I’ve talked to so many Brain Warriors who have made healthy changes to their diets, added regular exercise to their routine, started taking supplements targeted to their brain type, found their purpose in life, and learned to eliminate the automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) that keep them down. But so many of you tell me there’s one thing that’s just too hard to break up with—sugar!
If you’re one of them, it’s time to get serious about the evils of this substance. There’s nothing sweet about it. It is literally killing you slowly in so many ways. Here are just 7 ways sugar is sabotaging your body, brain, and mind.
1. You become a slave to cravings.
The more sugar you eat, the more you crave. If you’re trying to eat healthy or control cravings, you’re going to crave more food every time you eat sugar. Whenever you eat simple carbs—think dinner rolls, cupcakes, or cookies—it hijacks your brain, so you don’t get the signal that you’re full and satisfied. When you eat healthy fat and protein, your brain gets the message that you’re full, so you stop eating.
2. It fires up the addiction centers of the brain.
Decades of research show that sugar is addictive. The refined stuff is 8 times more addictive than cocaine and it works in the same part of the brain that reacts to morphine. Bingeing on sugar triggers the release of dopamine in a little part of your brain called the nucleus accumbens. It’s like a little pleasure button, and every time you eat some sugar, it presses that button. And just like cocaine, nicotine, and heroin, if you press the pleasure button too often, it deregulates the system to make you want—no, need— more, more, more!
3. It raises blood sugar levels.
It makes sense that the more sugar you eat, the higher your blood sugar levels. This wreaks havoc in your body, raises the risk for diabetes, and makes your blood vessels brittle. Did you know this is what happens with Alzheimer’s disease? The tiny blood vessels in the brain get brittle, which is why scientists have started calling Alzheimer’s disease “Type 3 diabetes.” If that doesn’t scare you away from sugar, it should!
4. It contributes to obesity.
Eating too much refined sugar jacks up blood sugar levels, which keeps insulin high. And did you know that insulin is like Miracle Grow for fat cells? Obesity increases the risk for mental health conditions, heart disease, some types of cancer, and all causes of mortality.
5. It accelerates the aging process.
Sugar accelerates aging through a process in which it sticks to protein cells to prevent cell repair. The same way it’s doing this to the inside of your body to speed the aging process, it’s also doing the same thing to the outside of your body—your skin. Even worse, it’s also doing it to your brain. I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to look or feel older than my age!
6. It damages the liver.
High fructose corn syrup, a type of sugar used in many processed foods, is one of the worst for your health. It is responsible for nonalcoholic fatty liver, which involves a similar type of reaction in your liver as when you drink too much alcohol. You just don’t get the buzz. It can lead to scarring of liver tissues, a condition known as cirrhosis and eventually life-threatening problems.
7. It raises triglycerides
Sugar elevates triglycerides, which are a bad type of cholesterol, and it lowers HDL, the good cholesterol. Having high triglycerides can contribute to hardening of the arteries, which raises the risk of heart attack and stroke.
As you can see, eating sugar isn’t about giving yourself a treat, it’s a death wish. Dropping it from your diet is one of the best things you can do to show that you love yourself and want to live a long and healthy life. When you first cut sugar out of your diet, you’ll miss it. You might even feel like you’re going through withdrawal symptoms—headaches, depression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and more.
The good news is that within a matter of days, you’ll no longer need refined sugars to satisfy your sweet tooth. Seriously, it’s just a few days. You can do that. Remember, you’re a Warrior.
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