By Wilma Bedford
Have you had your morning tea and biscuit or felt sleepy with a haziness settling on your brain after lunch and all of a sudden your colleagues irritate you? Look at your sugar intake and the contents of your lunch box; this could be the reason why you are not functioning optimally.
Sugar can have a detrimental effect on your cognitive capability and your emotions, not to speak of your general blood-sugar levels or weight gain.
What does sugar do to you?
Sugar can be addictive; it releases dopamine, which is a reward hormone. The brain puts up barriers to protect you against excessive dopamine release, but in order to get more of the feel-good dopamine, more sugar is necessary to activate the extra dopamine ─ that is why you eat two chocolates instead of only one. Your energy levels also vary and you have to eat more sweets. Sugar starts a cycle of overeating and your body craves more sugar. Be prepared to experience a mood change after such an overdose of sugar, to be less patient, short-tempered and even depressed.
At work you will have problems focusing and you forget instructions, you struggle to remember and to understand or process complicated concepts and you become very touchy.
Too much sugar inhibits the functioning of chrome receptors that control emotions and plunders your vitamin B supply (which also balances emotions) and leads to mood swings, aggression and stress.
Your immune system is suppressed because the ability of your white blood cells to control destructive bacteria is also affected. And look at processed sugar, which causes inflammation of the mucus membranes, for one of the causes of sinus attacks.
Sugar has many names: sucrose, glucose, syrup, dextrose, to mention but a few. Replace processed sugar by stevia or xylitol, or by honey, maple syrup or molasses, which are less harmful than sugar.
How much sugar is healthy? Men should not take more than nine teaspoons (150 calories) a day, while women can take six teaspoons (100 calories) per day and children five teaspoons. However, it is not so easy to stay with this guideline because sugar is added to almost all food products and although sugar-free juices contain no added sugar, the fruit itself contains sugar. Therefore, limit your intake of processed food and look at the food label to see what the sugar content (calories) of the product is.
Replace the teatime biscuits and rusks by wholegrain rusks and avoid extra sugar intake by filling your lunch tin with salads of beans, lentils, avocado, spinach, feta and lean meat cuts and enjoy a more productive day.
Consuming Sugar Can Impair Your Cognitive Performance. http://www.independent.co.uk
Seven Ways Sugar Is Affecting Your Mental Performance. http://www.benedenhealth.co.uk