Recent studies show that sugar is more addicting than cocaine and heroin. And it is found in “healthy” foods like: breakfast cereals, low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt, fruit yogurt, pastries, donuts, muffins and fruit juice. This is the thing… Sugar has a long history of wanton destruction! I’m not condemning a sweet or desert once in a while, but processed sugar grows an emotional addiction by triggering the same pleasure centers in the brain that illegal drugs do.
INSULIN, the ANABOLIC GIANT or STORAGE HORMONE? Insulin gets a bad rap because most people that have insulin issues are over-weight. One of insulin’s main roles is to help regulate or control blood sugar. When we eat, insulin is released into the bloodstream, acting to shuttle glucose (from carbs/sugar), amino acids and fats into the cells of our body to be used for energy. It’s an ANABOLIC HORMONE in that it packs nutrients into muscle cells to promote muscle growth. And that’s a good thing! It’s a storage hormone when it goes array with too many carbs (grains and sweets) namely sugar, throwing-off this natural process of energy absorption into our cells. Thus, the more carbs you have, the more you want! Once the sugar-high dissipates, the brain is depleted, leaving you needing more. And without eating a protein within 20 minutes of eating a sweet or high carby food, the sugar user will feel lethargic and irritable, pushing the “user” to seek out more sugary feel-good food. These nutrients (sugar) go predominantly into fat cells; muscle mass is unaffected and body fat is increased. Thus, a GROWTH HORMONE being stored! However, there is a way to send nutrients specifically into muscle rather than fat cells! Read on.
SUPPLEMENT and FOODS: Omega3 fatty acids from fish oils; alpha-lipoic acid and chromium can also increase insulin sensitivity or muscle growth. Moderate carbohydrate diets that are rich in fiber can also increase insulin sensitivity to the muscles. How much is moderate? 40-50% of our diet should come from fibrous carbohydrates from oatmeal and brown rice, fruits and vegetables ~ 30-40% from high-quality proteins in cheese, cottage cheese, Greek or full-fat yogurt, whey (milk protein), chicken, beef, fish, and eggs ~ and 20% of our diet should come from fats like olive/flaxseed oil and avocado/nuts. In The nofad Weight Loss program I teach you about the 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein in the morning and afternoon hours; and the 1:1 ratio toward the last part of the day for controlling hunger and cravings.
WHEN to EAT WHAT: We use the sugar index not to condemn foods but to decide WHEN to eat them. Any disruption in this delicate ecosystem will throw-off this natural protection that insulin hormone provides. That leads me to say, nobody requires processed sugar, whatsoever! There’s no magic or trick to making our muscles more responsive to insulin while simultaneously decreasing our fat’s cell responsiveness to insulin. This means more muscle mass with less fat gain. And this is done in two specific ways: By decreasing insulin sensitivity in the fat cells thru the types of foods we eat and second, by regulating the insulin thru scheduling these foods during specific times of the day.
HOW SUGAR AGES US: Sugar consumption revs up a biological process known as “cell division.” Normally, this allows your body to repair itself. But, with excess sugar, it forces cells to divide prematurely and puts aging into overdrive. As sugar consumption continues, your muscles get weaker, wrinkles appear and eyesight fades. Eventually the organs begin to fail, and sickness occurs. You cannot avoid aging, but the good news is that by learning how to stop eating sugar (and stop craving sugar), your hormones can dramatically impact the speed at which aging occurs! Other things that make us crave sugar are: artificial flavors, alcohol, lack of sunshine, skipping breakfast; commonly used drugs like birth control, antidepressants, blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering meds; excess exercise, coffee and tea. Prolong stress releases adrenaline and cortisol that naturally increases which makes us crave fried foods like French fries and hamburgers and simple carb foods (no fiber) like potato chips and donuts, on a regular basis. How much sugar is too much? Two hundred years ago, the average American ate only 2 pounds of sugar a year. In 1970, we ate 123 pounds. Today, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in one year. This is equal to 3 pounds (or 6 cups) of sugar consumed in one week! Nutritionists suggest we should take in only 10% of our calories from sugar alone. This equals 13.3 teaspoons of sugar per day, based on 2,000 calories per day. (Over 50 years of age should reduce calorie intake by 200). However, the current average intake of sugar per day is 42.5 teaspoons. What is advised to take in, in a month, we consume in a day!!
HEALTHIER ALTERNATIVES TO PROCESSED SUGARY FOODS:
- Soda: try water infused with fruit and the juice of whole fresh fruit;
- Zevia, a non-GMO fruit-oil infused carbonated drink sweetened with erythritol (a sugar alcohol with no calories)
- Candy bar: try Fresh fruit / Dried fruit (NO sulfites!); real food bars from Lara, Raw Revolution, Perfect Foods are NOT sugar-free but sweetened with honey/fruit and nut/seed-based foods that are… chemical-free!
- Cakes and pies: try Fruit salad or Baked apple; Puddings and other simple homemade dessert recipes made with Avocados: ChoclateCoveredKatie.com, CaliforniaAvocado.com and Shape.com
- Cookies: try Raisins/nuts or Crunchy fruit like an apple or Asian pear
- Ice cream: try Frozen juice pops (100% juice) or Coconut popsicles (NO artificial flavoring); 1 serving (½ cup) of all-natural ice cream and top with berries/walnuts and dabble a spoonful of full-fat whipped cream or So Delicious Dairy Free Coco Whip on top; Ice cold smoothie made with yogurt and frozen berries; Watermelon and Honeydew (eat melons together but not with other fruits and 2-3 hours away from foods last eaten)
- Sugary cereals: try Unsugared cereals and add banana/raisins, cinnamon and nuts with whole milk (or unsweetened Vanilla flavored Almond milk) and a serving size of whole cream
“If you keep good food in your fridge,
you will eat good food”