What sugar can do to our bodies…
In 1822, the average American consumed about 45 grams of sugar every five days, which is the amount that’s found in just one modern-day soft drink.Today that number has climbed all the way to 765 grams every five days. We’re now consuming the amount of sugar in seven hours that our forefathers consumed in a span of five days. We’ve turned this formerly sweet splurge into a dietary staple. But what if we were to take about 20 teaspoon-sized steps back? We asked the experts what would happen to our bodies and our minds if we cut back on the spoonsful of sugar.
Glow like Beyonce Glycation is the effect of sugar molecules on your body’s cells. And the same cells that make you look younger, plumper, and glowy are the ones that are most susceptible. According to Elle, “…when those proteins hook up with renegade sugars, they become discolored, weak, and less supple; this shows up on the skin’s surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance.” Dr. Harold Lancer, dermatologist to Kim Kardashian and Beyonce, says if we cut out the ice cream, sugary cereal and even large amounts of fruit, people can see changes within as little as 72 to 96 hours. He told The Cut: “They’ll feel better, their color will look better, their skin won’t be so oily and they won’t be so dry.” Bye bye blackheads Beyonce’s dermatologist also said sugar may be the culprit behind ugly breakouts, since it has the ability to weaken the immune system.
A weak immune system can’t fight off bacteria, and bacteria clogs pores. Clogged pores cause pimples. Sugar can also increase your testosterone levels. In addition to flabby bellies and decreased sex drive, high testosterone translates into bigger, oilier pores. Get your mojo back A 2007 study from the Child & Family Research Institute found that excessive amounts of sugar can turn off the gene that controls the levels of estrogen and testosterone in your body. This gene is aptly named the Sex Hormone Binding Globulin, or SHBG for short. Remember those testosterone problems? Too little SHBG and your body releases extra testosterone and estrogen, which can lead to infertility, polycystic ovaries, and uterine cancers. If there’s too much of it, it still disrupts the balance, which could lead to cardiovascular disease in women. Losing the love handles Not only does a lack of donuts and cupcakes get rid of empty calories, but cutting out the sugary snacks helps with insulin release. Insulin is used to communicate with our fat cells. When insulin levels are sky-high, it will tell our cells to store fat and avoid burning more. From here, the body can’t access the stored fat.
Which it interprets to mean, “I’m hungry!” The effects are cyclical, and the more processed sugar you eat, the more processed sugar you want. All the while, your body is storing fat, not burning it, and wondering, “When am I going to get my next meal?” Cut down the sugar, and you might just see your waistline go down too. Brain power Fructose hits the brain with a temporary high like a drug. But animal research is now suggesting that repeated sugar hits leads to a need for more sugar to keep that fantastic high going. “There’s some secret ingredient in these Energy Bars that makes me feel so good!” “Sugar. It’s a block of sugar.” Researchers at UCLA also found that a diet high in sugar can affect your ability to learn new things and remember old ones. They saw that rats who ate too much sugar had impaired communication between brain cells.
Last but not least, elevated blood sugar levels can cause inflammation in the body, which can also lead to brain degeneration, and ultimately, diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Addictive tendencies, learning impairment, and memory loss? Not sure those cookies are as sweet as they look. Take the edge off Sugar is often seen as a solution for high stress situations. But the classic, rebellious pint of ice cream may actually hurt more than it helps. According to Psychology Today, sugar is a catalyst for making anxiety worse. It can cause symptoms that mirror an anxiety attack such as blurry vision, fuzzy head, fatigue, and shaking. The symptoms cause more worry and fear, creating a vicious cycle. In 2008, a study in Physiology & Behavior found that rats given an excess of sugar, and then deprived of food, showed a dopamine imbalance which resulted in increased anxiety.
The following year, another study in the same publication found that consuming sugar in the long term reduces the ability to fight anxiety. That delicious ice cream cone may soothe the soul, but too much of it may actually send you over the edge. A world with no sugar? Before we go cleaning our cabinets of all things sweet, or ban birthday cakes from our kids, let’s keep a little perspective. The sugar we’ve talked about is largely from processed foods like sport drinks, breakfast cereals, and snacks that are marketed to be healthy, like low-fat yogurts and protein bars. That still leaves plenty of room for more natural forms of sugar, like berries, sweet potatoes, dark chocolate, and even homemade baked goods sweetened with things like honey. We need sugar in our diet. It gives us energy. The problem is our approach to eating it. Just like anything else, too much of anything is a bad thing. 765 grams? Come on, America! Scale it back to more reasonable sugar levels, circa 1822, and you might find the picture perfect sweet spot that your body loves.