What Happens When You Eat Too Much Sugar

It is surprising how only 25 grams or about six teaspoons of sugar per day should be consumed by an average healthy adult, the equivalent to a little less than 10 pieces Hershey’s Kisses and significantly lesser than a single can of Coke. There may be several things which may happen to your body when you eat too much sugar. It is very challenging to get healthier, recover from illness, or build your immune system when your body is overloaded with sugar. There are many reasons why sugar consumption should be reduced. It poses many health risks.

Candy for Cancer!

Many studies show that sugar and cancer are synonymous. More and more medical researchers and natural health practitioners know that cutting off the supply of certain foods, particularly sugar,  to tumors and cancer cells is the most effective and logical way to starve cancer cells.  The Huntsman Cancer Institute in Utah was one of the first institutions to discover that sugar feeds tumors. Refined sugars have long been associated with cancer. They are considered not only a cause but also a major feeder of cancer. Sugar in today’s diet causes significant inflammation in our bodies. Simple carbohydrates found in white bread, pasta, snack foods, sweets contribute to the increase of sugar consumption. White sugar causes magnesium mineral deficiencies and deficiencies in magnesium promote inflammation and cancer.

According to Stephanie Maxson, senior clinical dietitian at MD Anderson’s Integrative Medicine Center, “Prolonged inflammation can damage your body’s healthy cells and tissue, and weaken your immune system. This weakened state can increase your risk of diseases like cancer. ”

Leptin Resistance

Eating too much sugar may cause leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone which lets your body know when you have had enough to eat. Leptin is produced by the body’s fat cells, and is also known as the satiety hormone or the starvation hormone. Leptin primarily affects the hypothalamus, where leptin resistance is a condition when there is a absent or reduced sensitivity to the feeding as well as body weight impeding effects of the hormone in individuals with higher BMI compared with normal controls.

What Happens When You Eat Too Much SugarLeptin resistance has been closely associated with body fat increase, and the effect is thought to also contribute to the maintenance of obesity.  According to Robert Lustig MD, “Food was just as abundant before obesity’s ascendance. The problem is the increase in sugar consumption. Sugar both drives fat storage and makes the brain think it is hungry, setting up a “vicious cycle.”

Glucose Stored as Belly Fat

Some studies have theorized probability in which leptin resistance may be a side effect of obesity, and not a contributing cause as thought by the majority of people. Leptin acts as a potent energy enhancing hormones, although its effects may diminish or even be absent in the obese state. In simpler words, when people develop leptin resistance, this satisfied signal is never received. The individuals may be fat but their brains are not able to realize it. As the brain simulated starvation mode due to the lack of leptin produced, the brain will also direct the body to store glucose as belly fat.

Blood Sugar Spikes

Foods composed primarily of simple sugars can be digested almost immediately as it requires only a little amount of breaking down process. Consuming a bunch of simple sugars, however, causes a huge rush of glucose into the blood. To overcome this excess, the pancreas will release extra insulin to turn glucose into glycogen, which the liver and muscles may use up. After the sugar rush has ended, blood sugar levels will drop dramatically. Eating protein and vegetables before carbohydrates leads to lower post-meal glucose and insulin levels in obese patients with type 2 diabetes(1)

What Happens When You Eat Too Much SugarMany sweets are loaded with so much glucose that it floods the body and making the body overwhelmed, which will trigger the brain counteraction by shooting out serotonin, the sleep-regulating hormone. This process will trigger stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol to be released in order to activate stored sugar supplies. Stress hormones will increase heart rate, causing the stomach to be uneasy and clenching as it anticipates for an attack, and leaving a shaky, nauseated feeling once the body realizes that there is no danger to respond to.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin resistance takes place when the level of insulin is considerably high over a very longer period, and thus causes the sensitivity of body to the hormone to decrease. It is believed that one of the principle causes of insulin resistance include obesity, as it is suggested that central obesity (which occurs around the belly area) causes the fat cells to become oxygen deprived and to die.

