This time of year means Valentine’s Day, 2 Birthdays and then Easter. Translation, “Sugar, 2 Sugars and Sugar again.” Translation, “moodiness, weight gain, and irritability.” Why do I do this to myself every springtime? I take these occasions as a ticket to splurge because I don’t want to feel deprived. I tell myself that if I don’t allow myself a piece of cake, or a piece of candy I am going to eat more of what I am depriving myself of later, so I should have it now. Not such a great idea.
As a registered nurse, I should be well aware of the effects of too much sugar on the body, which I am. But many times we disregard the effects of too much sugar on the brain. The brain loves sugar, it’s the quickest way for it to get its energy. However, it can have very real consequences and long term effects.
What I found during my research is that sugar can impair your memory and your cognitive ability. It can alter your mood and also cause depression and sadness when you are experiencing the inevitable sugar low that comes after consuming such high amounts of sugar.
So why do we do this to ourselves? I believe it’s the reward response. We see sugar and treats as a reward and the more we consume sugar, the more we tell our brains that it is a reward. Therefore, if we are having a bad day, a lot of people will then attack that last piece of birthday cake in the fridge to give your brain that reward it has been looking for.
In reality, however, we are more than just our brains. We are smarter than a dog and should distinguish between choosing something for a reward or contemplating what that something will do to our body in the long run if we choose that reward.
Happiness always comes from within and chasing after a reward such as sugar is futile and will only hurt us in the end.