We know now, we would all be addicted to sugar, even since birth. Yet we continue to enjoy sweet desserts and recipes without being too wary of the misdeeds that have been pointed out to our bodies by numerous studies: weight gain, obesity, diabetes, cavities… if you show these signs, the advice of the pros is irrevocable, moderate your addiction.
The sweeter you eat, the sweeter you crave! It is a fact that sugar is addictive. An addiction from which it is difficult to detoxify. However, if you reduce your sugar intake, you can easily lose weight, feel lighter, in better shape but also look younger because sugar makes you age prematurely. Indeed, under the effect of sugar, collagen and elastin, responsible for the density and elasticity of the skin, become rigid. Afterwards, you won’t be able to say that you don’t know.
Sugar hides everywhere, even in foods you would never have suspected. And it is the cause of many diseases such as diabetes, overweight and cancer. What are the symptoms of excessive sugar consumption?
1. You snack all the time
Not being able to stop snacking is a sign of sugar addiction: “It’s called the reward circuit, which causes your brain to ask for sugar again and again,” says Anty Handa.
Another reason for cravings is hypoglycemia, which follows the ingestion of sugary foods. “We’re short of energy, the body only asks one thing, and that is to return to a baseline blood sugar level. This leads to cravings,” explains Véronique Liesse. Hence the adage that sugar calls for sugar…
Unfortunately, it’s a vicious circle, since we tend to throw ourselves on cookies and other sweet foods when we’re hungry between meals.
Are there really tips and tricks to stop snacking?
Drink, drink and drink… water. We can’t say it often enough, but the body is 60-70% water and water allows, in addition to its elimination functions, a better assimilation of the nutrients present in food. Drinking small sips of water with pure lemon juice throughout the day has an effect on lasting satiety. Green tea can also be consumed for its fat-burning and diuretic effects.
2. You are often tired
The famous “bar bursts” encountered during the day are often the consequence of our nutrition – especially when sugar intakes are too high.
“We sometimes observe reactive hypoglycemia induced by a sudden rise in blood sugar levels, followed by an equally sudden drop accompanied by dizziness, a drop in energy, and an overwhelming hunger,” explains Anty Handa, a dietician-nutritionist in Paris.
So it is not a question of constant fatigue over time, but rather variations in energy.Scientists point out that sugar is not the only cause of these dietary drops.
“There are also foods that are low in sugar, and which are hyperglycemic. Cornflakes, for example, contain only 8% sugar, which is not much. Yet they cause reactive hypoglycemia. This is also the case with rice cakes,” explains the specialist.
Beware of foods with a high glycemic index
In these products, it is the manufacturing technique that is involved: the glucose in the food will be released very quickly into the body. This is why it is better to give priority to the concept of glycemic index, rather than that of sugar.
When you eat a high GI food, you first have hyperglycemia. The amount of insulin produced by the body is then disproportionate to the amount of carbohydrate ingested, so the drop is too fast, too sudden, causing hypoglycemia. With all the accompanying symptoms: fatigue, cravings, trembling, trouble concentrating.
3. You are always thirsty
When we have too much sugar in our blood, the body produces urine to eliminate the excess, which is why we often feel thirsty. “Be careful not to get diabetes insipidus if the thirst is excessive and the urine is very diluted and excreted in large quantities,” warns Anty Handa.
Overall, eating salty food opens up the thirst a little more immediately. “But thirst can also reveal insulin resistance, or even diabetes, because the latter causes significant urinary elimination. At this stage, we are already in a more severe state ».
Like salt, sugar makes you thirsty. A diet containing too much sugar or too much salt will cause you to become dehydrated for several reasons, the main one being that in order to eliminate too much sugar, the body will produce more urine. In fact, you will go to the bathroom more often and drain water from your body, which will have a purifying function. Diabetes insipidus can be diagnosed if you feel excessive thirst, due to too much urine being eliminated by the body.
4. You have skin problems
If you suffer from acne, rosacea, psoriasis or seborrheic dermatitis, it is likely that a nutrition too rich in sugars is the cause. “Above all, you have to look at skin problems in a global perspective, so it is important to have good hygienic and dietetic rules, especially by limiting your sugar intake,” explains Anty Handa.
“Sugar can act on the skin by the insulin secretion it causes,” says Véronique Liesse. In excess, insulin can be pro-inflammatory and thus promote these small inconveniences. In addition, “when there are hormonal imbalances linked to sugar, a little too much androgen, and therefore testosterone, can be produced, which can lead to the appearance of pimples”.
Nevertheless, the nutritionist reminds us that we are not all equal when it comes to skin problems. “We can get pimples without eating sugar, it’s important to say so ».
