How Sugar Effects Your Brain

overweightBy now nearly everyone has heard that sugar is something that should be limited as much as possible, but it bears repeating and more and more recent research is confirming that it has drug-like effects on the brain and sets us up for obesity, brain-related health issues, such as depression, learning disorders and memory problems. In fact, this non-drug addiction manifests in many of the same symptoms as drug addictions, including impaired control over behavior, tolerance (of the substance), withdrawal and high rates of relapse.

Medical research, using MRI studies of the brain, has been able to confirm that, when you consume sugar, your brain receives a dopamine signal from which we experience pleasure, however, the more you consume and the longer the exposure, the weaker the signal becomes. So you have to consume more to get the same effect, you become tolerant. This is even more harmful in people who suffer from depression, because their dopamine levels are already lower than normal.

Another process in the body disrupted by sugar is the very complicated balance of insulin. It is now becoming increasingly clear that this effects the brain’s function and long-term, leading to diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

There is much confusion in many peoples’ minds about the difference between glucose vs. fructose. Which is better? First of all, both are best banned from your diet.  To sum it up:

Fructose is found in fruit, yes, but actually a much more worrisome form of fructose is found in many of commonly consumed processed foods: High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). It is found in many sodas, but is also hidden in many of our condiments, like ketchup, baked goods, juices, etc. Recent studies have found that it contributes to holes in your intestinal lining, known as leaky gut syndrome, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, cancer, gout, heart disease, etc.

Glucose on the other hand, is produced from the carbohydrates we eat, such as bread, rice, vegetables, cane sugar, etc. It effects the body by raising insulin levels, just like fructose, however it does not disrupt the regulation of appetite, motivation and reward processing like fructose. In other words, it appears to be the lesser of the 2 evils in the fight against above mentioned health problems.

What else can you do, besides avoiding fructose and glucose? Increase consumption of healthy fats, like avocado, coconut oil, free-range eggs, organic butter, etc., drink pure water, and include fermented foods, such as organic yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, etc.!!! And read labels! You are in control of what goes into your body, so make use of it!

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