Sweet treats are the go-to prize for many of us after doing a good job. This is because sugar actually activates the brain’s mesolimbic dopamine system or the “reward system.” Dopamine is a chemical messenger that controls the brain’s pleasure centers. The chemical released makes us feel good and makes our bodies seek for that experience more. However, when second rounds of cake and donuts happen too often, it can lead to more serious conditions such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.
The incidence of diabetes has skyrocketed globally. In the Western Pacific region, the Philippines ranks fifth in the number of diabetics within the population. Local experts estimate more than 5 million diabetic Filipinos out of the 100 million.
One factor in the prevalence of diabetes in our country is the increased intake of food with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is 20 percent sweeter than regular table sugar, so it can be more addictive.
Consuming excessive HFCS can be a burden to the liver, since it is the organ that is tasked to break down fructose. Glucose, uric acid, free radicals, and triglycerides form when liver cells decompose fructose. High levels of these substances result to several illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and fatty liver disease.
Here are some effects of eating too much sweets in your body:
Leptin is one of the hormones that regulate our appetite. It signals our body to stop eating when we are already full. However, our bodies develop leptin resistance when we have high levels of fructose. This means we won’t feel satiated enough, therefore we end up eating more than we should.
Glucose needs to enter your muscle, fat, and liver in order for your body to have energy. Insulin is the hormone responsible for delivering glucose to our cells. When we consume high amounts of glucose, our brain signals the pancreas to release more insulin. This is what happens when there are “spikes” in our insulin levels. Frequent spikes can lead to insulin resistance, which means our cells won’t be able to absorb sugar anymore even if the hormone is present.
As a result, there is an excess amount of glucose in the bloodstream, which can cause hyperglycemia or “high blood sugar level.”
Alzheimer’s disease and sugar consumption
Studies suggest that high glucose consumption may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) because of a process called glycation. This process happens when glucose bonds with proteins and lipids without an enzyme, causing connective-tissue damage and chronic inflammation. One of the enzymes responsible for controlling the buildup of abnormal proteins in the brain is the macrophage migration inhibition factor, or MIF. When glycation happens, the MIF’s function is disrupted, therefore contributing to the development of AD.
With the wide availability of fast food and processed foods, people should cut down sugar consumption and moderate food intake in general. This will help prevent chronic diseases like diabetes and others. Individuals who have a 9-5 lifestyle must practice making their own lunch for better diet management and avoid keeping sugary snacks in their work desk.
ManilaMed offers diagnostic tests and treatments, basic education, and recovery support for sugar-related diseases. Start your journey to healing, to know more, visit ManilaMed’s facebook page and website.