Sugar: The Not So Sweet Truth

by Allison

It’s in your fruit, bread, soda and cake. Too much of this and you can affect your brain, skin and cells. What is this? Sugar. I recently came across an article by Psychology Today stating how we are eating too much added sugar in our diet and how it affects our brain functions. When you consume added sugar a brain chemical called BDNF increases so we cannot form new memories, learn or remember. Also if you have high BDNF, your insulin starts resisting, potentially leading to type 2-diabetes[1]. Having low levels of BDNF has also been linked to depression and dementia. Lastly, the article explored sugar’s role in over-eating. Besides the fact that sugar has a lot of calories, it also dulls the brain’s mechanism for telling you to stop eating. This causes eating when your body is already full. So this got me thinking about where is the bad sugar and where is the good.

Meanwhile, all of that said, sugar is still important to the body. It is necessary to have a healthy amount of natural sugar because brain cells require twice the amount of energy compared to other cells. These cells get their energy from glucose (blood sugar), which gives our brains energy.

The Bad

Unfortunately we are getting most of our sugar from packaged products, baked goods, soda, candy and processed foods. It is sugar from these types of foods that are raising BDNF. Food already has enough natural sugar but the add sugar is harming our bodies and creating health problems.

The Good

Meanwhile there are many healthy ways to make sure we’re getting the sugar our body needs, such as: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, honey and yogurt. Why is this type of sugar better? All of the aforementioned come with vitamins and minerals as well as other added health benefits. Additionally, all of these foods are all-natural and do not have preservatives or other additives.

Changing our diet can really help move away from the over consumption of sugar and can create a healthier you! Buy more organic fruits and vegetables. Pick whole or ancient grain instead of white bread or pastas, and instead of a candy bar for a snack eat a yogurt. It may be hard at first because of sugars addictive qualities but in the end you will feel and be healthier!

[1] David Disalvo, “What Eating Too Much Sugar Does to Your Brain,” Psychology Today (2012): accessed September 19, 2012.


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