REVEALED: What sugar actually does to your brain and body
Sugar is a sweet, funny thing. For some of us, it’s a love-hate affair that borders around obsession, caution and indulgence. To others, it’s merely just glucose and/or fructose; have too much of it and you get diabetes. Regardless of which group you belong to, you probably can’t avoid having sugar in your diet, so it’s always a good idea to understand better what you eating. Perhaps after reading this entry, you’ll find that sugar isn’t as bad as you had imagined – or possibly much worse than you believe.
Firstly, we should understand that sugar is a very broad term describing different forms of saccharides, of which glucose and fructose are of most direct concern to us. Glucose is what you should consider the natural “fuel” of your body, and that most bodily processes, such as thinking about an exam question or doing push-ups, require glucose in one way or another. Despite so, glucose has its own problems, namely leading to the release of VLDL which in higher amounts, could be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. And then there is the all-too familiar diabetes of course.
Fructose on the other hand, is really just very bad. The body doesn’t require fructose for energy consumption, but will actively do so when its freely flowing in your bloodstream after a fructose-heavy meal. The main difference between this and glucose is that fructose affects your metabolism in more than one negative way, encompassing the release of more VLDL in addition to uric acid production and a whole bunch of other nasty stuff. Bottom is clear: glucose can be bad, whereas fructose can very bad when both are taken in copious amounts.
How does knowledge of fructose, glucose and the scientific stuff affect us? A majority of processed food rely on fructose to get you that tasty flavour, which means that you take in a lot of fructose when you indulge in junk food often. We’re not just talking about hamburgers, potato chips and the like, but also elusive softdrinks that can creep in your life quite sinisterly. Working in the office OT and feeling a little tired? Not a big deal. Simply reach out to the pantry fridge and grab yourself a 7-up. You know how the story goes, so watch out for these moments.
Aside from processed foods, fresh fruits are actually another easy to acquire fructose. Sounds bad? Not exactly. Although fruits contain high fructose, an inherently high fibre content in most of them (like bananas and papayas) informs your brain that satiety is met. Since hunger is disposed of, there isn’t a need for eating anymore, so any further fructose intake is thereby controlled. Besides, fruits are a primary source of vitamins so there is absolutely no reason to cut down on it. Cut away the soda drinks and desserts if you must.
Now that you have a better idea of the magical workings of sugar and especially fructose, how do you deal with it on a day to day basis? To save you from cracking your brains, we have some advice for you:
• Stay away from processed foods and especially soft drinks as much as possible
• Avoid sitting for too long; stand up and walk around a little every hour
• Have a few “sugar” days a week to avoid withdrawal symptoms
• Replace Dessert with something like fresh fruits or fruit juice
Sugar isn’t necessarily bad when taken in higher amounts, as glucose and fructose can boost sporting performances and even give your brain an energy lift (the brain favors glucose as an energy fuel) when you’re falling asleep in class. Just remember that like all things, sugar should taken in moderation.
Follow these simple tips and you’ll be on track to a healthy sugar life. It’s inevitable that you’ll eat sugar all the time so don’t be paranoid consuming sugar regularly in your diet. Instead, focus on how you can reduce sugar intake and watch out for those that are rich in fructose.
Reposted From Yahoo! Southeast Asia