Sugar – Effects On The Body

Sugar has many negative effects on the body. It makes you limp, listless, tired, depressed, and sick. However, sugar is also important for the human organism. But sugar is not just sugar. Table sugar is harmful, while natural sugars, such as those found in fruits, vegetables, or whole foods, are important and healthy.

Symptoms when eating too much sugar

Sugar can trigger the following symptoms or be involved in their development: inexplicable tiredness, listlessness and lack of energy, depression, anxiety, stomach and intestinal problems such as feelings of fullness, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, hair loss, skin diseases, fungal infections, menstrual problems, nervousness, sleep disorders, lack of concentration – up to mental confusion and much more.

What is of particular interest: Regular and excessive sugar consumption makes the body susceptible to “infectious diseases”. His immune system weakens and becomes less and less able to adequately protect the body.

Household sugar, dextrose, fructose

When sugar is mentioned in the following, it means in particular household sugar, also known as sucrose, i.e. the sugar that is used in every household as a white crystalline powder or as sugar cubes. Sucrose is a double sugar (disaccharide), which means that it consists of two simple sugars (monosaccharides), namely half dextrose (glucose) and half fruit sugar (fructose).

When household sugar is digested, it is broken down by enzymes in the digestive system into glucose and fructose. Glucose increases the blood sugar level and has to be transported into the cells by the hormone insulin, which is used as fuel to generate energy. Of course, if glucose is consumed directly, this happens even faster.

Fructose, on the other hand, is only used indirectly to generate energy and is very easily converted into fat if there is a surplus, which is why fructose often increases the blood fat level and promotes fatty liver.

First the good news: Sugar is a medicine

You read that right, sugar is a cure! In folk medicine, sugar was used to treat wounds: the rapid healing success is said to be overwhelming, especially in the case of burns. Sugar has an antimicrobial effect and can therefore suppress wound infections. That is why it is also used in high doses to make preserves such as jam. It preserves very well because it keeps unwanted microorganisms such as bacteria or mold at bay.

Does sugar make you happy?

But not only externally, but also internally, sugar has a resounding effect. Since the thesis that sugar provides quick energy because it goes straight into the blood is now well known to everyone, many people stock up on sugar in the form of chocolate bars, glucose, sweet drinks, or similar before, after, or during particularly strenuous physical and mental work.

You can feel it in your own body immediately after consuming sugar: a feeling of well-being takes possession of you, your ability to concentrate increases and any nervousness disappears. You feel temporarily (!) strong, powerful, and maybe a little happier than before.

The reason is quickly explained: sugar and with it all isolated carbohydrates (extract flour (with the starch in it) and pure starches, such as monoamine consist of long glucose chains) lead to the production and release of insulin. Insulin is a pancreatic hormone whose main task is to remove the sugar from food from the blood and distribute it to all body cells and organs, which then derive their energy from it.

Insulin activates e.g. the formation of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is sometimes also referred to as the happiness hormone because it is able to conjure up the serenity. The thesis still applies that people with depression or anxiety suffer from a permanent lack of serotonin. They are therefore prescribed so-called serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are intended to keep the serotonin level high in the brain.

In view of these connections, one could actually call sugar a lucky charm. However, the effect lasts only for a short time – and unfortunately, it is not the only one sugar. The problem in this context is that sugar is almost like a drug and therefore if you have a sweet tooth, you occasionally get the impression of being addicted to sugar. Here we describe the signs of sugar addiction. If you recognize yourself in it, it’s high time for withdrawal. Because sugar is anything but healthy.

What exactly does sugar do in the body?

Below we use simple examples to explain exactly what sugar does in the body:

Natural Sugar Travels Through the Body: The Healthy Sugar Cycle

When a natural sugar appears in a healthy body, for example in the form of a handful of cherries that you just stole from a neighbor’s tree while sober and ate, the following happens:

The cherries will end up in the small intestine after their short journey through the stomach. Here one takes care of the absorption of the sugar molecules (glucose and fructose), which means that they pass through the intestinal mucosa and get into the blood.

Her blood sugar was at its baseline of about 80 to 100 mg per 100 ml of blood before the cherries. Slowly (within 1 to 2 hours) it increases to around 120 to 150 mg. At the same time, the pancreas receives the command to produce the hormone insulin. The insulin is intended to lower the blood sugar level again so that it – again slowly and within about 2 hours – levels off at its original base value of 80 to 100 mg.

