Sugar and your brain

I’ve been sugar-free for a few days and already I’m starting to feel, well, sharper. My memory seems better and my afternoon brain fog is gone. Is this because of my no-sugar eating plan I wondered? So, I googled sugar and brain health and this is what I found.

Not only is sugar bad for your weight, skin and heart, but also your brain.

And here’s what will happen to your brain when you give up sugar:

You may experience cravings – Possibly intense cravings.

I’m writing this blog post on day 3 of my no-sugar lifestyle and, although I slept like a little log last night (a sugar-free bonus) my head is pounding today. And I never, ever get headaches..well, unless I’m hungover and I’m certainly not hungover today. Nope, I suspect this is good old sugar withdrawal. Since sugar helps release the feel-good chemical serotonin in your brain, giving sugar up temporarily depletes your levels of the happy chemical until your body adjusts and manufactures more on its own.

I know this headache and slightly off feeling will only last a few days so I’m staying strong, but on my way home tonight I had a fantasy about opening a bottle of maple syrup and drinking it straight from the bottle (I’ve actually done this before. More than once). So, yes, you may experience intense sugar cravings for a few days.

Your memory and learning skills will improve.

A 2012 UCLA study on rats found that a diet high in sugar impairs learning and memory by literally slowing down the brain by stopping communication between brain cells. I personally don’t feel extraordinarily smarter these past three days but I totally believe that sugar does negatively affect the brain, especially in people who are sensitive to it, so I’ll keep you posted!

 

Your depression and anxiety will lessen.

If you’ve ever had a sugar binge, followed by a sugar crash, you know up close and personal the feelings of crankiness, mood swings, tiredness and brain fog. This has happened to me on more afternoons than I care to count. And it all happens because eating a piece of chocolate cake or drinking a soda causes blood sugar levels to spike and then crash. This is exactly how sugary food messes with the neurotransmitters that keep our moods calm and stable. I’m definitely looking forward to less afternoons of feeling like I’ve hit a wall, very hard.

 

You can worry less about age-related cognitive decline and/or dementia.

There is a body of research showing that a sugar-filled diet increases the risk of cognitive decline as we age as well as developing Alzheimer’s disease. I don’t know about you but Alzheimer’s is one disease that I have watched older relatives suffer from and that I will do anything to avoid getting. If giving up sugar is insurance against future dementia, I’ll buy that insurance, thank you very much. Find out more about the research here.

So, to summarize, these are a few of the sneaky ways that sugar can affect your health, happiness and your entire life. It is now thought to affect our brains in a similar way as cocaine and other opiates.

And even though I’m typing away through an annoying headache and occasionally day dreaming about chugging maple syrup straight out of the bottle, I’m also so excited to see how I’ll be feeling in a few weeks.

Until next time.

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4 thoughts on “Sugar and your brain

  1. This is awesome!

    I need to kick the sugar habit too. I want to follow an Ayervedic diet. I did a year or two ago and it was amazing. I felt so much sharper and had more energy too. My current struggle is that it’s summer and I am hanging with friends and drinking more than usual. I keep telling myself I want to cut coffee out as well until morning and I smell the coffee. Frig – if it’s not one thing, it’s another.

    I was thinking about my mom too. She is eating so many sweets these days. Grace Windover loves baking and brings my mom pies and squares on a weekly basis. She eats tons of ice cream and she just dreams of dessert. – I guess how can you fault or criticize someone when they’re 90. Last time we were up at the cottage. I went over to my mom’s at 5:30 to see if she wanted to have supper with us. She said no thanks she wasn’t hungry. She had just had a piece of lemon meringue pie that Grace made her. Later on that evening I went over again to see if she wanted a late supper and she said “no thanks, I already ate at 5:30” I said what did you eat. She said “I don’t remember but I am full” – she was still full from the pie. How frickin nutritious is that?

    Nice to chat with you last night. Hope you and Nicky are feeling ok today.

    On Fri, Jul 14, 2017 at 10:04 AM, eat less sugar you’re sweet enough wrote:

    > Laurel posted: “I’ve been sugar-free for a few days and already I’m > starting to feel, well, sharper. My memory seems better and my afternoon > brain fog is gone. Is this because of my no-sugar eating plan I wondered? > So, I googled sugar and brain health and this is what I ” >

  2. Thanks for the comment. You’re such a sweetheart. Remember, be mindful this weekend. Don’t judge yourself. Just pay attention to what you are eating and drinking. Baby steps. xoxo ❤

  3. Good luck going sugar free; I managed it for about a month once and it felt amazing!! Unfortunately I found it very hard to maintain indefinitely, I love baking too much to ever give it up completely.

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