Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Power of Sugar

Sugar is an interesting substance. It is extremely addictive for many people and many women report that if they have one bite of a sugary food (especially if combined with fat and salt) it precipitates a binge. There are a number of psychological reasons for feeling out of control after eating sugar and I will discuss some of these in another post, but for now let’s consider what happens on a purely physical level. When we take sugar into our systems, a series of events occurs. Our blood sugar level rises quickly and our body begins to manufacture insulin. Adrenaline floods our system and our heart rate increases. Our blood pressure goes up and we feel “high.” This “high” feeling doesn’t last long, however, and soon our blood sugar level drops causing our body to beg and plead for more sugar and more “energy.”

When this happens we may feel exhausted, irritable and depressed. If you experience mood swings, mental dullness or become tired easily, try eliminating sugar from your diet for a week. You will most likely notice a significant reduction of all of these symptoms. This is the physical process everyone experiences when eating sugar – not only when bingeing. It is as simple as that but many people do not realize that eating sugar can cause such powerful, often irresistible physical cravings. So next time you are cravingsugars and simple carbohydrates, ask yourself what’s going on physically and, if you have been eating sugar, drink a big glass of water, get some exercise and do something nice for yourself that doesn’t involve food. The urge to dip into the gallon of ice cream in the freezer will pass…. really.

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