I often say that sugar does nothing for me except make me want more sugar.
If you can relate to that statement, this post is for you. I explain how sugar affects your body and brain to keep you locked into loving it.
The Sugar Trap – At-A-Glance
- Sugar is very refined, so it takes very little effort to get absorbed into your body.
- The rapid absorption of sugar is why it can raise your blood glucose level so quickly.
- Sugar gives you an instant energy boost, but it is quickly followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar which causes cravings for more sugary foods.
- Sugar also has a negative effect on your brain chemistry and tastebuds.
The Sugar Trap – How Sugar Keeps You Locked Into Loving It [Video]
Sugar plays a role in many chronic diseases.
However, in this video, I focus on how it changes your blood sugar, brain chemistry, and taste buds and how those changes keep you coming back for more.
The Life of Sugar Cane
Sugar started its life as a plant. Typical sources include sugar cane and sugar beets.
When it comes to the grocery store, it no longer looks like a plant because it has been highly refined.
This means that any part of the plant that would spoil was removed, which is one of the reasons that sugar has a very long shelf life.
There is literally nothing left to rot.
Why is Sugar So Bad For You?
Sugar is in its most basic form, so it takes very little effort to get absorbed into your body.
The rapid absorption of sugar is why it can raise your blood glucose level so quickly.
You can have a normal blood sugar reading in the morning of 85 mg/dl, consume one tablespoon of sugar in your coffee, and within an hour have a blood sugar jump of 53 mg. That is a more than a 60 percent increase.
I know this because I did this experiment on myself. You can watch the video where I share what happened here.
Sugar is Energy
Sugar is energy.
Since it gets into your system so quickly, sugar does give you an instant energy boost.
However, that feeling is temporary and quickly followed by a sharp drop in blood sugar as it rapidly gets burned up or moved to storage with the help of insulin.
This is what we refer to as a sugar crash, and it is an uncomfortable state to be in.
We soon find ourselves in a loop where in order to feel “right,” we need to keep eating sugar or sugary treats.
Your Brain on Sugar
Sugar also affects your brain chemistry.
Specifically, sugar causes the release of a chemical called dopamine in a part of your brain known as the reward center.
If you’ve seen a little child’s eyes light up after eating sugar, that expression of sheer joy is due to this brain chemistry change.
The trap is that as you continue to feed that child more sugar, their brain adapts and releases less dopamine.
So, whereas that first bite of cake may have at one time filled you with euphoria, it now takes an entire piece of cake with extra frosting to get that same pleasurable feeling.
Sugar Dulls Taste
Not only does your brain chemistry desensitize to sugar, but so do your taste buds.
In my video, Can You Lose Your Taste for Sugar, I share research that shows that a high-sugar diet deadens your taste buds to sugar, so you need more of it to taste the sweetness.
That means that naturally sweet things like fruit, nuts, and seeds do not taste as sweet to someone who is hooked on sugar as they do to someone who has broken their sugar addiction.
Breaking Free From Sugar Addiction
And breaking free from sugar is something you can do…and a big part of accomplishing that goal is to add the right foods to your diet as you subtract the sugar. Adding before Subtracting is one of my 3 Baby Steps to Quit Sugar.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.