As someone with a relentless sweet tooth, I have a difficult time saying no to any dessert. From ice cream to candy bars, it's all divine to me. But given the many creepy things that happen to your body right after eating sugar, even I might back off the sweet stuff a little bit. Sugar can mess with your body and brain in some very real ways.
That said, I'm not trying to demonize sugar altogether. But for the most part, health experts agree that less is best. For instance, consuming no more than about six teaspoons of added sugar per day is recommended by The American Heart Association. The body does not require sugar to function, and added sugars don't provide any nutrients to food, as further explained by The American Heart Association.
So why is something that doesn't provide needed nutrients so dang tasty and addictive? Eating sugar releases the hormones dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which boost a person's mood, according to The Independent. In other words? People eat sugar because it makes them feel good by activating the brain's reward center.
But that's far from the only way sugar affects the body and brain. Here are some of the more concerning things that happen to the body just a few minutes after eating sugar.
1. Bad Bacteria Covers Teeth
You've probably been warned about cavity-causing sugar since early childhood, but the real extent to which sugar affects teeth may surprise you now. Once inside your mouth, sugar acts as a sort of magnet for bad bacteria, which feeds on the sugar and creates dental plaque, according to Healthline. If it isn't washed away quickly, this plaque can go on to create cavities.
2. Brain Reacts To Sugar Like An Addictive Drug
Feeling addicted to sugar isn't really an exaggeration. Regularly bingeing on sugar creates a reaction in the brain similar to drug abuse, because both substances activate the release of dopamine, according to a study in Neuroscience. In some ways, the brain reacts to sugar like an addictive drug. Those cravings for sweets are very real.
3. Body Mimics A Panic Attack
For some people, the sugar rush is a wildly unpleasant feeling. Eating sugar can feel like a panic attack to some individuals by causing blurry vision, clouded thinking, and fatigue, according to Psychology Today. The effects of eating sugar are more stressful than anything else.
4. You Keep Feeling Hungry
To make matters even more complicated, sugar doesn't do much in terms of satisfying your hunger. "Refined and processed sweeteners are unrelenting in their ability to entice you to overeat and yet, don’t provide satiation, satiety, or nourishment," said dietitian Julieanna Hever, MS, RD, CPT, in Eat This, Not That! Your body is still hungry. This may not be the creepiest reaction of all, but it's definitely one of the most annoying.
5. Immune System Inhibited
Sugar may even make you more vulnerable to getting sick. In fact, eating too much sugar can inhibit the immune system cells that work to fight off bad bacteria, according to WebMD. For this and the other listed reasons, you may want to reevaluate the role of sugar in your diet.