Sugar and Your Brain | Things Your Brain Hates

Your Brain Hates Sugar and All High Glycemic Foods - Sugar and Your Brain

Your Brain Hates Sugar and All High Glycemic Foods – Sugar and Your Brain

Sugar and Your Brain

Your Brain hates Sugar. Really. It hates it. Not just the white crystals that you add to your coffee but ALL foods that are broken down quickly to Sugar in your Body. That includes things that many of us eat every day which we don’t even think are sweet – such as bread, potatoes and pasta.

These are all High Glycemic foods. This means that they will convert to Glucose (the digested form of sugar that we have in our bloodstream) too rapidly for your Body to burn and  this increases the amount of Sugar in your bloodstream.

Make no mistake this is a crisis situation for your Body. It has to remove the Sugar as quickly as possible to limit the damage that it will do. It floods your Body with a hormone called Insulin which allows the sugar into your cells where it can be safely locked away – as fat. So your blood sugar level then becomes too low and sends you running for food to raise it up again. (Kind of ironic then that all the low fat products that we buy are loaded with Sugar in place of the fat – making us fatter and hungrier).

If you want a Happy Brain you need to provide it with a steady energy supply. Stop eating Sugar and all foods that are digested into Sugar too quickly for your Body to use – the High Glycemic foods.  Every time you eat them you are damaging your Brain by creating this surge in blood sugar that disrupts its energy supply. Your Brain is extremely sensitive to your Blood Sugar/Insulin level.

Current research suggests that the lower you keep this over your Lifetime, the healthier you will be.

High Glycemic Foods and Nutrition

High Glycemic foods are the least nutritious foods that we eat. Grains have such low nutrients that most cereal products have artificial vitamins added to them. Processed sugar has zero nutrients. They steal your Brain friendly B vitamins just to be digested. They also deplete your stores of Brain friendly Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is now said to be the most common nutritional deficiency in Western diets.

High blood sugar also depletes your Brain’s supply of ‘BDNF – Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor’. This is the chemical that protects your Brain cells and creates new ones.

High Glycemic foods cause massive amounts of Inflammation in your Body and Brain – they cause a process called Glycation to take place. This means that the sugar molecules get tangled up with the proteins and fats in your Body and Brain – making them unnaturally rigid.  This literally ages you.

Because you can’t see or feel the Inflammation that they cause it can be easy to ignore it until you are feeling old and ill. If you need something you can see to make this feel real to you, take a look at the skin of someone over 40 who has eaten a diet of  High Glycemic foods – the sagging, the wrinkles, the change in colour – it’s all down to the damage produced by glycation. It does bad things to your skin.

One of the best benefits that I noticed once I got off my high-sugar diet was that my wrinkles started to diminish and I no longer burn the instant the sun hits my skin. My eyes are also much clearer and sparkle more – glycation is also responsible for cataract formation.

Still not convinced? Sugars feed the bad bacteria in your gut so that the bad guys start to outnumber the good guys. The bad guys create harmful toxins which can pass through your gut wall and into your Brain (the good ones create vitamins). They can hijack your immune system (which is mostly situated around your gut) and they turn on the bad genes in your DNA. Sugars also feed tumours.

In fact the Diseases of Civilisation (cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, asthma etc – and the symptoms of Unhappy Brains – Alzheimers, Dementia, Anxiety, Panic etc) only appear after the population starts to eat High Glycemic food  – ie they include sugar and grains in their diet. Because High Glycemic foods – the quick burning carbs – are very rare in nature.  Our ancestors didn’t eat pasta or bread,  sugar or flour. They just weren’t available.

Reduce Sugars To Make Your Brain Happy

The bottom line is this. You cannot have a Happy Brain whilst you are messing around with its Energy Supply. And you cannot have a steady Energy Supply whilst you are eating foods that digest faster than you can burn them.  It’s not something that most of us want to hear. Most of us have a sweet tooth. (Is sugar addictive? | Signs You May Be Addicted To Sugar) But the rewards that you get from giving up your ‘treats’ will make it worth it.  The quality of your Life depends on the quality of your Brain.


Is Sugar Addictive?

Is Sugar Addictive? It was for me. Bad cravings.Worse Anxiety

Is Sugar Addictive? It was for me. Bad cravings.Worse Anxiety

Is sugar addictive? I think it can be. I think it is for me. It also turned out to be one of the main causes of my anxiety, fatigue, brain fog and mood swings.

