What Are The Negative Effects of Sugar On The Brain?
Too much sugar in your diet can be detrimental to your health. It can eventually lead to diabetes, coronary artery diseases, high blood cholesterol, and many more health issues.
Keep in mind that high blood sugar levels can also hurt the brain. Unfortunately, not a lot of people are aware of these negative impacts and continue to consume lots of sugary foods and processed foods (which are often high in sugar content).
Below, we provide insights into the adverse effects of sugar on the central nervous system. Once you are aware of these issues, it will be easier to understand why it’s essential to decrease sugar intake. At Vivolor™ Therapeutics, we care about brain health and improving your memory. We do brain health training, and our Vivolor Memory Support is the most powerful brain supplement available with 5-20 times the supplementation of other brain boosters. Here’s our guide to the negative effects of sugar on the brain.
1. Triggers The Reward System
Any food with high-glycemic-index can trigger the reward system of the brain. When that happens, the body tries to achieve the pleasurable outcome as much as possible. With that in mind, if you consume too much sugary food, the body will continue to crave more. As time goes by, you will consume more sugary food to satisfy the body’s increasing demand. This is a never-ending cycle, where eating sugar makes you want more sugar.
The reward mechanism of the brain can push you towards a sugar addiction. At the same time, the more sugar you consume, the more tolerance that your body develops. That means a higher dosage of sugar is required to trigger the same pleasurable effect that you would previously get with a smaller amount of sugar.
When that happens, you will eventually obtain a sugar addiction where every waking moment requires a trip to the candy store. Therefore, consumption of sugar not only triggers the reward system in your brain but also leads to a build-up of tolerance that requires a higher sugar level to satisfy the craving, which in turn leads to severe addiction.
3. Reduced Memory
Sugar intake has a detrimental effect on your focus and memory. Sugar reduces cognitive function, making you sluggish and fatigued.
When you consume sugary food regularly, it results in inflammation of the brain structures. This damage can impact particular regions of the brain the most, and thus can affect memory function.
Since the frontal cortex of the brain is also affected, this reduces attention span, focus, and concentration. This effect can be problematic for people diagnosed with ADHD or for anyone with a tight deadline.
Luckily if you stop or cut down sugar consumption, it can also reduce the inflammatory process in the brain. Thereby, restoring your memory function and attention span. It is one of the prime reasons why doctors often advise people to cut back on sweets.
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4. Negative Impact On Mood
Elevated blood glucose levels can lead to anxiety and depression. Since high sugar or glucose levels cause inflammation of the brain, they can also hinder chemical signals (or neurotransmitters) of the brain. This mechanism of action can ultimately decrease serotonin levels, resulting in depression and other mental illnesses.
High sugar levels can also lead to mood swings. It’s like a roller coaster ride, where you experience a significant amount of energy right after eating sugar, but later on, your blood sugar levels crash to levels lower than when you ate the sugar. These swings in blood sugar level and energy/mood can exacerbate bipolar disorder and cause severe distraction and fatigue.
5. Detrimental to Cognitive Power
One of the most harmful impacts of sugar is on the blood vessels. High sugar levels can damage blood vessels and nerves, leading to neuropathy. Neuropathy can result in numbing, tingling, burning, and pain sensation anywhere in the body. The brain has many blood vessels and nerves, and a high sugar diet can actually cause damage to the brain.
For example, chronic diabetes often results in damage to the brain, which can reduce the individual’s cognitive functions. When that happens, reflexes and memory power can be decreased. If exposure to high glucose levels continues, it can ultimately lead to shrinkage of the brain. Alzheimer’s is actually referred to as diabetes 3 or diabetes of the brain in the scientific literature because Alzheimer’s has so many similarities to adult-onset diabetes (type 2 diabetes). Diabetics have higher rates of memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Reduced learning power
In this modern-day era, it is essential to learn new skills, continuously improve yourself, and keep up with ever-changing trends.
When you consume excessive quantities of sweets regularly, it can destroy your attention and concentration. When learning any new skill, you need lots of focus to pay attention for an extended period. Since sugar dissolves that ability, it can affect how you learn new concepts and skills.
Sugar also reduces cognitive activity in your brain. That means, even if you can pay attention, it won’t be easy to absorb what you have learned. Your reflexes can be too slow then, making it difficult to master any skill set.
7. Increased stress
The brain controls the response of your body when it comes to stress and anxiety. If you suddenly increase sugar intake, your blood glucose level will spike up, but afterward, it will fall drastically. This fluctuation will cause the brain to go into overdrive to try and compensate for the blood sugar levels. It does so by releasing stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine, or norepinephrine leading to symptoms like irritation, shaking, anxiety, and much more.
These are some of the adverse effects of sugar on the central nervous system. Our society is starting to recognize these harmful effects, but much more education is needed. After all, the first step in battling sugar addiction is knowing that you have a problem, and knowing that sugar is bad for your overall health and your brain health. If high sugar intake continues, accumulated levels can cause damage to the body, brain, and mental health.
The solution is pretty simple. It would be best to cut down on sweets and emphasize a diet filled with leafy green vegetables, fiber, protein, fruit, healthy fish, and lean meat. If you have a sweet tooth, then check out some alternatives like fruit.
Fruit is high in sugar as well, but these are natural sugars that are less harmful than high fructose corn syrup and other processed sugars. With that in mind, daily consumption of natural, raw vegetables and fruit can improve your cognitive function, provide an excellent source of energy, and replenish your body with adequate nutrients. Natural fruit and vegetables are less likely to lead to sugar spikes and crashes, so your focus and concentration can continue for hours.
It may be challenging to eradicate sugar from your life, but with enough discipline and patience, you will witness a phenomenal improvement in brain function, and will likely feel better too.
We hope this article helps you recognize the adverse effects of sugar on the brain and motivates you to eat healthy and provide good fuel for your body and brain. Your car would not run well if you fed it sugar instead of gasoline. Your body is also not designed to run on sugar. If you’re concerned about memory loss, check out our Vivolor Memory Support .
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