Insulin is a bit like a firewood trucker. Firewood is a sugar molecule (glucose). The transporter insulin transports the wood to the various organ, muscles,s and nerve cells, which generate energy from it, i.e. burn the wood in order to be able to optimally fulfill their daily tasks.

This type of glucose, found in fruit or other whole foods, never enters the body pure or in excessive amounts, always accompanied by vitamins, fiber, and essential minerals. These accompanying substances act like brake pads on the glucose feet, they ensure that the sugar molecules do not jostle and slowly pass into the blood one after the other.

Natural glucose can be thought of as solid, well-seasoned beech wood in handy logs. An even and long burning fire is created. When all “organ fires” are crackling and there are still glucose particles in the blood, these initially superfluous sugar parts (wooden logs) are transported to the liver by the transporter insulin.

Here the wooden parts are then processed into handy briquettes because the fuel can be stored in this form in a space-saving manner. The briquettes in the human body are called glycogen. This is a storehouse of strength that serves as a reserve for lean times. If the calculated famine does not come, the storage capacities in the liver are soon exhausted – and the glucose is no longer made into starch, but into fat. This fat is now stored in the well-known “problem areas”.

If nothing appears in the stomach for a long time after the cherries, the blood sugar level slowly begins to drop, because organs such as the heart, lungs, liver, and brain constantly draw glucose (firewood) from the blood. A steadily falling blood sugar level is the signal for the pancreas to release another hormone. It is called glucagon and converts the glycogen stored in the liver and muscles back into glucose. Through the insulin-glucagon interplay, the organism can always keep its blood sugar level in a healthy balance – assuming a healthy diet.

This mechanism ensures a reliable supply of fuel even during longer periods of fasting or in stressful situations. Because in times of great excitement, when z. For example, if your neighbor shows up with a swinging pitchfork to ask you where his cherries might have gone, you or your organs need more energy than when picking cherries or sitting at a desk.

Thanks to glucagon, the brain now has enough power to come up with good excuses (because of the cherries) (it was the birds, of course) or, in the worst case (pitchfork!), to flee. The muscles are now ready for a possible chase or – provided you have your bastard ready – for a hand-to-hand fight, as are the heart, lungs, and all the other organs involved.

Eventually, things will calm down again, you eat a little something (this time from your own garden to spare your nerves), the blood sugar level rises, the liver can store new supplies in the form of glycogen and the cycle begins again.

Now we have got to know and understand the natural sugar cycle in the body. But what happens when a soft drink sweetened with sugar or a roll with jam is eaten?

Processed Sugar Travels Through the Body: The Unhealthy Sugar Cycle

In the case of industrial sugar, it is usually found in significantly higher quantities in sweets, flour products, etc. than in whole foods and sweets, sweetened drinks or table rolls contain hardly any helpful accompanying substances that could slow down the sugar (dietary fiber). . So it comes down to a real sugar shock. The blood sugar level quickly (within half an hour) reaches a brief peak value of 150 to 180 mg, which then results in a very high insulin release.

These are not logs of wood that arrive in the blood, no, these are dust-dry sawdust that burns like cinders – and they arrive pure, in huge, uncontrollable quantities that (!) would never occur in nature. With this sawdust, however, no permanent, cozy, and warming fire is possible. In a matter of seconds, a flash of sparks blazes up and goes out again just as quickly.

Instead of a warm glow and peacefully working organs, nothing remains but a heap of ashes, irritated intestines, and an exhausting blood sugar level lying on the floor. For such special cases, glucagon is simply too slow and so the adrenal cortex jumps in. This is where the hormone adrenaline is produced, which is known for spurring the body on to incredible feats. Under its influence, glucose (sugar) is released at top speed – and if need be, adrenaline will squeeze the very last residue of glucose from the liver.

The all-rounder’s magnesium and calcium

Only those substances that can “identify” themselves are allowed into the organ cells. The “passports” are controlled by the two minerals magnesium and calcium. Only when these two minerals recognize the “passport” as valid is the knocker on the cell door allowed to enter, in this case, the hauler with his truck full of sawdust (the glucose-laden insulin).

Without magnesium, the glycogen (the briquettes) stored for times of need can only be converted back into glucose (logs) with difficulty.

