Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Sugar, Sugar, Sugar! Sugar! Too Much is Bad for the Brain

Basic physiology tells us the brain and muscles utilise and require certain amounts of glucose to function optimally. However, a recent study by Yale University Prevention Research Centre confirms this as MRI scans showed, increased chemical activity in certain parts of the brain after the consumption of sugar-laden foods. This increased chemical activity is likened to the brain activity of persons using narcotic drugs.  Despite this, the Sugar Association in the USA maintains the claim sugar is not an addictive substance.

Nevertheless,the issue with sugar consumption is not that it can be found in both natural and processed food products but has to do with the concentrated food sources; also known as the sugar dietary bombs or sugar bombs.

These sugar bombs are defined as foods with little or no nutritional value outside of fats and carbohydrates due to large amounts of refined or processed sugar contained within the product.
For example, the primary nutrient gained from the mauby drink is carbohydrates, more specifically sugar (43 grams of sugars or 10 teaspoons).
While mauby is said to have health benefits, the amount of sugar in the beverage negates this effect.

 Suggested Reading: Why do we crave the sweet stuff? Science points to your brain

Constantly, being exposed to concentrated sources of added sugar increases our tolerance for sweetness and overtime, the body begins to crave more and more sugar. (Read More) This can lead to poor dental health and a gradual increase in fat storage in certain areas of the body, especially when physical activity levels decrease and the daily diet lacks nutrient-rich foods such as whole-grains, legumes, vegetables etc.  (Read More 1, 2, 3)

To get control of your sugar habit:
First, start tracking your sugar intake.
This can be done over the course of a day or a typical week. Write down all that is consumed. no matter how small. Take note of the time of day, the mood you were in and environment. All these details can help you identify eating patterns (e.g. afternoon candy, breakfast coffee beverage and doughnut) or triggers (e.g. loneliness, boredom, socialising etc. ).

Second, become aware of the foods that contain added sugar
 Reading the ingredient list of all packaged and commercially made items would help you identify whether the product has sugar added. If there is no ingredient list, then thread with caution.
Home-made or ready-prepared items such as stews, coleslaw, potato salad, pelau, cooked vegetables, tomato-sauce and soups, pose less of a challenge as long as the diet is not being compromised by the addition of sugar-laden beverages, and sugar-laden treats -fruity yoghurts, cakes, cookies, doughnuts, candy, Indian sweets, sweet breads, sweetened nuts etc. Nevertheless, if you are making it yourself, it is best to cut back on the amount of sugar added. If these items are purchased, then be mindful of portion consumed, the beverages consumed with the meal, beverages consumed throughout the day, and be mindful of the snacks chosen.
In all, many foods have sugar added to them during processing for set reasons. The foods that pose a challenge to most, are the unlikely sources of added sugar or hidden sources.

 Suggested Reading: 56 Different Names for Sugar

Thirdly, know the daily limit for added sugar
The World Health Organisation suggests adults aim for 25 grams (6.5 teaspoons) of added sugar a day. While, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons (36 g) of added sugar a day (4 teaspoons of added sugar children, 6 teaspoons of added sugar women; 9 teaspoons of added sugar men).
Too much sugar in the diet makes you a fat-builder, not a fat-burner.
 Limit all added sugar in your diet to 4 to 9 teaspoons per day.
Fourthly, enjoy foods that do not require the addition of sugar
Sticking to three or five balanced meals a day can help control appetite and cravings for sugar. Often, times sugary foods are consumed as a snack or light meal when main meals are skipped or consumption is delayed. The trick is to eat on time (no more than 4 hours a part) and ensure each meal comprise at least 20 grams of protein. (Read More: 1, 2, 3, 4)
There are so many amazing foods to enjoy.  
Do not feel deprived, simply enjoy food from different food groups throughout the day.
An example of  day's worth of balanced eating 

Thank you for reading! 
Hope you enjoyed the post.
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For view video:
New study finds sugar is also bad for your brain

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