Been papped with some ‘mysterious white powder’?
1. REFINED TASTE
But ﬁrst, to sugar school, because there’s a difference between ending a box of Maltesers in one sitting and making a fruit bowl vanish. All sugar in the body is converted into glucose. When glucose levels are high enough, your pancreas will release insulin, which preps your cells to take in glucose. It’s then used for energy or stored as glycogen for later. Once glycogen stores are full, any remaining glucose is converted into fat. ‘The sugar derived from fruit [fructose] is metabolised in the liver, meaning it takes longer to enter the blood,’ says dietitian Jo Travers, author of The Low Fad Diet. The granules that are added to foods to sweeten them and that you heap into your tea, however, are sucrose, which is made up of fructose and glucose. Because the glucose is readily available, by the time the fructose has been metabolised, glycogen stores are already full, which means more fructose is stored as fat than when it’s eaten alone.
2. FLIGHT OR BITE
Your body responds to a Lion bar in the same way it responds to an actual lion. ‘A sudden inﬂux of sugar into your bloodstream will trigger a stress response, characterised by the release of cortisol,’ says dietitian Nicole Rothband. And much like it does when you’re about to become lunch, your body goes into a ﬁght-or-ﬂight mode. Think a racing heart and the sweats. In response to the perceived threat, glycogen is released from the muscles or liver, rather than from fat stores, as it’s more readily available. Useful if the threat is someone trying to eat all the eggs from your Haribo.
3. SUGAR RUSH
Feeling sweet? Sugar will do that. It triggers the release of dopamine it’s the reason a night in with Ben and Jerry is so appealing after a bad day. Consider yourself a regular victim of the sugar rush? A US study found that sugar has no discernible effect on children’s behaviour, so it’s doubtful it would affect yours. But it does make your body work overtime. ‘When your blood sugar levels go up, your body pumps out a load of insulin to mop it up in an e ort to reach a state of equilibrium again.
4. OUT OF (ALL) SORTS
Consume too much sugar and you could suffer an almighty comedown. ‘When you’re producing all that insulin, the body tends to overshoot,’ says Travers. Insulin then funnels all the sugar into your cells, and a dramatic drop in blood sugar follows, symptoms of which include sweating, shaking and feeling dizzy. The sugar struggle is real.
5. CONFECTION COMPLEXION
Feel like sugar is coming out of your pores? You’re not far off. ‘A high-sugar diet leads to the production of advanced glycation end-products [AGEs]’, says nutritional therapist Alice Mackintosh. Meaning? ‘Sugar binds to collagen, which undermines the structure and function of the collagen in your skin, making it appear saggy and unhealthy,’ says Rothband. Essentially, AGEs, well, age you. The process has been delightfully dubbed ‘sugar sag’. Sag off , we say.