Calcium is the bodyguard of cells

At the cell door, calcium mainly has the function of getting rid of toxins and pollutants. If the calcium level in the organism was always optimal, then pesticide residues and heavy metals from tooth fillings or environmental toxins would not even have the slightest chance of getting into the cell. Endless calcium wears and tears through sugar, Unfortunately, calcium is needed for completely different tasks in the body flooded with factory sugar, so it hardly has time for the bouncer job.

Vitamin B1 is in short supply

Acids are formed in the cell when glucose is converted into energy. These should usually be neutralized by an enzyme containing vitamin B1. But vitamin B1 is scarce in a malnourished body, so the acids happily circulate in the body, making it really acidic.

Calcium molecules must now rush in to bind all the acids so that they can be excreted. The “bouncer” calciums are then assigned to do this. These are often not sufficient in number and so whole calcium special units have to be extracted from bones, teeth, and vessel walls.

Calcium absorption can already be blocked by phenomena such as bloating and bloating, so human bodies fed with processed food are severely deficient in this mineral.

The organism then has to make one suicidal decision after another in order to survive at least the moment. But only if wholesome food arrives again soon will this remain without serious consequences.

Otherwise, you can expect a whole range of so-called civilization diseases. The sugar rush!

What’s next in the industrial sugar cycle? The insulin that appeared in excess has meanwhile done a great job, the blood is almost sugar-free, and the sparking flashes of straw crackle in the organs and cells.

Meanwhile, people feel hyped up. This is the so-called “sugar rush”.

But the fires are quickly extinguished and the original blood sugar peak has fallen rapidly, past the base value – and it reaches a record low of maybe 50 mg only about 1.5 hours after climbing its peak.

Followed by the “Sugar Blues”

So if you had breakfast at 9 a.m., this process explains the “11 a.m. hole” or the so-called “sugar blues”. This low can last for two hours or more. You feel completely groggy and would like to lie on your ear for a while.

This is because such a low blood sugar level is no less alarming for your body than the recently reached sugar peak and you have to be “sedated” as a precaution due to an acute lack of energy.

This condition is called low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is all the rage. You are by no means alone with this syndrome, on the contrary, you are actually very “trendy”!

According to medical estimates, it is a current widespread disease from which every second person suffers either permanently or sporadically (after days of excessive sugar or carbohydrate consumption, e.g. at Christmas or similar).

Since all organs and above all the brain are permanently dependent on the supply of glucose, even relatively slight hypoglycemia leads to damage to organs and body cells, a longer-lasting even serious impairment of brain functions.

The acute symptoms of this are very individual: sweating, palpitations, cravings, and anxiety are possible. But nightmares also indicate hypoglycemia at night, e.g. B. after a particularly rich bedtime treat.

Visual and speech disorders, unsteady gait, mental confusion, and emotional disorders such as irritability, pessimism, aggression, or misplaced silliness complete the program.

Here too, in extreme cases, drifting into a coma is the end of the story. The vicious circle until glucagon finally rushes out of the pancreas and from the briquettes (the glycogen) in the liver produces easily transportable logs (freely available glucose) and thus new energy, it is known to take a while.

Too high blood sugar level

Do you remember the cramped “road conditions”? As before with insulin, too much glucagon is ordered again and a corresponding amount soon swims in the blood, which in turn requires insulin.

With a diet that follows, with no isolated carbohydrates and no sugar, the body will generally be able to regain its balance.

Now, since you can’t (or don’t want to) doze off in your hammock for a few hours in broad daylight after your breakfast with jam and bread, if at the slightest hint of hunger or tiredness you grab another denatured snack to give your body a “new “Sugar rush”, then your blood sugar level will immediately shoot up to dizzying heights again.

In many people, the blood sugar level is pumped up several times a day in this way – and the body has to try to correct the regular slump in energy in the form of a much too low blood sugar level at the expense of the glycogen stored in the liver, all the briquettes have to be chopped up.

The caffeine in coffee or the cigarette in between also increases the blood sugar level and your body is therefore in a state of unbearable permanent stress, which you will feel sooner or later.

Children in particular are affected by hypoglycemia. Perhaps even more often than adults, they prefer to live off sweets, pasta dishes, sweet casseroles, puddings, etc. Such children are often either listless and always tired, or nervous and overly lively (in other words: hyperactive).

