Sugar, a Sweet Addiction
It can be very difficult to consume a diet with limited sugar, and this blog is meant to bring awareness to the biggest “secret” killer amongst us. Recently, some clients have gone through a remarkable transformation with one trick: eliminating sugar from their diets. We decided to implement this plan because we noticed progress slowing down significantly after an initial weight loss. Everything seemed to be on point, from the workouts to the daily breakdown of macronutrients and everything in between. Strength development and weight loss had been significant, however the weight loss had slowed noticeably. We then decided a sugar “detox” may be necessary to continue weight loss goals.
For the next week, she experienced flu like symptoms, fever, sweating, stomach pains as well as personality changes. She was “snappy,” unfriendly, short to people at work, couldn’t concentrate, and just overall not happy. She struggled to maintain a normal energy level and food lost its flavor. These are the same symptoms that accompany detox from serious drug addiction. While it may not be quite the same level, the fact that these symptoms are present is evidence that sugar is a poison to the body and can be as detrimental as any drug. In fact, sugar should be considered a drug.
How It Begins
Sugar is a highly-addictive substance due to the response by the brain to release dopamine, the feel-good hormone. When sugar is consumed, there is a response in the pleasure center of the brain triggering feelings of happiness and alertness. It is impossible to get the same response from natural foods, so the only way to feel this short-term cognitive boost is to consume something containing added sugar. Drugs such as heroin and cocaine have very similar effects on brain activity. This helps to partially explain why they can be sugar can be addictive once the body gets a regular dose. Personalities that tend to be more addictive constantly crave that response to be triggered in the brain, making sugar a staple of the diet.
Changes in the Body
Sugar intake can change how and what hormones are released in the body. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. It will allow the body to absorb glucose from the blood stream into muscle cells. Insulin will also cause fat to be stored or used as energy. If there is a constant influx of these simple carbohydrates into the body, a greater amount of that energy will be stored as cells become resistant to insulin. To combat the increased level of sugar in the blood stream, the body will continue to release insulin, which is futile since the cells no longer respond to the hormone. The liver is then forced to break down these simple carbohydrates and releases them as fats into the blood stream. With a consistent intake of sugars, insulin resistance increases, which in turn raises levels of fat and insulin in the blood stream.
Insulin resistance is one of the leading factors responsible for a number of diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease ,and obesity. It was previously believed that saturated fats were the main cause of such diseases but recently has been discovered that sugar has more of a role in developing these health issues then diets high in fat. The human body struggles to deal with stress, both mentally and physically — that goes along with a diet high in sugar.
As the sugar detox went on, the pounds seemed to fall off her body, as well as inches. The cravings subsided and her energy levels returned to normal, allowing workouts to improve greatly. Her mood returned to normal and became excited to eat the foods within her diet instead of the dangerous food filled with sugar. She now claims that she has never felt better and the week or so of struggling without sugar in her diet was completely worth it. Keep this in mind as we are now in the midst of the holiday season, where sweets are bountiful and a sugar habit can develop quickly without even knowing it!
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