A sugar withdrawal?
Happy New Year 2017! How was the end of the year? I spent mine both at my parents’ place in France and at my in-laws’ place in Kansas. The common point between the two trips was that I ate a lot of chocolate. Not the dark 70% cocoa chocolate, no… The fancy ones, with nougat, nuts, caramel, mint… I must be forgetting some nice ones.
Christmas chocolate, one seasonal source of sugar!
So what? Well, I am tired all the time. I am craving more and more sweets and candies. My skin isn’t very pretty. And I gained some pounds during the Holiday season… In a few words, I don’t feel well.
Is this because of sugar?
This is a good question. It could be because of the lack of sleep due to my 8-month-old struggling to keep up with the jetlag and all the moving between places. It could be the long exciting days meeting the different members and friends of my family… But even now that I’m back home and the family is back to its sleeping routine, I’m still tired. And sugar is definitely the reason why. (Yes, I must admit that there is still chocolate in my pantry, and I’m in the mode “Don’t throw it away, just finish it and then don’t buy anymore!”)
How is sugar acting?
Sugar is a kind of carbohydrate. We need a bit of it as it is the energy brick that our cells use to function (glucose). When we eat sugar as in candies, honey or caramel, we get them mostly as double bricks (like in fructose or lactose), which are rapidly broken down to glucose. We get a peak of glucose in our blood (the high after the chocolate), rapidly followed by an insulin peak (the hormone made by the pancreas to control the glucose) that makes the glucose level dramatically drop (the crash and craving phase after the chocolate). This glucose is transformed into fat.
When sugar is eaten in whole foods, like fruits or whole grain, the other parts of the food, like fibers, slow down the glucose peak, thus avoiding the craving afterwards.
So we need sugar in its complex form, but not too much of it in its simple form. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar per day for women and 9 teaspoons per day for men. Right now, the average American consumes 19.5 teaspoons of added sugar per day (that makes 66 pounds a year!!!). And this consumption is the cause of more severe diseases like obesity and type 2 diabetes (source of complications like blindness, renal failure or infections).
Then I should stop!
Easier said than done. Sugar is like a drug for your brain. Scientists showed that rats would prefer sugar-added water than cocaine-added water… Isn’t this amazing? When you eat some sugar, a part of it goes directly to your brain and, like other drugs, tells you that it’s so good that you crave more. Meanwhile, your brain remembers that bitter plants are often toxic and that sweet plants are often edible. It also remembers the sweet taste of mother’s milk… This knowledge is fine when you’re a hunter-gatherer preparing for the next food shortage period (your body is programmed to keep some reserves and use them later), but when it comes to our prosperous time, it might be a danger (you still put on reserves, but you never use them…)
Morning, Noon, Evening and Night… Do you need your dose regularly?
Now what? What if I stop nearly completely all sugar so I get out of this addiction? What if at least I have a look at my sugar intake?
Would you do this with me?
Let’s clean up this sugar intake!
If you’re ready for this journey, I can help you with the 30 day-challenge “Track down the sugar”. You’ll get support to find where you get your sugar intake from and how to replace it with healthier food/drinks.