Many complain of headaches, and indefinable abdominal pain, and some suffer from sporadic dizziness and fainting spells. A change in diet usually ensures that the children are transformed into balanced and symptom-free people within a very short time.

Back to you: If your eating habits leave your body with no other choice, sooner or later it will decide on an extreme, depending on your disposition and general condition. From now on you either belong to the group of chronically hypoglycemic people, wake up with a blood sugar level of sometimes less than 30 mg, hardly get out of bed, and are not responsive when you are sober, or you will belong to the group of hyperglycemic in the future, whereby your blood sugar level will then be in the rushes up to 240 mg in the first hour after a corresponding meal, only to drop again far too quickly to its initial value of around 100 mg within the next two hours.

Both appearances can hardly be distinguished from each other on the outside. The secret of the increased susceptibility to infection In both cases, the rapid drop in blood sugar levels extremely weakens the resistance of those affected. In this state, one seems to be particularly susceptible to colds, sore throats, flu, bronchitis, pneumonia – and even polio.

The best health insurance: Avoid hypoglycemia

The American doctor Dr. Benjamin Sandler was able to observe that in the case of a tendency to hypoglycemia, in the future you have to prevent your blood sugar level from falling below the base value – and you are immune to all these phenomena!!

To put it another way, a minimum sugar content of 80 to 100 mg in 100 ml of blood protects the body like an insurmountable barrier for disease triggers. But it is not only the low level of blood sugar that has a debilitating effect, the length of this condition is particularly important. The longer it lasts, the more vulnerable you become and the more severe the diseases picked up during this phase.

A journey into childhood

Physical overexertion also increases the susceptibility to diseases. If you are no longer a child, please remember the time when you were still one: constantly on the move, especially in summer. By bike, roller skates, and football. As a refreshment on the go, there were biscuits, lemonade, chewing gum here, ice cream there, and sometimes a cola.

After a wild bike ride over hill dale, you, and your friends come to a bathing lake and jump in to cool off (it’s around 35 degrees in the shade). They romp and bawl until they knock you out. are.

Outside again in the shade, someone unpacks a bag of chocolate bars, and together they eat up the whole package and drink soda. Despite the heat, you begin to shiver, and with great difficulty, you make it home. You’ve “caught something”! Her head hurts, her stomach is rumbling and her mother finds out she has a fever. What happened? Your excessive physical activity has used up all the glucose molecules present in the blood. Not a chunk of wood to be seen.

The muscle cells in particular could be supplied with large amounts of fuel. Then all the briquettes (glycogen reserves) in your liver had to be broken down into individual pieces (glucose) and also made available to the muscles. You sweat profusely, causing many of your meager mineral stores to swim away with you.

You constantly quenched your thirst with sugary drinks or ice cream.

One insulin shock chased the next. Both excessively strenuous muscle work and excessive sugar or carbohydrate consumption – as we now know well enough – sooner or later the blood sugar level falls below the base value.

Both together (muscle work and sugar consumption) plus the additional stress caused by the sudden cool down – cold water, cold drinks, cold ice cream – not only lead to an almost dramatic drop in the blood sugar level, but also to the fact that it is even more so at this dangerous depth will stay long.

This means that the reserves are almost exhausted, the liver is reluctant to give out the very last emergency supplies, and the feverish search for fat that could possibly be converted into glucose.

Mineral deficiency

The lack of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, trace elements, and vitamins of the B complex means that smooth processes only rarely occur in the organism, that sporting activities (which are actually praiseworthy) can have threatening effects and the blood sugar level, as a result, can only wake up very slowly from its long period of hypoglycemia.

Nerves suffer in periods of hypoglycemia

However, whoever or whatever is responsible for diseases now had enough time to spread in the weakened and unprotected organism. In this long-lasting hypoglycemic phase, some organs and body cells sometimes had to wait a very, very long time before glucose was replenished. The time was unbearably long, especially for the brain and nerve cells!

Some nerve cells almost starved, and in their efforts to get in touch with additional blood vessels that might still contain glucose, they grew large and thick, and they swelled up.

But even if this had been crowned with success, their ability to utilize the glucose they got their hands on is now reduced by up to 60%, as their outer wall has expanded to such an extent that their natural consistency is now altered. The nerves are “bare”, they say, they are extremely irritable and vulnerable. Also prone to dangerous diseases and symptoms affecting the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) such as B. signs of paralysis.

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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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