Primary care physicians have probably been telling you since childhood that too much sugar is bad for you. A diet high in refined sugar can ruin your teeth, lead to diabetes and cause obesity. And that’s not all! There are four even sneakier ways that eating too much refined sugar can negatively affect your health.
1. Sugar Is Addictive
Because sugar stimulates the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, eating too much sugar can easily become a habit. When you consume a lot of high-sugar foods and drinks, the resulting sugar rush and subsequent crash can become a self-reinforcing cycle that locks you in and makes quitting difficult.
2. Sugar Aggravates Anxiety
While sugar itself may not cause anxiety, too much sugar can make existing anxiety worse by impairing your body’s ability to cope with stress. Research has indicated a correlation between sugar and anxiety in rats who binged on sugar, and then showed withdrawal symptoms when they were deprived of sugar.
3. Sugar Can Impair Learning and Memory
Because of the way sugar affects insulin in the blood, a diet high in sugar will typically cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance in turn damages the communication between brain cells that enable learning and memory formation.
4. Sugar Causes Weight Gain
While some sugar is a normal part of the human diet when consumed in its basic forms that come from fruit or other whole foods, that’s not the kind of sugar your primary care physician is lecturing you about. Eating processed foods loaded with sugar will cause your body to absorb it faster compared to natural sugar sources, which results in your body storing more sugar as fat. Being overweight is a risk factor for a number of serious health concerns, including a higher risk of cancer.