulting in mood swings, fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in everyday activities, depression, and so on. The long-term health consequences of this could range from minor annoyances (such as feeling constantly tired and run down) to serious issues (such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and so on). The more sugary foods you eat, the more the brain gets "hit" and the more it craves the sugar high. Sugar addiction is very real and can be very damaging to your long-term health.
The good news is that this sugar addiction is treatable, and most people who suffer from sugar addiction will never develop long-term health issues as a result. But it's important that we start treating ourselves from the early stages: for instance, cutting out all sweets (including those that are artificially sweetened), and reducing the amount of food and drinks that contain sugar. If you feel hungry often, try and go for smaller meals more often. This should help to reduce the cravings for sugar, and should help you to start getting back into a healthy diet.
If you want to cut out as much sugar as possible and protect your long-term health, you should look at products that have natural sugars instead. These include fruits and vegetables. And you should definitely try to limit processed food as much as possible, you should improve your long-term health and cut down on the effects of sugar on the brain.