Are you much of a soda drinker? Do you drink sugary sodas on a regular basis? If you have an addiction to sugary sodas or know someone who does (and I think we all do), please pay careful attention. Sugar affects your brain in many ways. Here’s what you need to do to protect your health.
Why Sugar Addiction is Bad for Your Brain
I went through a period many years ago when I enjoyed drinking Diet Pepsi. Now though, I find soda too filling and haven’t been a soda drinker for years, although there are times when a ginger ale tastes great.
Many people are hooked on these cold, fizzy, sweet drinks and have developed a biochemical addiction to them.
In studies comparing the addictive properties of sweeteners, sugar proved more addictive than cocaine.
Because when consumed, sugar increases serotonin levels within the brain. This increases the production of endorphins.
What Are Endorphins and How Do They Affect Your Brain Health?
Endorphins, which are brain chemicals, (much like drugs), trigger opioid receptors, thereby eliciting the sensation of happiness. This artificial increase in serotonin levels causes the body to down-regulate its natural production and release of serotonin.
Addiction begins to creep in and you can’t feel the happiness effect of serotonin without using an artificial stimulant.
What is Serotonin and How Does It Affect Your Moods?
Serotonin is responsible for controlling mood and appetite. Without serotonin, you get depressed and crave more sugar. This creates an emotional bond between happiness and sugar (or soda sweetened with sugar).
Sugar addicts become dependent on it to increase serotonin levels so that they’ll feel happy. That explains why, if you have a sugar addiction, you might find yourself dropping whatever you are doing and going for your fix! And of course, soda manufacturers are well aware of this chemical addiction.
What Is the Problem With Sugar Addiction?
By now you’re wondering if being addicted to sugar is a problem. And if sugar affects your brain, in particular.
It leads to both obesity and Type II diabetes. Drinking sodas will also elevate your blood sugar to dangerous levels. One soda per day increases your risk of diabetes by 85 percent, which can reduce your lifespan by 11 to 20 years.
Now the good news.
How to Get Rid of Your Addiction to Sugar
The addiction can be totally overcome in about three weeks.
To do it, you need plenty of exercise and sunshine, along with L-tryptophan and whey isolate.
The amino acid L-tryptophan is the precursor to serotonin (melatonin, too). It is termed essential because you need it for proper development, yet your body cannot make it. You must obtain it from your diet.
Without L-tryptophan, your body is unable to “feel good” and many women will say they feel “blue.” The typical reaction is to reach for an “artificial feel good” like sugary beverages, but at a huge health and cost to your brain.
Natural sweeteners like stevia (a natural alternative to sugar) and agave can help you ease off the soda (use them to make a natural soda from sparkling water and lime), as can herbal teas (like Yerba Mate).
So, I’m not intentionally picking on the soda drinkers in the crowd, OK, maybe I am just a little! Think you’re doing no harm by drinking DIET soda? You are, but that’s a whole other topic for another time.
As always, I want you to become more aware of the choices you make and the consequences that come with them. Sugar affects your brain! Over consuming sugar, and sodas in particular, has hefty consequences for your health, brain, and well-being. Try these tips for three weeks and see how you feel.
If you feel stuck and need additional support to adopt a new healthy habit or routine, consider working with me. We can partner up in setting goals, drawing on your skills and strengths, and implementing strategies to help you find your way to lasting healthy success.
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- Why Sugar is Bad for Your Brain
For over 15 years, Shelli has been a freelance writer and wellness coach on Joyinmovement. She writes about brain fitness, creating a healthy lifestyle, traveling the world, and making positive habits stick. Stop procrastinating! Take action, join her free newsletter.