Are you a sugar addict? Did you know that the number one cause for stalled weight loss is unstable blood sugar? What’s more important than the calorie content of foods is their hormonal effect on the body. Certain foods like refined carbohydrates play havoc with our blood sugar and inhibit weight loss.
Riding the Sugar Roller-Coaster
Most of us are caught in a viscous cycle of high and low blood sugar. When our blood sugar is high we force our body’s into a ‘fat storing’ mode which inhibits weight loss. When our blood sugar is low our cells don’t get the energy they need and we feel tired and hungry. You see how this can turn into a viscous cycle?
Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for maintaining normal blood sugar levels. So, when we eat a meal, it’s insulins job to get glucose into the cells where it’s used for energy. The faster and higher your blood sugar spikes – the faster and lower it will drop. So imagine you’ve had a coffee and a muffin for breakfast. A couple of hours later you’re tired and hungry. You grab a white bread sandwich, packet of crisps and a chocolate bar. These foods rapidly break down into glucose and the spike in blood sugar perks you up temporarily. The body can use some of the glucose for energy but the excess will go straight to your fat cells – particularly around the belly!
The 2pm Slump
After some time you may get what is known as a ‘sugar crash’ and feel completely fatigued making high energy sugary foods seem irresistible. Continuous highs and lows in blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance. The cells stop responding to insulin and the sugar can’t get in, this causes foggy brain, prolonged hunger, extreme cravings and fatigue.
Why We Crave Sugar:
There are a number of different reasons why our bodies crave sugar.
- It’s genetic: Cravings for sweet foods can be built into our genes which often explains why we find it so irresistible despite it’s long list of side effects.
- It’s a mood booster: Sugar increases the absorption of an amino acid called trytophan which is used to make our feel good hormone, serotonin.
- Unstable blood sugar: Stress, excess caffeine and a diet high in refined carbohydrates causes spikes in blood sugar. The sudden crash which follows stimulates both appetite and drives sugar cravings.
- Low endorphin levels: During that time of the month, endorphin levels drop which causes cramps. Sugar helps to increase endorphins in the brain which has a pain relieving effect.
- Candida: An imbalance of gut flora can allow for yeast and fungal overgrowth which have a higher demand for glucose.
Chromium is a mineral that is essential for balancing blood sugar. It is found in certain foods like broccoli and eggs but only in minimal quantities. The more sugar you eat the higher your demands for chromium will be. Without chromium, the uptake of glucose into cells will be inefficient, hence a deficiency is linked with high blood sugar and weight gain. An organic chromium supplement like Chromium Pharma Nord can help to improve insulin sensitivity. What does this mean in layman’s terms? You’ll be more likely to use carbohydrates for energy and less likely to store them as fat.
Written by Veronica Burke, Health & Nutrition Coach, Marketing Coordinator Pharma Nord, www.pharmanord.ie