It’s America’s favorite of the five tastes: sweetness. But when you look at the state of health in our country, you have to wonder: are sugar’s effects on brain and body worth it? How is sugar bad for you exactly? If we eat so much sugar, what is its real connection to our country’s biggest health issues?
When certain types of sugar are eaten (and in moderation), sugar can be perfectly healthy for you. But our current habits around sugar don’t follow that line at all. Bad types of sugar are everywhere. Even snuck into unsuspecting foods! We eat too much of these, and then we knowingly eat even more sugar on top of that, thinking we’re being healthy…when we’re not.
Sugar effects on health are not to be underestimated. And on the other end of the spectrum, you can never overestimate why too much sugar is bad for you— for many, many different reasons. Here’s why.
Is sugar dangerous?
The answer: absolutely, yes. For many reasons, though the biggest reason may not be the one most would expect.
Many people know exactly how sugar is bad for you in a physical way. Sugar negative effects are widely known; but what isn’t so much known is how pervasive sugar is. Which is what makes the effects of sugar on health the most dangerous to reckon with of all.
People harp on animal products, cigarettes, and alcohol as being cancer-causing and devastating to health. Sugar is also just as harmful. But what sets it apart is that it can be easily hidden in foods, causing you to eat too much of it without even realizing it.
Foods you might not realize contain sugar include:
- Tomato sauces (spaghetti, pasta, pizza, etc.)
- Condiments (ketchup, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, etc.)
- Simple carbohydrate foods (can act like sugars, e.g. white rice, white breads, etc.)
- Certain brands of canned soups
- Salad dressing
- Canned baked beans
- Peanut butter
- Dairy free milk alternatives
How sugar is bad for you
No matter where you end up finding it, sugar in all its forms can be very harmful, whether you’re aware of eating it or not. The only surefire way you avoid the effects of sugar in the body is to eat unprocessed whole foods— and not all of us can perfectly stay up on that, or even afford it sometimes for that matter!
To sum up sugar negative effects, sugar easily tops the list of the most chronic inflammation-causing foods. If you eat a little bit here and there occasionally, you’re probably OK. But if you’re not paying attention to sugar content in foods— or if you freely eat sugar all the time— you walk a pretty fine line with chronic inflammation issues in the body, or you may be experiencing some of these issues already.
What is chronic inflammation? This type of low-grade inflammation (which brings on a rise in cancer- and other illness-causing free radicals) can lead to many health issues in systems all over the body. In fact, chronic inflammation— which too much sugar in the diet is a top cause— is in turn involved in many of the worst diseases in the world, especially those that involve a lack of functional nutrition. Including:
- Heart disease
- Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)
- Gastrointestinal diseases
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Neurological diseases
- …and more
How sugar affects the brain
Are you dealing with sluggish thinking, brain fog, or low mental energy? It could be too much sugar. According to Harvard Medical, sugar effects on brain can lead to low cognitive function and issues with memory. Overtime, these effects can then become even bigger problems.
WebMD also states that too much sugar can impact mood, especially depression and anxiety. Sugar brings on a dopamine release— and then a sugar crash, which can be terrible for people’s moods (and be quite addictive, as we all know too well). It can also contribute to greater rates of more clinical states of depression, too.
Effects of sugar in the brain can also open the door to nervous and neurological diseases. The University of Virginia says there’s a strong link between high glucose (sugar) and Alzheimer’s, as well as dementia. This could mean it may have a hand in Parkinson’s and other similar disorders as well.
How sugar affects the immune system
Since sugar is one of the most inflammation-causing foods, it affects the immune system too, of course.
Sugar effects on the immune system can effectively shut down your body’s defenses for a period of time, according to the Scientific American. With an immune system compromised (especially if you eat lots of sugar, and often, throughout the day), it can’t do its job to naturally curb inflammation or prevent you from getting sick, like from colds or flus!
If you’re struggling with getting sick often or dealing with inflammatory pain, it could be too much sugar. And it may be high time to cut down on it— or to take a closer look at your diet and those sneaky foods. You could also learn how to naturally boost the immune system with immune-boosting replacements, such as healthful plant-based foods and herbs.
Which foods boost the immune system?
- Acerola cherries
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Sweet potatoes (purple)
- Turmeric and ginger
- …and more
Which herbs boost the immune system?
- Chaga mushroom
- Holy basil
- Maitake mushroom
- Turkey tail mushroom
- …and more
Which nutrients boost the immune system?
- Vitamin A
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin E
- …and more
Is there such thing as “healthy” sugar? – Which sugar substitute is best?
If you love the sweeter things in life, but realize you need to cut down on sugar— what’s a person to do? Are all sugars bad? How can you replace them?
Keep in mind that there are different types of sugars. Sucrose is table sugar, like what you can add to your cereal, coffee, or baking recipes. There is also glucose and fructose, the latter of which you’ll find naturally occurring in fruits (like blueberries, strawberries, guava, etc.). Glucose is naturally found in honey.
If you check ingredient labels and see these listed, this means that sugars have been added. You will find naturally-occurring fructose and small amounts of glucose in fresh fruits; but, thanks to the fiber content found in most fruits, this will slow down your body’s absorption of the sugar and prevent some of its worst effects (this is why even sugary fruits can be considered healthy)!
For some of us (especially diabetics or other folks with certain sugar-sensitive conditions), sugar should be replaced altogether. What options do you have? Some of these include:
- Monk fruit
- Coconut sugar
- Agave nectar
STEVIA is widely considered to be the superior natural sugar replacement of today. Stevia is completely naturally derived from the stevia plant, which can be sustainably and ethically grown and harvested.
It’s caught a lot of popularity in recent years, especially compared to man-made natural sweeteners (like aspartame) that have their own health problems. According to Healthline, stevia has far fewer negative health impacts and is far better for the brain, the immune system, for diabetes, and the entire body in general, when consumed moderately compared to table sugar.
If you think you eat too much sugar but it’s just too hard to let go, know that you’re not out of options. You can do your body two favors: consume more herbs, nutrients, and foods that boost the immune system (and combat sugar’s effects) while getting your “sweetness kick” with Stevia, the far healthier option!
Looking for a solution with ZERO SUGAR (unlike most products on the market) and 100% natural vitamins that boost the immune system for your kids? Check out McPeak’s Defense 360 Immune with Elderberry!