Are you a sugar addict? Do you find it difficult to say ‘No’ to a piece of chocolate or a muffin? Do you need sweets when you are stressed, when you are tired or when you are happy? You are not alone! Many people have the same addiction. Some will gain weight as a result, some won’t, but the harmful effect is the same.
Last time I was talking about the dangers of being on a very low-carb diet, now let’s see what happens when you eat too much sugar?
Why are people addicted to sugar?
There are two answers on this:
1. Simply because processed sugar is addictive. The same way as many other addictive substances, legal and illegal ones. When you crave sugar, that means you are addicted to it. It is not even your fault in the very first place, as sugar was very seriously promoted few decades ago, table sugar itself advertised as being the main source for energy. Well, it does give you an energy boost, but which will last very short, and then you will crave some more sugar. And what happens in the meantime to your body has never been explained to you.
Food producers know about the addictive nature of sugar, and the fact that adding sugar to food will make you crave more. That is why interestingly enough you will find sugar even in the chicken if you check the label of a prepacked chicken wrap for example. You eat an ‘innocent-looking’ salad at a restaurant, and the dressing is sweet as honey, because it is loaded with sugar…
2. The second reason for craving sugar is that the bad bacteria and fungi you developed in your body due to unhealthy food choices, lives mostly on sugar. You might not even know about your serious gut problems, although there are quite many symptoms: feeling bloated, feeling tired, craving sugar, foggy feeling in the morning etc.
And if you are a woman, let me ask you something: Have you ever taken or used Canesten? When asking women, 8 or 9 out of 10 will say “Canesten is my best friend”. Why are we talking about this when the topic is about sugar? Well, you might not know, but the symptoms you experience before buying any Canesten product in the pharmacy, basically show that the bacteria-imbalance in your body has been growing for many-many years. So you’ve been having the initial problem for years, and the source is the harmful bacteria in your digestive system. Therefore Canesten will only mask a symptom, but you still need to deal with the main problem. And one of the reasons for the main problem is the high consumption of processed sugar.
How can you know which one is the reason for your sugar craving?
It is easy to get a test showing if you have any fungi, or bad bacteria in your body. If your test is negative – which is great – then you are simply addicted to sugar. That itself will lead to many problems if you don’t deal with it.
In case that your test is positive, then a very serious diet plan is required for about 6 months.
Now let’s look into the first type of craving: ‘simple’ addiction
We call it addiction, so you have to prepare that once you want to stop eating sugar, it will be a tough journey at the beginning. But at the end seeing your favorite sweets will have the same effect on you as seeing a piece of stone. Doesn’t it sound great? And you will crave healthy things instead of the harmful stuff.
My suggestion is to stop eating sugar drastically, cutting out all sugary food at the same time. Not on a gradient! As I said, tough days will follow. The same as when giving up any kind of addiction.
To make it less tough, you can prepare yourself, and have some healthy sweet stuff at hand:
-Healthy sweetener: Preferably xylitol or stevia, but agave nectar or maple syrup are also better than plain processed sugar
-Your favorite fruits
-Dried fruits fore more sweetness: figs, dates, apricots
-Prepare your own “chocolate-heaven”: mix together raw cocoa powder, one of the above listed sweeteners, a bit of water and one of your favorite fillers: flaked almonds, shredded coconut, walnut pieces – it can be anything you like. It is ready in a few seconds, and it will give you the same satisfaction as your favorite chocolate brownie!
Of course ideally we want to ‘push’ the whole thing towards eating more fresh fruit and less dried ones, less syrup, but this is the part where it is okay to go on a gradient. At the beginning you will be able to eat huge amounts of the dried fruits and the choco-heaven created by yourself (beware though of the laxative effects of high amount of fruit sugar, so don’t be scared if you need to use the bathroom more often).
As time passes, day by day, you will feel the need for less and less of the very sweet stuff, and you will start craving more of the less sweet raw fruits. When you get to this point, you’ll know that you did it!
What happens in your body when you eat processed sugars? How do people develop diabetes?
I don’t want to bore you, so I’ll try to make it as simple as possible, but I think everyone should understand what’s going on in their body.
Anything we eat, supposed to feed our cells. As discussed before, our cells need sugar. When we eat any kind of food, the carbohydrates from it are transformed into plain sugar (glucose), and transferred in the blood to all the cells. There is a little guy called insulin, which goes and opens the door of the cell to let the sugar in. The boss, our brain, makes sure there is never too much sugar in the blood, so he is the one who gives the order to the pancreas to release the little guys and make sure the sugar is transported from the blood to the cells.
Now what happens when you eat something loaded with processed sugar?
The bloodstream is flooded with sugar almost immediately after eating (that’s when you feel the added energy). The brain sends the signals to the pancreas and lots of insulin is released in order to “clean” the blood from the extra sugar. The cells are bombarded by the little guys (insulin) to let the sugar in the cell. When the job is done, that’s when you feel tired again and go for another coffee or a pack of sweets.
And the biggest problem is this: our cells start to refuse letting sugar in, because they don’t need them any more, not in that sudden big quantity. They refuse to let sugar in, which leads to high sugar levels in the blood. This makes the brain sending more and more signals to the pancreas to release insulin. The pancreas release more and more insulin, faster and faster, as they get the order from the brain. And suddenly they get tired. They either slow down or stop working completely. And that’s the sudden point when the doctor diagnoses diabetes. And the person has to be on a very restrictive diet till the end of his or her life, and has to inject insulin in his/her body every day, as otherwise the sugar would never be transported from the blood to the cells… Sad, isn’t it?
It is so easy to prevent it!
Just stop eating processed sugar and replace it with naturally occurring sugars. Those sugars need to be digested and transformed by our body first, so they enter the blood at a much slower pace, therefore not making the cells full, nor making the pancreas tired. And a very good thing about healthy sugars is that they will provide energy for longer, without getting that sudden tiredness feeling.
This was a quite long read, I know. Well done, if you got to this point!
Now you only need a decision. Let’s say you do the shopping for the healthy replacement tomorrow, and start quitting sugar the day after. Sounds like a plan?
Exercise can help you in the transition period, and in general in quitting unhealthy food. Most people report less cravings and better food choices after exercising, and in general when exercising regularly.
Come along to one of my ZUMBA classes, and you won’t regret, for sure. CLICK HERE!