Oh, Sugar. A lot of us are quite addicted to your sweetness. You’re almost like a drug. (Actually, sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and studies have shown that too much of it has been linked with higher risks of cancer and Alzheimer’s.)
How can you tell if you’re genuinely a sugar addict? For example, emotional eating, hiding sweets, eating them only when you’re alone, or feeling guilty afterwards are just a few of the symptoms.
All joking aside, sugar is one of the top most addictive legal substances, which science has proven. And it’s not just candy and ice cream that we must worry about. Sugar is in everything! So, if you haven’t really thought about what sugar does to our body, keep reading to find out what exactly this lethal substance really can do. (Besides the obvious: rotting our teeth and gaining weight!)

Our Brain
Back to the addictive part, sugar immediately sends little signals to our brain which makes it release the “love drug” dopamine. This is what makes us crave sugar even more and causes us to eat when we’re not even hungry.

Our Pancreas and Liver
Type II Diabetes alert! When we have too much sugar in our body, our pancreas releases insulin to be used as energy. It has to work even harder to keep our blood sugar down, which means more insulin is released. Having too little insulin can cause nerve damage. If the pancreas stops producing insulin because it’s overworking itself, it will shut down. And that basically leads to developing type II diabetes.

The same goes for the liver, which also has to work even harder to process excess sugar. All the extra sugar usually turns into fat build-up and can cause high cholesterol or heart disease.

Our Hips and Joints
When our body doesn’t burn sugar, what happens exactly? Yes, it gets stored away as fat. When we have extra weight that doesn’t suit our body frame, it weighs down on our joints, literally. The impact severely damages the collagen that surrounds and protects them.

Our Skin
Yes, even our skin. The same way excess sugar damages the collagen around our joints, except it’s the collagen and elastin, which is our skin’s support system. These two are what keep our skin firm and prevent wrinkles, sagging skin, etc.

Our Heart
Sugar inflames the artery walls, for one. And since sugar leads to weight gain, which is a hazard for our resistance to insulin and our metabolism, it can increase our chances of getting heart disease, meaning we’re increasing our risk of death.

Know your sugars! Added sugar is the biggest enemy here and it’s found in anything that is processed. Also, avoid sweeteners labeled as artificial or natural. Natural sugar is found in everything else. It’s so important to make a healthier choice before reaching for food or drinks loaded with the “bad” sugars. Think of fresh fruits and yogurt, apple slices or celery sticks with peanut butter, or trail mixes and nuts. Or, just stick to smaller versions of sweet treats

About the writer:  Chaukei Ngai

I was born in Hong Kong, two months premature and because my lungs were not developed enough to breath on my own, I was put on a ventilator. My whole young life, I always felt like I was struggling just to catch my breath, and many took many trips to the hospital in order to get oxygen. This went on till I was in my 20’s. Then, when I was student at York University in Toronto, I went to my first yoga class and my life completely changed. I’ve never looked back. It was the first time I ever experienced a real connection to my body. I found my passion, and my calling. I found stillness. Eight short years after that Bikram’s class in Toronto, I became the International Yoga Asana Champion. And I have my beautiful son who does yoga with me. I always say that Yoga taught me how to breathe, but it’s also the fire in my life that propels me forward, both spiritually and competitively.

Chaukei

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