Sugar can affect your hormones by causing imbalances. Read on to understand how this happens.
Is sugar bad for you?
Sugar – we all love it! But like everything in life, enjoying it in moderation is key to good health. There’s a long list of problems caused by eating excess sugar, which is hidden in so many of our foods (think white bread, rice and pasta, yoghurt, alcohol and energy bars). Insulin, which converts blood glucose into energy, has to work much harder when excess amounts of sugar are eaten. This ultimately leads to insulin resistance and excess amounts of glucose in the blood, which eventually gets stored as fat and raises the risk of diabetes.
Other effects of sugar on your body include:
- Lowered immune system
- Poor skin
- Increased stress levels
- Depressed thyroid function
- Depleted B vitamins, responsible for energy and mental health
- Excess testosterone production in women
- Reduced testosterone production in men
How does sugar affect hormones?
High levels of insulin can affect the normal workings of a women’s ovaries, resulting in the production of the hormone testosterone. Higher levels of testosterone can affect the development of follicles, raise the likelihood of PCOS, cause PMS and affect the regularity of periods, as well as causing excess body hair and acne. Whilst excess sugar in the diet can raise testosterone levels in women, contradictorily it may lower testosterone levels in men, leading to lower libido and erectile dysfunction as well as obesity and diabetes. For both men and women, insulin production can inhibit the production of human growth hormone, which is responsible for optimal muscle mass, body fat and bone structure.
How does sugar affect ageing?
Sugar can be a major cause of aesthetic ageing, which already accelerates for women when their hormones drop during the menopause. It breaks down collagen, reducing skin elasticity; it drives production of sebum oil, clogging pores; and it overworks the skin’s detoxification processes, causing redness, breakouts and eczema. It also dehydrates the skin. A study has shown that long-term exposure to high levels of glucose increased perceived age by five months for every 1 mmol/litre increase in blood sugar levels. The study found that people aged 50-70 with high non-fasted blood sugar levels consistently looked older than those with lower blood sugar levels. Crucially, these results remained after taking into account factors that are known to influence facial ageing, such as smoking, sun exposure and BMI.
What can you do?
Are you eating too much sugar? Are you worried about the effect of sugar on your hormones? We offer a test to check your average blood glucose levels using the indicator HbA1c, which provides an accurate indication and early detection of your risk of developing pre-diabetes and diabetes. We also offer the DUTCH test to check hormone levels and metabolites and finger-prick blood testing.