Sugar: We’ve all heard that too much of it can lead to weight gain and cavities. But, did you know that excess sugar can also have a detrimental effect on your hormonal health?
How Does Sugar Impact Your Hormones?
Sugar can compromise one of your body’s most important hormones: insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas that helps your body use sugar for energy. It’s also closely linked to other key hormones, namely testosterone and estrogen.
When you eat foods that are high in sugar (especially refined sugar and simple carbohydrates), your blood sugar spikes. To compensate for this spike, the pancreas releases high amounts of insulin.
If you frequently consume high amounts of sugar, your blood sugar may lose its sensitivity to insulin because it’s always in your bloodstream. As a result, the excess sugar won’t leave your bloodstream, potentially leading to fatigue, brain fog, depression, and even diabetes.
Estrogen and Testosterone
Insulin spikes can reduce levels of sex hormone binding globulin, or SHBG, in the body. SHBG is a crucial protein that binds to extra testosterone and estrogen in the bloodstream. Low levels of SHBG due to an insulin spike can lead to heightened levels of these hormones and an overall hormonal imbalance.
As if that weren’t already enough, refined sugar can strain the adrenal glands, which are responsible for regulating cortisol, the stress hormone. A spike in blood sugar levels can cause an increase in cortisol levels, making it more difficult to manage stress.
Reducing Your Sugar Intake
While removing all sugar from your diet can prove nearly impossible, you can limit your sugar intake with a few simple habits.
- Opt for fiber-rich, unrefined carbohydrates including whole grain bread, rice, and pasta, legumes, non-starchy vegetables, and fruit.
- Switch out soda for sugar-free seltzer water, kombucha, or mineral water with a slice of lemon.
- Switch out white sugar for applesauce in your favorite cake and cookie recipes.
- Sweeten oatmeal and cereal with fresh fruit instead of sugar.
The experienced practitioners at The Center for Natural & Integrative Medicine can help you overcome hormonal imbalance and excess sugar intake with a personalized treatment plan. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!