13 Feb 2017
Discover the dangers of excess sugar consumption and the effects it can have on your body.
Consume too much of the sweet stuff and you’re going to wear away your smile. Caused by bacteria using sugar to produce acid, tooth decay wears away the enamel on your teeth. The more sugar you consume, the more erosion your tooth enamel will suffer. Each acid attack on your teeth lasts around 20 minutes, and every time you take another sip, the process begins all over again.
To understand how sugar damages the liver, it’s important to note that sugar is comprised of two molecules: glucose and fructose. While glucose can be metabolised by every cell in the body, fructose can only be metabolised by the liver, which turns the fructose into glycogen.
When too much fructose is ingested (and the liver is already full of glycogen), fructose will be turned into fat - some of it moves from the liver, whilst part of it remains. This contributes to fatty liver disease, and can also cause your liver to become insulin resistant, leading to obesity, metabolic syndrome and many other diseases.
In raising your insulin resistance, sugar spikes your hunger levels, causing you to crave more sugary and carbohydrate-based foods. With sugar’s empty calories causing you to eat more in order to feel satisfied, combined with fructose’s effect on the body, you end up consuming excess calories, thus gaining weight.
From the first moment it hits your tongue, to the last spoonful of ice-cream, sugar puts you under a magic spell. Also known as the mesolimbic dopamine system, this pathway has evolved over a period of two billion years – it’s old, it’s established and it’s not going anywhere. After sugar floods your system, dopamine is released from the mesolimbic reward centre. Essentially, this is when you take your first step to becoming an addict, as your brain places your sugary treat on the same level of pleasure as catching up with friends. Yes, chocolate can be literally better than – or at least on par with – intimacy.
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