Home Christian Lifestyle Healthy Living How sugar destroys your health in one hour by Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.

How sugar destroys your health in one hour by Leigh Erin Connealy, M.D.

4 min read

Most of you know the long-term health conditions that result from regular sugar consumption: obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney and liver problems, just to name a few. What you’re less likely to realize is the immediate effects of sugar on the body…what happens in those first few minutes after overindulging in the sweet stuff. You may not feel what’s going on right away, but it doesn’t take long for things to go from calm to chaotic.

Even if your diet is generally healthy and you do a good job of avoiding added sugars and sweets, what I’m about to tell you should make you think twice before “treating yourself” to a candy bar or donut…

A Play-By-Play of Sugar’s Ravaging Effects

All it takes is one hour—60 minutes—for sugar to quite literally wreak havoc in your body, and it starts within mere minutes of it touching your tongue.

Minute 15-30: Blood Pressure Spikes

Once the sugar passes through the stomach and into the small intestine, it is absorbed by the blood stream. The pancreas then gets to work, releasing insulin to convert as much of the sugar as possible into energy.

The inevitable excess that cannot be converted into energy gets sent to the liver.

While all this is going on, the body misinterprets the spike in sugar and energy production as the result of a stressful event (think: car accident or being chased by a burglar or wild animal…). So it responds by releasing the stress hormone cortisol, as well as epinephrine, which causes blood pressure to rise.

Levels of the brain chemical dopamine start to increase as well. This causes the distinctive “sugar high” (which is frighteningly similar to the highs and consequent addiction achieved with illicit drugs like heroin). But it doesn’t last long…

Minute 30-45: The Crash Occurs

The high ends quickly, within minutes. What follows is the miserable “crash”—the major drop in blood sugar.

You may start to feel tired, irritable, fatigued, depressed, and headachy. In a desperate attempt to try to restore stability, your body pulls stored sugar from the liver. But it’s fighting a losing battle.

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