Sugar and aging - dispelling the myths

The human body needs sugar to function and run its metabolism. But how is sugar and aging connected? Sugar, even though it tastes delicious and, if consumed too freely, is terrible for our health. Along with harmful exposure to the sun, AGEs' are a top cause of aging of the body. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are when protein or fat is combined with sugar. Here are 7 reasons why sugar is bad for your body:

Sugar and Aging, why is sugar bad for your body? Dispelling the myths.

1. Sugar causes inflammation

Consuming too much added sugar can wreak havoc on your health and lead to numerous negative effects, including increased blood pressure and chronic inflammation that can pave the way for heart disease. Sugary beverages are particularly harmful when it comes to weight gain, as their liquid calories don't fill you up in the same way solid foods do; it's far easier to consume more calories when indulging in sweet drinks.

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 2. Sugar negatively affects the brain

Sugar has a significant negative impact on our brains. It not only affects our memory and learning capacity but also leads to addiction-like effects, driving loss of self-control, overeating, and weight gain. Research has linked diets high in sugar with cognitive impairments, negative neuroplasticity and emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression. Excessive sugar consumption can even lead to inflammation of cells in an area of the brain which often results in depression and anxiety in children.

 It's clear that diets high in refined sugar can harm the brain. Traditional diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, are much more beneficial for mental health than those with a lot of added sugars. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of how much sugar we consume and opt for healthier alternatives instead.

Research also found a connection between low BDNF and Alzheimer's, depression, and even dementia. Another exciting study found that sugar has a similar chemical structure to cocaine! Sugar then not just alters the brain reward system like dopamine and opiates. It also causes addiction due to a surge in these pathways. Consequently, sugar addicts and drug addicts have similar withdrawal symptoms.

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3. Sugar increases skin aging

Wrinkles are an unavoidable part of aging, but excessive consumption of sugar can accelerate their appearance. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) generated from the consumption of refined carbs and sugar cause damage to the collagen and elastin that helps keep skin firm, leading to premature wrinkling. Studies show that women on a high-protein, low-carb diet have fewer wrinkles than those on a low-carb diet. To slow down the effects of aging skin, it is important to watch your sugar intake and opt for healthier dietary options instead.

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4. Sugar suppresses white blood cells

Too much sugar consumption can lead to a decrease in white blood cells (WHCs), which help protect the body from infections. When WHCs decline as a result of this, it triggers inflammation that leads to acne and sebum production, contributing to an oily complexion. Additionally, cortisol is released as a result of this inflammation, leading to further skin issues.

Research suggests that trans-resveratrol may help to regulate blood sugar levels. Studies have found that supplementing with resveratrol can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce fasting blood glucose concentrations, which has been linked to a lower risk of developing chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

5. Excess sugar causes weight gain

Eating too much sugar can affect your body's hormones, particularly leptin. This hormone tells your body when to stop feeling hungry and is key in keeping you from overeating. Sweetened foods like desserts are especially disruptive to leptin, and thus may cause weight gain if consumed in excess. Sugar can even interfere with decision-making and impulse control by disrupting inhibitory neurons in the brain.

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6. Sugar Increases Cellular Aging

Telomeres are protective caps at the end of chromosomes, which contain our genetic information. They help protect our cells from damage but naturally shorten as we age. Unhealthy lifestyle choices like drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can speed up this process, causing cells to deteriorate and malfunction faster than normal. In fact, researchers have found that regularly consuming 590ml of sugary soda equates to 4.6 additional years of aging!

7. Sugar leads to diabetes

Diabetes affects over 60 million people in Europe and is the seventh leading cause of death. According to the National Diabetes Education Program, the chance of having a heart attack nearly doubles if one has diabetes. 68% of diabetics actually die of heart disease or stroke. The good news is that good diabetic management practices can reduce one's risk of complications.

Understanding Sugar and Aging:

Sugar and aging have a direct correlation which is why it becomes essential to monitor one's sugar intake. One can reduce their consumption of excess sugar by observing what one eats. Here are a few tips to help you reduce the harmful after-effects linked to sugar and longevity.

  1. Aim for complex carbohydrates: To reduce the negative impact of sugar on aging, opt for healthier alternatives like complex carbohydrates and antioxidants. Choose fibrous foods such as nuts and grains, as well as whole fruits to get maximum fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  2. Avoid simple carbs: Avoid simple carbs like candy or soda that break down quickly into glucose which can cause insulin spikes. Similarly, skip out on fruit juices because they contain pure fructose which doesn't have the added fiber to slow down sugar's release into your bloodstream or liver.

Our understanding of the relationship between sugar and aging has become increasingly important as many unhealthy lifestyle habits can speed up the aging process. To reduce your intake of excess sugar, it's important to modify your diet. Avoid simple carbohydrates like candy and soda, and opt for complex carbohydrates like fibrous foods, low-glycemic foods, and antioxidant-rich berries instead. Supplementing with a healthy alternative such as liposomal NMN can also boost cellular energy without raising insulin levels. With these tips, you can help curb the effects of sugar on aging and thrive in your lifespan!