5. You have gained weight
Yes, we talk about it less, but sugar makes you fat, just like fat! Indeed, sugar transforms itself into lipids once in the body. Sweet products are in fact very caloric, especially industrially processed products, which are generally coupled with fats (cereal bars, chocolates, cakes, sodas, etc.). They most often contain “empty calories”, i.e. they do not contain any nutrients useful to the body. These calories will therefore be stored and will make you gain weight.
Sugar can make you fat in certain situations. Because glucose is stored until it is released to provide the body with energy, you will gain weight if physical activity does not match the amount of food you eat. By reducing sugars and engaging in more physical activity, it becomes fairly easy to lose weight.
To lose weight, it is better to stop eating pastries, cakes, and industrial cookies. If you eat a lot of white bread, reduce the quantities or even replace it with wholemeal bread. Avoid all industrial dishes and cook your meals yourself. If you can’t manage to do without cakes, make them yourself and use natural cane sugar instead of white sugar.
6. You are depressed
Irritability, mood swings, negative thoughts… All these symptoms are intimately linked to the variation in blood sugar levels. Véronique Liesse explains that depression can be a consequence of reactive hypoglycemia.
“To make serotonin, you need a small amino acid called tryptophan. This must pass through the brain barrier, and for that there must be a little bit of insulin, and therefore sufficient blood sugar,” she explains.
When you are in hypoglycemia, this tryptophan no longer passes into the brain, you no longer make serotonin. And a fall in serotonin makes you sad”. Problem: the brain sends you as an alarm signal the desire to eat sugar. But snacking on cookies makes the problem worse, since it will cause new hypoglycemic attacks. “Conversely, if you eat starchy foods that keep your blood sugar constant, you don’t have this problem”.
“We know that this phenomenon can affect mood, but be careful not to take too quick a shortcut to depression,” warns Anty Handa.
7. You suffer from insomnia
If you regularly have insomnia, you may want to review your sugar intake. There is a link between sleep problems and refined sugars.
According to one study, a menu rich in foods with a high glycemic index is a risk factor for insomnia, while regular consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables reduces the occurrence of this sleep disorder.
By identifying other factors that lead to insomnia, simple and inexpensive interventions with fewer potential side effects can be found. »
Studies have explored a possible link between refined carbohydrates (sugar, whites, white rice…) and insomnia, but the results have been inconsistent.
Since these studies did not follow participants over time, it is not clear whether a diet high in refined carbohydrates triggers the onset of insomnia or whether insomnia leads to eating sweeter foods.
One way to determine if carbohydrates cause sleep problems is to examine the emergence of insomnia in people with different diets.
Gangwisch and her team analyzed data from more than 50,000 participants in a study in which they completed a food diary. They looked at whether those with higher dietary glycemic index were more likely to suffer from insomnia.
Different types and amounts of carbohydrates raise blood sugar levels to varying degrees, the researchers said. Highly refined carbohydrates, such as added sugars, white bread, white rice and sweetened soft drinks, have a higher glycemic index and cause blood sugar levels to rise more quickly.
8. You have more cavities
Dental caries is a multifactorial infectious disease involving three factors: the ingestion of fermentable carbohydrates, the presence of cariogenic bacteria, and the host’s defense capabilities, particularly against the acidity produced by these bacteria.
Sugar is converted into acid by bacteria, which attacks the tooth enamel and causes cavities. To limit this phenomenon, it is of course recommended to brush your teeth in the morning and evening but also to never share your cutlery because bacteria nestle on it.
More than sugar, it is in fact bacteria in our mouth that are involved in the carious infection. These bacteria need sugar to live. Once brought by food, it is synthesized by these bacteria.
Fortunately, after each food intake, saliva participates in remineralization, but only to a certain extent. This is why a good oral hygiene, in particular tooth brushing, is of paramount importance.
A reduction in the frequency of sugar intake is equally important. In addition, one to two visits to the dentist each year will help to ensure that there are no cavities.
9. You often have headaches
Moderate sugar intake is generally not considered a risk factor for headaches. The opposite is true if you consume too much sugar. In this case, the insulin level rises and can cause your blood glucose levels to drop sharply, leading to headaches.
Sugar can cause headaches,” says Dr. Andy Dowson, Director of Migraine Services at King College London. “Migraines tend to be triggered by changes (in sleeping patterns or diet). If you have consumed a lot of sugar, your body may overreact by treating it too quickly. As a result, your blood sugar level goes from very high to very low. This can be a trigger for headaches and migraines. “There is some evidence to suggest that high blood sugar levels over the long term can lead to brain aging, which is associated with dementia. In a study published last year, researchers scanned the brains of 249 people aged 60-64 with normal blood sugar levels. After four years, those with higher than normal blood sugar levels were more likely to have a loss in the hippocampus and the amygdala – two areas of the brain associated with memory and cognitive function.