Serious sugar struggles

Laura blog

In my portfolio I posted an analysis about sugar in breakfast meals (see this post). In this blog post I’ll go more in-depth about sugar. What is sugar? What does it to our bodies? And more…

Sugar, we love it and we hate it. We love it because it tastes so good, it’s so sweet, so satisfying and we want mooooooore, all day, everyday. We hate it because if we have it all day everyday, the majority of the people will gain weight, feels bad, or even worse than that, develops serious health conditions. I hope for most people reading this, that is not new to you, right? 

Sugar addiction

Now let’s get serious. In my opinion, sugar is a serious addiction where a lot of people deal with. 

Using the word addiction makes most people instantly think about alcohol, drugs, smoking, gambling but sugar in my opinion belongs to the same group of serious addictive products. Doing a quick google shows all sorts of ‘quick’ and ‘easy’ tools to get rid of your sugar craving that is supposedly very helpful. Ever heard of a quick tool to get rid of alcohol addiction? Or drugs? Of course not! And why not? Because those ‘solutions’ are not addiction solutions but only temporarily solve the issue, in stead of treating it from the source. Where does this craving come from? What can I do to solve this addiction? A sugar addiction does not disappear by drinking a glass of water every time you crave sugar. Also ‘eat more protein’ is not going to solve it. If you decide to eat more protein by eating a jar of skippy peanut butter, is not really the solution since the amount of sugar that skippy peanut butter contains (and palm oil / vegetable oil), is just stupid. 

Sugar cravings

A lot of people don’t realize or understand (or both) why they crave sugar or why they are hungry. And if you don’t understand, how are you suppose to change it then? Why are people craving sugar? What is sugar? What’s it doing in your body? Why is sugar bad and carbs good? So many questions and I can’t wait to answer them.

Sugar quite literally fuels your brain, and your brain sees sugar as a reward, which makes you wanting more of it. Sugar itself is a so-called simple carbohydrate. When you eat sugar, your body turns it quickly into glucose, which goes into you bloodstream. So literally your blood sugar level spikes. This is because the whole bulk of sugar that you just ate, is going into your bloodstream all in once. So in a very short amount of time, all of a sudden there is a lot of glucoses in your bloodstream. Before I continue explaining more, it’s important to  know is that those simple sugars are also found in fruits, vegetables and all sorts of dairy products. I almost hear you shouting though your screen: “So I’ll never have to have fruit again!” “So fruit is unhealthy as well!” “Why does everyone says fruit is healthy?!” Or anything somehow related to this. I will explain..

Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Beside sugars, they all also contain fiber and or protein. And exactly those two slow down the process of your body turning sugars into glucoses. It literally means that if you eat something that contains sugars but also protein or fiber, your body is processing the sugar slower, which ends up having little bits of glucose in your bloodstream. Therefore it takes longer before the fruit (of vegetables or dairy) is processed and you won’t have a spike of glucoses in your blood. 

So, to continue about that spike. What it wrong with that spike?

Every body move the glucoses out of the bloodstream to process it to your body cells for energy. To do this, your pancreas makes insulin, which is a hormone. So with the big bulk of sugars in your bloodstream, your body starts to work really hard, making insuline to process all of the glucoses to the cells in your body for provide your body with the energy. But then, all of a sudden the glucoses is gone, and having none of it left in your bloodstream. And that’s the moment that your blood sugar suddenly drops. This rapid change in blood sugar leaves you feeling light in your head, maybe a bit dizzy or shaky and your body is searching for more sweets to regain that sugar “high.” So, just think about it: a sugar rich (simple carbohydrate) breakfast sets you up for a sugar cravings day. Because after your sugary breakfast, your whole body is craving for more sugar. And every time you eat that sugar, you end up more and more in a circle of ‘sugar highs’.

You don’t need all that sugar in your life

This subtitle is so entirely true, and I will explain why..

Yes, sugar tastes good, and yes your body is craving sugar, but surprise surprise: you don’t need that simple sugar as much as you think you do. Your body is just addicted and asks for more every time you eat it again. You can actually work on your taste buds and body to enjoy things that aren’t that sweet. To do this you slowly have yo cut out sweet stuff. No need to go cold turkey if you don’t want to, you can start with the easier things to cut out on. Slightly less sugar in your coffee or tea, skip desert, choose a less sugary cereal, and so on. And if you want or feel like you need something sweet, go for a banana a mango or an apple. Is has sugars in it, but as mentioned before, your body is processing it slower, no sugar spike and you feel full for longer

But as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, those simple carbohydrates are not only the raw sugar of the sugar in fruits or dairy. There’s a whole lot of hidden sugars. Think about sauces like ketchup of barbecue sauce, cereals, instant pasta sauces, reduced fat products like ‘fat free’ salad dressings, bread, flavored coffees. To find out what exactly and how much, there is only one way to find out, read labels. I don’t ask you to spend 5 hours at the super market, but spend maybe 10-15 minuets more to have a good look per product if there is healthier option, low sugar options, or maybe you can even go without? It can make a huge difference. It sounds cliche, but the unhealthiest products (as in, highest sugar products) are the processed and pre-packed foods. So theoretically if you leave this out, it’s likely that you’re doing much better already.

Realizing and knowing better what sugar is doing to your body and knowing what product contains the sugar is going to help you so much more than the quick solutions like drinking a glass of water or ‘eating more protein’. 

What’s up next

In my next blog more in-depth information about the simple carbohydrate and the complex carbohydrate. The good, the bad, the products and the amount.

Cheers, Laura