May 21, 2012

biochemistry lesson


What, you may be asking, is the big deal with sugar anyway?  It's natural, it's from plants for crying out loud: beets, or sugarcane.  It's a food ... right?!  Well, yes .... and no.  Check this out:

"Foods trigger the production and release of brain chemicals that control your mental and emotional responses.  Sugar exaggerates the production of serotonin, beta-endorphin and dopamine.  The overproduction results in a "high" followed by a crash, which sets up your craving for more sugar.  Your receptors also become less sensitive in order to protect against the overdosing of the 'drug'.  It is why you require more and more (sugar, alcohol, heroin, refined carbohydrates, etc.) just to feel normal.  This results in physical dependence on the drug to pick you up, but your 'habit' now results in depression instead of well-being, and exhaustion and anxiety instead of an energy pick up."
[disclaimer:  I realize the source is not scientific ... but none of the scientific sources I found were terribly intelligible to me.  If you have the brains for it, the science is definitely out there for you!]


And now, a few lists for you, courtesy of Potatoes, Not Prozac by Kathleen DesMaisons, who posits that sugar consumption affects blood sugar, serotonin, and beta-endorphins in the following ways.

So.  Blood sugar, first. Blood sugar is affected by the speed with which our digestive systems process our food (think "glycemic index", on which low is good, and sugar is very, very, high) 

With optimal blood sugar, you'll feel:
           energetic
           tired when appropriate (at the end of long day, after hard exertion, etc.)
           focused
           relaxed
           clear-minded
           good memory
           able to concentrate
           able to solve problems efficiently
           easygoing
           even-tempered

With low blood sugar levels, caused, for instance, by the consumption of sugar, you'll feel:
           tired all the time
           tired for no reason
           restless/can't keep still
           confused
           have trouble remembering and concentrating
           easily frustrated
           more irritable than usual
           get angry unexpectedly


Next, Serotonin (affected by protein/tryptophan, sugar, and anti-depressant medications).

With optimal serotonin levels, you'll feel:
           hopeful, optimistic
           reflective & thoughtful
           able to concentrate
           creative, focused
           able to think things through
           able to seek help
           responsive
           looking forward to dessert a bit
           hungry for healthy foods

With low serotonin levelscaused, for instance, by the consumption of sugaryou'll feel:
           depressed
           impulsive
           short attention span
           mentally blocked, scattered
           flying off the handle
           suicidal, possibly
           reactive
           craving sweets
           craving mostly carbohydrates (bread, pasta, cereal)


Last is beta-endorphins.  They are produced by the pituitary gland during exercise, excitement, pain, eating spicy or sugary food, and tanning (i.e. absorbing infrared rays from the sun).  Other "quality of life" experiences may also cause beta-endorphin production (i.e. stroking a pet, praying, watching a sunset, listening to beautiful music, talking with a good friend, etc.)

With optimal beta-endorphin levels, you'll feel:
           high tolerance for pain
           sensitive & sympathetic
           high self-esteem
           compassionate
           connected and in touch with others
           hopeful, optimistic, euphoric
           taking personal responsibility
           a "take-it or leave-it" attitude toward sweet foods
           solution-oriented

With low beta-endorphin levelscaused, for instance, by the consumption of sugaryou'll feel:
           low pain tolerance
           tearful, reactive
           low self-esteem
           overwhelmed by others' pain
           isolated or rejected
           depressed, hopeless
           feeling "done to" by others (martyr or victim syndrome)
           craving sugar
           emotionally overwhelmed


See yourself in any of those "low" lists?  I sure did.  You may think you don't have a problem with sugar; after all, you could quit if you wanted to, anytime!

Well then, try it.  You have nothing to lose if you're not sensitive to sugar (a week later if there are no changes you can go right back to your stash - I mean former eating habits) and everything to gain if you are sensitive to sugar: clear mind, freedom from cravings, greater physical wellness & creativity, just for starters.

Go ahead.  I dare you!  Begin now to be the person you were created to be!!


------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(click here for the next post on sugar freedom, or here for the first post in my story)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...