3 Ways Sugar Affects Your Mind and Body
We’ve all heard people say it and even said it ourselves. “Oh, I shouldn’t eat that. I’m trying to be good.”
This implies that avoiding sugar is not something we really want to do, but something we should do.
We all know general reasons to avoid sugar like it makes you gain weight and it’s bad for your skin. But those reasons can seem distant and insignificant when you’re in a moment of temptation.
Next time you’re struggling over whether to grab that pie server, remember these 3 ways sugar affects your mind and body in big, immediate ways – you’ll WANT to avoid it!
Focus is effected in two ways. Sugar can be distracting as we’ll keep thinking about our next fix, when we really need to be focusing on the task at hand. We can literally be addicted to sugar and it makes us less able to concentrate and less productive overall.
Also, you may have noticed that after you give in to a sugary snack, you might feel a bit “spacey” or “foggy”. You’re not imagining things. This study says that sugar can actually affect how well we process ideas and interact with our environment.
Our nerve cells are inhibited by the free radicals sugar produces in our cranial membrane. It’s almost like the feeling of being drunk; we have trouble focusing.
Here are some great ideas for snacks that won’t leave you feeling like a space cadet:
- 1/2 cup beans
- 1/2 cup lentils
- 14 almonds
Just as sugar can affect how well you process information, it can also impact how well you pull up stored information later on. Eating a lot of sugar has been linked to faulty short term memory and even to Alzheimer’s disease.
Though the risk of Alzheimer’s down the road may be more eventual, like gaining weight, it’s certainly a lot scarier! There’s a huge difference between filling in around your waistline and experiencing mental deterioration.
Here are a few foods that can do just the opposite, and have been linked to better cognitive function and memory retention:
- Minimally processed oils (olive, coconut)
- Sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts
- Fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna)
- Avocados (both Omega 3s and vitamin E)
- Dark Leafy Greens (Kale, spinach, broccoli, collards,)
- Low Sugar Berries (blueberries, strawberries, acai berries)
3. Emotional and Mental Balance
When we eat sugar, our dopamine receptors are triggered because it’s a pleasurable experience. There’s nothing wrong with this, except that the intensity and the type of pleasure we get from a sugar rush is actually similar to taking drugs.
That kind of addictive and compulsive behavior leads to mood swings, irrational behavior and even feeling physically drained as your body tries balance out insulin levels in your bloodstream.
So by eating sugar you’re feeding your dependence on it, taxing your body’s ability to function as well as it should, and making yourself feel crazy and miserable.
Hardly seems worth it in the end.
That’s not to say that you can’t ever indulge in something sweet now and again, just that it’s best to limit how much you enjoy and try to go for low-sugar fruits instead of highly refined white sugars.
Try having these low-sugar and stress-reducing treats on hand to help you through those moments when your sweet tooth starts to ache.