I am so excited to have my first guest blogger, Alysha. She wrote about a topic I feel passionate about- the perils of refined sugar! While I am aware it does damage to your gut, I learned a lot more of its harmful effects from her post. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Check out her bio at the end of the post and leave a comment!
You’ve likely heard that sugar is bad for you but do you have any idea why? So often we hear things through the media or online, however, we never seem to get the whole story. If you’re thinking about making a dietary change and avoiding refined sugar, you’d better understand why you’re doing it if you’re going to stick with it!
Maybe you’re thinking you don’t eat that much sugar because you don’t fill your face with chocolate and candy every day. Unfortunately, it’s in everything nowadays and you can hardly avoid it when buying prepackaged food at the grocery store.
All this excess sugar can have a serious impact on your health and could be the cause of your health problems. In many cases, people have seen drastic improvement just by cutting back on the refined sugars in their diet. To give you a better idea of some health problems it can cause, here’s a list of five!
1. Increased Blood Pressure
You’ve probably heard about blood pressure being related to salt consumption, but did you know it’s not the only white stuff that contributes to it? It has been found that sugar may, in fact, be worse than salt when it comes to increasing your blood pressure!
To give you a better idea of why without boring you with scientific facts, it’s largely to do with the response your body has to high carbohydrate and processed foods. These foods are packed with sugar and they cause your body to produce more insulin and leptin which in turn causes your blood pressure to rise.
There are other factors that play into this but that gives you a general idea of what happens. If this continues for the long term you may not only be faced with high blood pressure but the issue of being leptin or insulin resistant.
2. Insulin Resistance
If you’re confused by this one, it basically means you could develop type 2 diabetes. There are a few factors that can contribute to diabetes and a diet high in refined sugars is one of them.
As you know from the blood pressure discussion, sugar causes the body to produce more insulin. If levels of insulin are consistently high, the cells in your body start to build up a resistance and with time stop accepting insulin. When your body stops absorbing it, your brain tells the pancreas not to produce any longer.
The severity of the resistance depends on how long it goes on before being discovered. Some people catch it early enough to make changes in their diet and live a relatively normal life. For others, the damage has been done and their pancreas won’t ever produce enough insulin again. Once this happens insulin injections are required daily for the rest of that person’s life.
3. Effects on Mental Health
You can significantly impact your mental health by eating a diet high in sugar. There’s research that links it to worse outcomes for people with schizophrenia! Can you believe that? It’s incredible what damage it can cause.
Not only this but too much sugar puts people at a higher risk for depression. The usual response to feeling down is grabbing a sweet treat to make you feel better. Now that you know it may have been the culprit of why you feel that way, it may be time to change those snacks up.
Sugar is so powerful that it can suppress the hormone BDNF, which is already low in individuals with depression and schizophrenia. Increasing this hormone is essential in healing these conditions, meaning continued consumption of sugar will only prolong the healing process.
4. Increased RISK OF Heart Disease
Yes, you read that right…it may contribute to heart disease. There’s no hard and fast rules on exactly how much excess will increase your chances of heart disease, but the connection is there.
The sad part about it is that you can’t make up for it by eating more fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t matter how healthy the rest of your diet is if you’re eating too much sugar, you’re still at risk.
The reasons aren’t exactly clear as to why but it’s likely related to the fact that sugar causes increased blood pressure and has negative effects on the liver. Both of these factors are related to raising the risk of heart disease.
5. Impacts on Memory
Would you believe sugar can affect how well your memory performs? It’s true, what you eat can have you contributing to the decline of your memory.
A study done by the University of California Los Angeles shows the impact of sugar using rats in a maze. It observed them for a period of six weeks during which time they were given a fructose solution. By the end, they had started forgetting how to make their way to the end of the maze!
It’s scary to think that something so widely consumed can even impact how well we think. So, if you’ve been having trouble remembering things and nothing else seems to be the cause, it may be time to examine your sugar intake.
So the next time you start wondering just how much damage sugar can do, you have some insight. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you’ve been eating a diet packed with sugar. You’re not alone, it’s extremely common!
If all this information has you wanting to make a change you can work towards cutting it out, you don’t have to suddenly change everything overnight. Give yourself small goals to achieve and get your body and mind used to the change. Before you know it you won’t even miss all that sugar!
Alysha Hoogestraat is a freelance writer for hire, residing in BC, Canada. She specializes in writing blog content that’s easy to follow and fits in naturally with your vision and branding. When she isn’t writing you’ll find her sprinting after her trouble maker toddler son. To learn more you can find her at alyshahoogestraat.com.