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James Wagner, DC
Five Negative Effects Of Sugar On Your Brain
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Five Negative Effects Of Sugar On Your Brain

The brain does require a certain amount of sugar to function properly, this type is known as glucose and is found naturally in foods like fruits and grains. It’s fructose, sugar that’s added to processed foods and beverages, which can have long-term negative effects on the brain:

1. Causes Cravings and Addiction – Sugar addiction is a real and growing concern for a large majority of the world’s population. But how exactly does this happen? When a person consumes sugar, the tongue’s taste buds become activated and send signals to the brain, “lighting up reward pathways and causing a surge of feel-good hormones, like dopamine, to be released.”

2. Impairs Memory and Learning Skills – People who consume too much fructose – otherwise known as added sugar – produce less of the chemical brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), some call it Miracle Grow™ for the brain. As BDNF assists the brain with learning and the formation of new memories, without a sufficient amount of it we can’t learn (or remember) much of anything.

3. Contributes to Depression – Consuming too much added sugar can have major impacts on your mood and mental health. One example of this is what’s commonly referred to as a ‘sugar crash,’ where the body’s blood sugar spikes upon consumption of a sugar-rich snack or beverage, and then plummets soon after, leaving you feeling anxious, moody or depressed. Over-consumption of fructose can also mess with the neurotransmitters that help keep our moods stable.

4. Linked to Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease – Overconsumption of sugar causes the body to produce less BDNF, which, among other things, helps with memory formation. Forbes says “It’s possible that low BDNF may turn out to be the smoking gun in these and other diseases, like Alzheimer’s.” Although more research about this connection is still being conducted, the source says that “what seems clear in any case is that a reduced level of BDNF is bad news for our brains, and chronic sugar consumption is one of the worst inhibitory culprits.”

5. Inhibits “Overeating” Sensor from Working – It’s recently been discovered that “chronic consumption numbs the brain’s anorexigenic oxytocin system, the sensor that prevents overeating.” With this crucial sensor disabled – on an almost-permanent basis in some individuals – our brain doesn’t release hormones to signal that we’re full, resulting in excessive overeating, thus perpetuating the problem even further.

The problem is that we aren’t meant to consume sugars in such concentrated amounts. In nature, sugar is found surrounded by fiber, in sugar cane and fruits. It naturally comes in a container that produces a shorter blood sugar response and aids in fullness. Today’s sugars are refined and concentrated.

The good news is that we can adapt our taste buds to accept less sugar. Reducing sugar makes less sweet foods seem sweeter. Small changes add up over time, you can start now by just using less sugar.

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