The body may not be producing enough insulin to fulfill the need, and this causes some glucose to not be able to get into the cells. Glucose will remain in the bloodstream, causing high blood glucose levels and in many cases this will cause the body to produce more insulin than reasonably expected to convert the amount of food eaten at a meal into energy. (2)

What Happens When You Eat Too Much SugarFurthermore, the pancreas will actually working overtime in order to produce more insulin as the body cells are resistant to the insulin’s effects, so regardless of the presence of insulin in the bloodstream, the cells will not be able to be unlocked and therefore do not let enough glucose to enter into the cells.

Reverse Insulin Resistance

Once the body starts to be resistant to insulin, it can be quite difficult to reverse because the knock on effect of insulin resistance. This resistance may be aggravated by more insulin circulating in the blood stream and also by weight gain. Insulin resistance is usually closely associated with inflammation, which is the body’s attempt to repair itself.

One of the earliest and most obvious symptoms of insulin resistance is weight gain, particularly around the middle (stomach area). Other symptoms include lethargy, insatiable hunger, difficulty in concentrating as well as a high blood pressure. More importantly, a long term and increasingly severe level of insulin resistance may develop into what is known as Type 2 Diabetes.

[tweetthis]Leptin resistance has been closely associated with body fat increase.[/tweetthis]

Memory Loss

The maintenance of a normal blood sugar level is important as a protection against more than diabetes. One of the extra benefits of maintaining normal blood sugar levels is also related in preventing age-related memory loss. Researchers have shown that rising blood sugars specifically aims at the hippocampus, which is a vital brain area linked to memory decline. The finding suggests that actions taken to improve blood sugar level, which includes exercising regularly and eating healthier, may help both the body and the brain in coping with the aging process. There is more concern about the fructose in high-fructose corn syrup, which is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative.   (3)

What Happens When You Eat Too Much SugarResearch focused in the dentate gyrus within the hippocampus, the area of the brain associated with memory and learning has affirmed that increased blood sugar was the sole changing factor to decrease its activity, compared with rising cholesterol and body weight. As blood sugar levels tend to be higher as a person ages, monitoring and carrying out actions to lower blood sugar may be a vital prevention for avoiding age related cognitive decline, even for people without diabetes indication.

Brain and Sugar Connection

Other research has shown that poorly controlled diabetes may cause memory loss as the brain runs on glucose, and the brain glucose storage is limited. Higher than normal blood glucose levels are known to damage the nerves, where the brain is affected in the same manner and therefore is not immune to these effects. Even situated within a healthy range, research has shown that an increase of about seven units on a blood test was linked to the ability to remember two fewer words after 30 minutes on a memory test. A UCLA rat study showed how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain and hampers memory and learning.

The extent of memory loss affected by high level of sugar can be stretched out to as far as causing Alzheimer’s disease. A lot of studies have beginning to find the link between excess sugar and cognitive issues. High level of sugar also had been proven to possibly increase the risk of dementia in the older ages. Try cutting back on refined sugars. You will find energy levels increase and if you are recovering from illness you will help your body by getting healthier.

 

(1) www.weill.cornell.edu/news/news/2015/06/food-order-has-significant-impact-on-glucose-and-insulin-levels-louis-aronne.html

(2)  www.ucsf.edu/news/2009/06/8187/obesity-and-metabolic-syndrome-driven-fructose-sugar-diet

(3) www.newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/this-is-your-brain-on-sugar-ucla-233992

Dr. Patrick Quillin

Dr. Patrick Quillin, PhD,RD,CNS is an internationally recognized expert in the area of nutrition and cancer. He has 30 years experience as a clinical nutritionist, of which 10 years were spent as the Vice President for a leading cancer hospital system where he worked with thousands of cancer patients in a hospital setting. His a Best Selling Author with 17 books which have sold over 2 million copies.

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