Just in time for the holiday feasting extravaganzas, let’s take another deep dive into the hot topic of sugar.
Sugar fuels every cell in your brain.
Your brain is designed to see sugar as a pleasurable reward too. That’s why when you eat it, you get a hit of that good ol’ feel good chemical, dopamine. Gotta ensure you remember that this taste signifies that you’ve found food essential to your survival. At least that’s what our brains needed to know for sure in our cave women days.
So, you can see how it makes complete sense that the more you eat it, the more you want it. Survival baby!
But the chemically engineered sugars and substitutes of today pack a sweet wallop far greater than the sugar of our foremothers. They derived their sense of sweetness from the tiniest of, by our standards today, bitter berries.
This sugar/reward pattern designed to keep our ancestors alive is still alive and kicking today. It’s working 24/7 to reinforce your sugar seeking and eating behaviors.
It’s this conditioning since early childhood that can turn a sweet-tooth into a sugar addiction.
And we all know that addictions are tough habits to break.
What causes that sugar rush?
The sugar in your candy, cake or ice cream — called a simple carbohydrate — is quickly turned into glucose in your bloodstream. Your blood sugar levels spike.
Simple carbs are also found in fruits, veggies, and dairy products. But these foods also have fiber and protein that slow the absorption process.
Syrup, soda, candy, and table sugar take the fast track right to your brain. Hello dopamine hit!
Your body moves glucose out of the bloodstream and into your cells for energy.
To do this, your pancreas makes the hormone insulin. As insulin does it’s job, your blood sugar level may have a sudden drop.
This rapid change in blood sugar levels can leave you feeling wiped out and shaky. That activates the hunt for more sweets to regain that sugar “high.”
So can you see how that sugary treats can set you up for more sugar cravings.
Think you don’t have a sweet tooth, but crave bagels, chips, or french fries?
These starchy foods are complex carbs that the body breaks down into simple sugars.
Eaten without better quality foods, starches can make blood sugar surge and crash like sugar. White rice and white flour do this too. Highly refined starches like white bread, pretzels, crackers, and pasta are the worst offenders.