We know in taking truckloads of sugar can’t be good for you – but what does sugar really do to your body when you indulge?
Learn how the sweet stuff affects your body.
Your brain suffers
Fructose is the sugar that’s naturally found in fruit, as well as comprising, along with glucose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) & table sugar.
The substance sets off your brain’s reward center fireworks, making you feel fulfilled whenever you get some in you. But over time, a diet heavy on fructose (particularly through HFCS), makes it tough on your brain to learn and retain information.
To keep your mind sharp, stick to savory snacks.
You want to eat more
As we mentioned, the brain’s reward center goes off when fructose enters the picture. Sugars can cloud senses of satiety, research suggests.
Basically, eating that extra, sugar-loaded cookie won’t curb a food craving at all – it’ll only enhance it.
Skin ages quicker
Sugar overload restricts the repair of collagen, a protein that keeps skin looking fresh. Studies suggest a steady helping of sugary goods can lead to reduced skin elasticity and premature wrinkles.
Keep your sweet tooth happy with fruit instead; two to four servings of these natural sugar sources are perfectly fine for your body.
Extra sugar, extra fat
Avoid extra sugar if you can help it, because it won’t go anywhere anytime soon.
Your liver has the ability to metabolize sugar, utilizing it for energy – but only to a certain extent. Leftover fructose is instead converted to fat in your liver, increasing the risks of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Your cells have changed, man
Fructose quickens the oxidation process in our cells.
In English: proteins, tissues, and organs can be damaged on a cellular level, exposing the body to an array of health conditions like liver disease, kidney failure, and cataracts.
Sugar consumption results in the body releasing dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us lust and want more of something.
“As dopamine receptor neurons get overstimulated, the number of receptors to bind to decreases, so you’ll need a bigger hit of dopamine to get the same rush,” explains pediatric endocrinologist Robert Lustig, MD, of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in San Francisco.
Sugar can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol – but only for the short term. Continuous consumption of sugary-refined carbs causes your insulin resistance, which stresses the body from the inside, to go up.
Rather than turning to sugar for serenity, sweat instead: “Exercise is the best treatment for stress. It makes you feel good and reduces cortisol,” says Dr. Lustig.