The Bitter Effects of Refined Sugar
Sugar has always been perceived as a culprit when it comes to our unhealthy eating habits and It is commonly acknowledged that it is to be Avoided. we have also heard that sugar acts like poison and that excess sugar leads to reduction in insulin sensitivity and eventually diabetes. But sugar is another form of high GI (glycemic index) food and high GI foods are required as much as low GI foods which is contrary to what most people preach.
Of course it depends on a number of factors like the extent of physical activitiy, timings consumption of high GI carbs etc. but eventually we need both forms of carbohydrates. But why do sports scientists, nutritionists, strength coaches and almost every authority on health and fitness ask one to avoid refined or processed sugar? A form of carbohydrates, sugar is present in vegetables, grain, fruits and others. In its natural state, sugar is rich in minerals, enzymes, fibre and vitamins that help in the absorption of sugars in the body.But once refined, sugar loses its minerals, fibre and vitamins making it difficult for the body to digest and absorb. But this is not where the problem ends. The problem is that the body has to contribute from its own resources to help digest the refined sugar.
Once sugar is refined, it loses its minerals, fibre and vitamins making it difficult for the body to digest and absorb
Sugar And Cravings
- Over the years, food intake has been strongly linked to a range of hormones. Our bodies produce two vital neurotransmitters namely serotonin and dopamine.
- The neurotransmitter dopamine comes in to play when we perform an activity that gives us a ‘rush’ or puts us in a good mood like eating chocolates, sex, exercising. taking drugs, winning a race etc.
- The other neurotransmitter serotonin improves our mood and makes us feel good about life. When serotonin levels dip one has increased cravings, low self esteem, emotional imbalances and digestive problems.
- When levels of dopamine and serotonin become low, the body gets hungry and craves for starchy and sugary foods. However, as soon as one has something sweet to eat, the blood sugar levels rise dramatically and the pancreas secretes large amounts of insulin in the blood to control it.
- It is said that this rise in insulin is what causes the problem, but not always. For example, say you had a strenuous workout and now your body is depleted of carbohydrates and need fast carbs to replenish your resources. However, fast carbs do not mean refined sugar.
Refined Sugar And Insulin Sensitivity
- Most of us spend our days sitting in a chair or a couch living a sedentary lifestyle. At this time your blood sugar levels are optimum as you are hardly using any carbs for energy.
- So you don’t need fast acting carbs or high Gl carbs. But as most of us keep on gorging on high GI junk food, the body has no option but to store the extra carbs as fats.
- As we stuff our bodies with refined sugar, insulin sensitivity of the body decreases which leads to pre-diabetes and obesity.
- And this is not all of the trouble, because insulin is the vehicle the body uses to deliver sugar to its cells but since insulin has lost Its sensitivity, the sugar despite being present in the blood is not transferred to the cells.
- The cells are now starving which gives an indication of hunger to the brain leading to an increase in cravings to satisfy the false hunger.
What Is A Food Coma?
Serotonin levels dip because of hunger and then down goes your mood. As you eat sugary foods to satisfy false hunger your serotonin levels rise temporarily only to crash again later. This makes people lethargic and sleepy because high levels of serotonin promote sleep and relaxation which is called ‘food coma.’ This cycle continues forever until you break the cycle by inculcating right eating habits and a proper sleep cycle and add an exercise schedule in your life.
Why You Should Avoid Refined Sugar
- It can damage the heart, The consumption of excess sugar can adversely affect the pumping mechanism of the heart and Increase the risk of heart failure.
- Studies have shown that too much fructose consumption leads to leptin resistance. Leptin is the hormone present in the body that tells you when you have had enough to eat.
- When leptin doesn’t work, a person will not get a signal from the body that it has enough food to function.
- Addiction to sugar is genetic. When genetic changes occur in the hormone ghrelin, the hormone that tells the brain that you are hungry a person consumes more sugar.