Hopped up on sugar?
Sugar buzz. Sugar rush. Sugar high. We’ve all felt it at one time or another. The can’t-sit -still feeling from overloading on sugar. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Your body, specifically your nerves, are giving you a sign!
The body and brain need sugar, but too much causes damage. Sugar doesn’t just affect the nervous system of diabetics. Our bodies are not made to process the levels of sugar found in some of our diets. Too much sugar can affect anyone. All that excess sugar in the blood stream has to go somewhere and some of it gets pulled into the nerves. In the nerves it gets converted to sorbitol. Sorbitol attracts water into those nerves resulting in swelling. And swelling causes damage¹. If you already have neuropathy, adding the impacts of excess sugar has the potential to aggravate your condition.
The occasional sugar high may be OK; the big problem is day in, day out excess sugar. That causes real damage. Repeated sugar surges into the bloodstream, big or small, cause swelling then shrinking, swelling then shrinking and that wears on your already distressed nerves. Over time the impact builds.
Does sugar effect you?
If you keep a journal of foods and how they affect you, great! Look back and see how you slept on a night when you overindulged during the day. If you’re like most of us and don’t keep a journal then try a little test. Avoid sugars for a few days, or better yet a week. By the way, this includes things like bread and starches. Take note of your symptoms. Then the next time you have a crazy day. Birthday cake, ice cream, or chocolate overload, what ever your guilty pleasure, see if your symptoms flair later that day, or night. Did you have a sleepless night from burning feet or other neuropathy symptoms? That’s your nerves, in their own way, telling you it’s too much!
Sugar is not just hard on your nerves
Your neuropathy isn’t the only thing that will suffer. Studies have shown that sugar causes a multitude of other problems. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health sugar accelerates the aging process. Teresa Aubele PhD, in her blog post, Why a Sugar High Leads to a Brain Low, said: “When you consume too much sugar, your pancreas secretes insulin to nudge that extra sugar into your cells, and too much insulin can deplete your normal glucose levels, depress your immune system, and lead to kidney disease.” Excess sugar also affects white blood cells weakening your immune system making it more difficult for your body to fight off infection.²
(1) Dr. James Haxton’s to the Calgary Neuropathy Association. November 2016.
(2) PerriconeMD. Sugar and Aging
Linda is an independent information technology business analyst and Vice President of the CNA.