Once, when I was about to sit an exam, I brought in a tray of cakes for my fellow students to eat before we were called in to the exam room. Unfortunately we were called in just as I arrived. There was nowhere to leave the cakes so I took them in and put them under my desk, thinking that we could eat them later. But when the exam started I couldn’t think about anything other than that tray of cakes. Everyone else was scribbling furiously but I just couldn’t focus. After a few minutes of panic I picked up the cakes and ate the lot – to the amazement of the invigilators. Then I got cracking and finished the exam.

I never thought of myself as an addict. I mean if I had absolutely had to have the same cake or chocolate bar at the same time each day I would have felt worried. But it is an easy addiction to hide from ourselves because it just blends into our life. Adding a pudding to a meal or snacking on something sweet is just normal behaviour.

No one feels the need to hide a sugar addiction.  You won’t lose your job, shame your family or be shunned by friends. In fact, we can proudly buy cards, t-shirts and mugs promoting us ourselves as ‘chocoholics’. Sugar is fun, it’s ‘naughty but nice’, a treat, a comfort food. It represents love and celebration.

And yet….there were a couple of things that worried me to be honest.

Sugar Blues

I used to buy chocolate bars three at a time. One to eat whilst leaving the shop, one to eat when I got home (or on the way if desperate) and an emergency one to eat a couple of hours later when the sugar cravings hit again, to keep me going whilst I went out foraging for more.

I never bought more than three because I absolutely couldn’t keep anything sugary in the house. Just like in that exam room, it would call me back to the cupboard (just for tiny little bites) until it was gone.

Whenever I tried to cut back on sugar the cravings would increase massively. I would find myself substituting other sugars – ‘this is fine, it’s made with honey!’, ‘Molasses is ok, it’s full of vitamins’. I would turn to those good old stand-bys, the ‘diet’ bars, filled with artificial sweeteners – until I cracked and went back to the sugar again.

Usually I went back to the sugar because I would reason that it was ‘healthier’ than the artificial stuff. I could rationalise that chocolate was full of magnesium and antioxidants so that was ok. From there it was just a small step back to the shortbread.

It worried me. Just a tiny niggle in the back of my head that said that maybe I wasn’t in control. Maybe I actually had a problem.

Sometimes I didn’t eat much in the evenings because of the sugary snacks I’d eaten during the day. Sometimes I’d eat so much sugary food I would feel sick but would still crave it again a few hours later. Sometimes I’d find myself going out of my way just because I needed to buy something sweet.

Time to Say Goodbye to Sugar

The tipping point came when I started to get sick. The more exhausted I became, the worse the sugar cravings were. I’d always tried hard to have a healthy diet – sugar was the only part that I thought was unhealthy. I got my blood sugar tested and it was high. I decided the sugar had to go.

It was very, very hard. I would lie in bed at night, thinking about the sugar that I’d eaten during the day convinced that I was heading for diabetes and vowing to never touch it again…. Then I would get up and eat sugar for breakfast. This carried on for a few weeks until I was saved because I caught flu. I couldn’t get out of bed. I didn’t eat. That break was enough to see me through the worst of the cravings and I haven’t gone back to eating sugar since – almost up to my third year without it now. Which amazes me, given its previous strangle-hold on my Brain.

Back In Control

At first when I was shopping I would pick out the cake or chocolate that I would have bought, but not buy it. I wanted to but I didn’t. Then I went through a phase of avoiding the aisles with the sweet stuff in.  I just couldn’t look at it in case it jumped into my arms.

Now I’m fine. I can walk past the sugary food, I can buy it for other people, I can keep it in the house. I’m not trying to resist it. I have no feelings towards it at all. I never crave it. It no longer even registers as food.

When I look back at the time I spent thinking about sugar, seeking it out, bargaining with myself, justifying it, eating it, feeling bad and worrying about it – yes I think I was addicted. And when people apologise for eating sugar in front of me because they think I’ll feel bad, or tell me that they only eat honey or organic sugar, I wonder if it has the same control over them.

Not everyone who eats sugar becomes addicted. But it’s not a good food choice – especially if you suffer with anxiety. Almost all my clients who had problems with anxiety, had problems controlling sugar cravings.

The good news is that you can rid yourself of your ‘sweet tooth’. You will find that there is a whole new world of food beyond it. I’m glad that I did it. I’m not tempted to go back.

Sugar and You

Please share your experiences below….Are you addicted to sugar? Are you trying to it give up? Have you tried in the past? Have you succeeded? If so, how did you do it? How did it change things for you? If not, what’s stopping you? Does sugar give you cravings or worsen your anxiety?

Signs You May Be Addicted To Sugar


What are the signs you may be addicted to sugar? Read on to see how many of these scenarios apply to you.... Sugar is a Large Part of Your Diet You only eat dinner to get to dessert. Sometimes, dessert actually is your entire dinner. At a buffet, … [Continue reading]

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