Sugar and Brain Fog: How Metabolizing Glucose Affects the Mind

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Many scientists believe that our sugar cravings have been around for much longer than we perceived by revealing that prehistoric humans consumed sugar to survive in harsh conditions.

Today, we are addicted to sugar not only because it boosts energy but also because sugar makes us happy due to a release of the happy hormone dopamine.

However, too much of anything can make you sick, and sugar is no exception. In fact, sugar has always been associated with numerous health issues and brain-related diseases in later years. Learn about sugar’s impacts on overall health and how glucose affects the mind.

RELATED: Understanding The Connection Between Adhd & Brain Fog

 

What Is Sugar?

Sugar is a generic term for a form of soluble carbohydrate with a sweet flavor. As crucial as fats and proteins, the colorless macronutrient fuels our body with energy. Specifically, carbohydrates from foods are broken down and converted into a source of energy for all bodily functions.

Sugar compounds are present in vegetables, fruits, honey, dairy, and even human milk. In addition to natural sources, sugar is produced commercially from sugar cane, sugar beets, and cornstarch.

 

What Are the Impacts of Sugar on Overall Health?

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Moderate consumption of sugar is considered safe and beneficial. However, too much sugar can wreak havoc on overall health once it hits our tongue, in addition to weight gain.

 

Sugar May Increase the Risk of Heart Disease

One of sugar’s most damaging health effects is that it may indirectly and directly increase the risk of heart disease. Overeating sugar triggers extra insulin production in the body, causing the artery’s linings to thicken. Gradually, stiff arteries may lead to heart failure, strokes, and heart attacks due to restricted blood circulation.

 

Sugar May Increase the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Since the global prevalence of diabetes has doubled in the last 30 years, the correlation between sugar and diabetes has drawn much attention. Evidently, consuming high amounts of sugar contributes to the risk of developing diabetes. Glucose is dependent on insulin to generate energy for bodily functions. However, cells in the muscles, fat, and liver may gradually grow resistant to insulin, causing the pancreas to produce even more insulin until it can no longer make enough of it. Consequently, insufficient insulin production leads to type II diabetes.

 

Sugar May Increase the Risk of Cancer

While sugar is not necessarily the direct cause of cancer, excessive sugar consumption can lead to obesity, inflammation, and oxidative stress, all of which significantly give rise to cancer. In a study from NCBI, added sugar has been associated with an increased risk of pleural cancer, esophageal cancer, and small intestine cancer in more than 430,000 people. Despite abundant evidence and ongoing research supporting the complex relationship between high sugar intake and cancer, there is a need for more studies.

 

Sugar Can Cause Tooth Decay

The rotting effects of sugar on dental health are no newsflash. The harmful bacteria in your mouth depend on the remaining sugar after you have eaten something sweet to survive. With acid production caused by bacteria, you are likely to take more frequent trips to the dentist due to tooth decay and cavities if your hygiene practices are poor.

 

Sugar May Accelerate the Aging Process

While other health effects require a thorough medical exam to detect, skin aging is sugar’s most visible side effect on overall health. A high-sugar diet can accelerate the aging process, particularly skin aging, due to the attachment of sugar to proteins in the bloodstream known as “AGEs” or advanced glycation end products. As a result of skin collagen and elastin damage, the skin becomes saggy and wrinkled.

 

High on Sugar & Brain Fog: How Does Glucose Affect the Brain?

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As mentioned above, the body cells rely on glucose to operate. However, the brain cells are considered more demanding in glucose energy than the rest of the cells. The brain generally uses 50 percent of sugar energy despite only accounting for 2 percent of the body weight.

Have you ever wondered why your mood is instantly elevated after eating sweet foods? That is because proper amounts of sugar cause the brain to release a hormone called dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, where the neurotransmitter helps us visualize the rewards and what it takes to achieve them.

It logically explains why everyone feels so good whenever they eat a piece of cake or candy. In addition to a surge of pleasure, sugar is believed to positively affect mental health and energy, such as memory, thinking, and learning.

Unfortunately, the positive effects of sugar on the brain are relatively temporary, followed by some significant consequences if you eat more sugar than recommended. High sugar levels in the bloodstream can impair brain functions, induce inflammation across the gut system, and cause blood spikes.

Over time, you may develop brain fog—a mental stage characterized by forgetfulness, lack of concentration, reduced mental clarity, information processing, and some physical issues such as dizziness and fatigue. These issues can adversely affect your productivity and reduce your quality of life.

RELATED: How To Effectively Get Rid Of Brain Fog

 

How to Cut Down Sugar Consumption

It’s crucial to keep tabs on how much sugar you consume daily. Although sugar is available in many products today, reducing sugar consumption is easier than you might think. Here are a few tips to help you eat less sugar:

  • Control your sugar intake: It all starts with yourself by controlling your daily sugar intake. Check for added sugar in the nutrition facts or ingredient list, especially dairy products containing a large amount of natural sugar.
  • Swap sugary drinks with water: Most people wrongly believe that drinking sugary beverages can effectively quench their thirst. Drinking sugary drinks can dehydrate you, as sugar compounds can drain water out of the body, just like salt. As a result, you experience sweet thirst and drink even more sugary drinks, which is not a good idea. Regardless, drinking water is the best. If you crave something to drink, consider swapping soda drinks with freshly-squeezed juices.
  • Avoid desserts: As previously stated, desserts contain no nutritional value other than altering waistlines and providing short-term pleasure. But if you still want to satisfy your sweet tooth, consider these healthy alternatives, such as fruit-mixed yogurt, dark chocolate, and fresh fruit. Instead of candy bars packed with added sugar, trade them for fresh chunks of fruits, depending on your liking. Moreover, these alternatives are rich in fiber, minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, and nutrients.
  • Avoid processed foods: With a perfect blend of salt, sugar, additives, artificial substances, and fat, it’s easy to get hooked on these convenient foods. Whenever possible, try to cook food from scratch. Whole foods are free from additives and preservatives, making them a healthier option than mass-produced foods.
  • Use sugar substitutes: There are plenty of sugar substitutes on the market if you can’t seem to cut back on sugar completely. A few alternatives to refined sugar include stevia, allulose, dates, fruit purees, honey, yacon syrup, and maple syrup, to name a few.
  • Eat more protein: Loading protein to your body can effectively suppress hunger, preventing you from reaching for snacks and sweet foods throughout the day. To reduce sugar consumption, adopt a protein-rich diet with lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, and avocado.

 

In addition to the measures mentioned above, you may consider taking supplements designed to reduce brain fog symptoms and boost brain performance. Always talk to your doctor to avoid allergy and supplemental clashes.

 

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  • Phosphatidylserine: This naturally occurring lipid helps make up the cell membrane and is crucial to cellular function in the brain.

 

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It is a lot to think about! We get it. Regen Labs has options for you if you have questions about the connection between sugar and brain fog. All Regen Labs products support the body’s natural systems for a healthy brain, skin, muscle, and sexual health.

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