The short answer, yes! Sugar, when consumed in excess and not in it’s natural form (think refined & processed), can wreak havoc on your body causing you to feel lousy, gain weight, hold on to fat cells, and lowers your immune system – making you more susceptible to diseases and infections. Some researchers even say that sugar should be compared to other addicting drugs like alcohol or heroine Don’t get me wrong, I have a major sweet tooth, but over the last few years I have learned healthier ways to manage my sweet cravings and keep my blood sugar levels stable by choosing natural sugar sources such as fruit, dark chocolate and complex carbohydrates.
What happens in your body when you consume too much sugar?
The moment a sugary snack or dessert is consumed your body kicks into overdrive. Once the high amount of sugar hits your bloodstream your body begins to work extremely hard to clear the excess sugar and get you back down to a safer level. Because your body can’t clear all the sugar and use it for energy, the extra glucose will be stored as fat for later use. The problem lies for people who have a high-sugar diet, that “extra” sugar that was stored in your fat cells never gets used … ultimately causing you to gain weight or have difficulty loosing it. After the excess sugar is cleared from your bloodstream and your insulin level comes back down your body will experience a “sugar crash.” The extreme change in your blood sugar levels leaves you dazed, tired, cranky and hungry for another sugary pick me up. Even though you just ate, your body will trick you into thinking it is hungry and will leave you craving more sugary snacks and desserts. Thus the vicious cycle begins again.
Does what I described above sound familiar? How do you feel after you eat a sugar filled snack or dessert?
Besides the issue of gaining weight from having a diet (lifestyle) high in sugar, it can also have even worse health effects on your body. Check your labels and be weary of crackers, soups, yogurts, snack and prepacked foods that can be loaded with hidden sugar. Manufactures will chuck in cheap processed sugar ( sucrose, fructose and high fructose corn syrup) to make things taste better. These refined sugars are broken down in the liver, unlike glucose which is slowly released from complex carbohydrates when digested. The strain that is put on the liver when refined sugar is broken down can result in liver disease and can trigger the development of type 2 diabetes.
Reasons Sugar Can Be Toxic To Your Body
- Raises acidity levels in your body ( causing you to break out, acne)
- Lowers your immune system making it harder to fight off infections
- After eating it, your body is tricked into thinking you are hungry again
- Is addictive and creates sometimes uncontrollable cravings
- Creates inflammation and joint pain
- Can cause obesity ( the average American consumes 150 lbs of sugar yearly, contributing to the high obesity rates in the U.S.)
- Linked to ADHD and Depresson ( also causes anxiety)
- Can cause insulin resistance, a precursor for Type 2 Diabetes
- Causes heart disease
- Makes you fat
So as you can see, sugar isn’t so “sweet” after all. Try to stick to all natural foods that have the good healthy sugar, eating fruit or dark chocolate are sure ways to avoid the sugar pitfall that so many of us have experienced. I have definitely experienced the sugar trap and still struggle occasionally with it. Once I eat a processed, chocolaty and gooey dessert my body immediately craves more. It is insane how addicting sugar can be. But over the years I have asked myself, how do I feel after I eat that oh-so tempting dessert. Most of the time I get a “brain fog”, am tired, feel cranky, bloated and only want to consume more in hopes I will stop feeling that way, which never works. So now when I crave something sweet I try to think about how it will make me feel after I eat it, which usually helps me make a healthier choice or choose to indulge in only a small portion.
My new approach to adding something sweet to my life is trying to stick to treats that won’t leave my blood sugar levels soaring. I will eat fruit with yogurt, have dark chocolate or make a healthier dessert alternative. Recently I have been really into making my own desserts (trying to avoid prepackaged) and filling them with wholesome ingredients. Check out recipes from Chocolate Covered Katie for some delicious, satisfying and healthier options for that sweet tooth. And no, I am not perfect! I eat cookies and cake too! Especially if I am at a family party or a get together with friends. I just try to keep in in moderation and make sure I don’t over due it and get sucked into the “sugar pitfall.” I also make sure to fill my stomach with protein and healthy green veggies before consuming a sugary treat to offset effects of sugar on my body and slow down it’s absorption into my bloodstream.
For healthy ways and tips to kick those sugar cravings check out the top 20 ways to get sugar our of your life. If you have a sweet tooth like me and want to still indulge occasionally check out these 5 foods that can help balance your blood sugar.
I believe in moderation and savoring those occasional sweet treats without overdoing it. Just remember to stay away from processed and refined sugar and instead seek out foods with natural sugars or make a sweet dessert with wholesome ingredients. For more helpful tips on staying on track with your healthy habits, read this article to find out how to find satisfaction in just one bite.