Bittersweet – Are Sweeteners of All Kinds are Affecting You?
Glucose is the most important simple sugar, and we need it to survive. Without getting too far into the technicalities of it, glucose is what doctors, scientists, and nutritionists who can tell us more about our bodies call blood sugar. It is our main source of energy, and is critical to everything from brain and organ function to healthy hair. Fruits (both fresh and dried) as well as nuts, vegetables, and grains all contain it. Sweets too, of course.
That said, we really only need glucose in moderation. The problem with sugar is that it is SO easy to eat sugary foods. In fact, it is pretty common knowledge now that sugar can be addictive due to its tendency to trigger dopamine creation, the happy hormone, and serotonin, a mood-stabilizing hormone, when we eat our favorite desserts and treats. This is always what breeds the classic “sweet tooth” and “chocoholism.” Sugar makes us want it, and can make us crave it in the same way.
On top of leaving us with cavities and weight gain, too much glucose in the body can lead to depression and anxiety, according to a UCLA study done in 2012. Because glucose overconsumption can over-exert the activation of serotonin paths in our brains, we can run out of serotonin, which can leave us feeling drained, exhausted, and depressed. In fact, it is not uncommon for people with depression to experience extreme carb and sugar cravings because of this. The same study found that excessive glucose in our diets can impair our memory and learning abilities.
Escaping sugar through zero calorie sweeteners to keep the flavor in our diets doesn’t solve any problems either. Man-made sugar replacements are made of harmful chemicals; aspartame is made of aspartic acid, methanol, and phenylalanine – a combination which can cause brain tumors in large amounts, and which has been shown to cause migraines, depression, and anxiety attacks. A study even shows that diet sodas (high in artificial sweeteners) may be linked to the development of type 2 diabetes and incident metabolic syndrome. Plus, they do not even help you lose as much weight as cutting soda from your diet all together might.
As with anything, too much of a good thing like sugar can and will be a bad thing. You don’t need to cut the chord with sugar entirely, especially because it is a necessity. But if you struggle with saying no to those extra snacks every day, or feel as though sugar overconsumption may be affecting your life, we would like to suggest looking into a sugar substitute!