Always hungry? Do you have a hard time skipping a meal?
Are you craving sweetness after every meal?
Are you fighting with skin problems such as acne or skin tags?
Have you gained weight recently?
Love handles perhaps?
Is your energy at an all-time low?
Or have you lost hair, libido or satiation?
If you said yes to two or more of the questions above, chances are you‘re developing a sugar addiction.
Don’t worry; it’s not your fault! I know you’re not putting sugar cubes in your mouth. But sugars are hiding in bread, milk, tomato sauce, drinks, and pasta too! We’re biologically wired to crave sweetness, and with so much sugar around these days, we’re bound to get trapped in its shackles.
After a chronic consumption of high sugar and fast carbs, your body thinks it’s become dependent on sweetness to function but just doesn’t metabolize it anymore. Excess sugar makes your cells insulin resistant: sugar can no longer enter your cells and is stored as fat instead.
No need to panic just yet!
Everything our body does is a way to protect itself or prepare itself for a difficult situation. You do have the power to reverse the effects of chronic sugar consumption before it is too late!
How A Healthy Body Works: A Beautiful Energy Factory
What Is Sugar?
You find sugars in carbohydrates. We can classify carbohydrates into “simple” and “complex”.
- The most basic units of carbohydrates are monosaccharides, such as glucose and fructose (fruit sugars). These simple sugars immediately enter the bloodstream via the gut cells because of their singular molecular structure.
- Table sugar is sucrose. Together with maltose and lactose, they fall in the carb category as disaccharides. Your body needs to split disaccharides into singular fructose- and glucose molecules before it can absorb them.
- Starches and fibers are long chains of joined glucose molecules, also known as polysaccharides or complex carbohydrates. It’s much harder for your body to break these long chain structures down. Digestive enzymes first have to cut the chains into smaller pieces, before the body can absorb them. Although polysaccharides are a form of sugar, they rarely taste sweet. Starchy foods include rice, potatoes, corn, and wheat, as well as earthy veggies such as pumpkin, carrots, sweet potato and red beets.
How Is Sugar Turned Into Energy?
The only real function of sugar is to give your body energy. When the mono-, di- and polysaccharides are broken down into singular glucose- or fructose molecules they end up in your bloodstream. But to transform the sugar into fuel, it has to be ‘burnt’ in your cells.
That’s where insulin comes into action. This hormone functions as a gateway to get sugar out of the blood and into the liver and muscle cells, where it can be combusted into energy. A healthy pancreas produces exactly the right amount of insulin to keep your blood sugar level balanced.
What Happens When You Eat Too Much Sugar, Too Often
Our ancestors got 22-40% of their daily caloric intake from carbohydrates, mostly from nutrient-rich plants and fruits.
Nowadays, (in our convenience-driven society), our daily carbohydrate intake is often around 60 to 70%. With industrialization came the processing of foods. Sadly, industrial food producers often add high amounts of simple sugars, such as fructose and glucose, to promote a sweet taste to sell more. Think of processed grain products and corn syrup in many snacks, sodas, bread, cereals, noodles, muesli bars, sports drinks, juices, condiments and low-fat yogurt drinks.
Did you know that added sugar is hiding in 74% of packaged foods?
When you eat or drink too many sugars at once, your blood sugar will quickly spike, followed by an abrupt drop. When you do this often, your blood sugar will continuously fluctuate between highs and lows. The problem is that your body’s blood sugar regulator – insulin – cannot properly deal with this.
Every time your blood sugar rises, your insulin-factory (pancreas) is activated. At a certain point, it won’t even bother stopping insulin production anymore. This insulin overload makes your cells insulin resistant; meaning insulin cannot bind to the cell any longer, making it harder to get sugar out of your blood and into your cells.
When this happens your body will face non-stop sugar cravings, because of the sugar shortage in the cells, even though you have more than enough sugar in your blood! Eventually, chronic insulin resistance leads to diabetes-II. At that point, you can’t produce enough insulin on your own anymore to lower your blood sugar levels.
The overload of sugar that isn’t released as energy first ends up as your energy reserve, or glycogen, in muscles and liver. But when your glycogen-storage-capacity is full – so when you eat too many carbohydrates, too often – sugar is stored as fat.
Research has proven a direct relationship between overdosing on sugar, especially simple sugars, and an increase in obesity. Sugar triggers inflammation, cholesterol production, acidity, accelerated ageing and bad gut flora.
In the long run, these things become a vicious circle, ending in metabolic syndrome, in which the patient suffers from a combination of diabetes-II, cardiovascular disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or other chronic ailments such as Alzheimer’s, certain types of cancer, macular degeneration and tooth decay.
HOW TO FIX IT:
Listen to your sugar cravings: this is your body telling you that something isn’t right. Take it as your cue to change something in your life!
Your body will always feel like something’s missing if you keep fueling it with fat-free yoghurts, bread-like products, diet sodas and processed empty calories. These products are void of the nutrients your body really needs.
Our FREE 7-Day Sugar Detox Challenge is a great starting point to break up with sugar for good!
Why Do We Love Sugar So Much?
How come we eat more sugar than is good for us? Why do we enjoy its taste? And most importantly, how can we fix it?
1. Why Are You Always Hungry? Are Sugar Cravings Genetic?
For thousands of years, the sweetness was scarce, only available at limited times, in limited amounts and limited places. When your ancestors would’ve found a sweetly ripened fruit, they would’ve hit the primal jackpot!
From an evolutionary perspective, sugar is energy that can be stored as fat. Fat is incredibly useful for survival during food-scarce times such as cold winters.
So our love for sugar is genetically programmed in our bodies. That’s why we can’t help ourselves when it’s around. We need to put it in our mouths! It’s our instinct! Sugar even triggers reward systems in our brains, much like other addictive substances such as alcohol and drugs.
The problem is that sugar no longer comes as a limited edition. It’s everywhere. We eat it all the time. And much to our dismay sugar comes with ugly side effects like weight gain, skin problems, fatigue, and disease.
HOW TO FIX IT:
Look, we get it. The thought of giving up sweetness is agonizing. But hey, why not start swapping your simple sugars for complex carbohydrates? Focus on the nutrient-rich colorful, earthy veggies, instead of the empty processed carbs. Swap sodas for water, low-fat yogurts for full-fat yogurt and sugary cereals for oats.
Our FREE 7-Day Sugar Detox Challenge is designed to guide you through this transformation and delivers daily tips + inspo to your inbox.
2. Are Stress & Brain Power Driving Your Sugar Consumption?
Unconsciously, we’ve collectively decided to live a convenient and modern lifestyle that isn’t all that optimal for our health.
We eat too much, too often, and too many carbohydrates. We eat inflammatory foods and leave the anti-inflammatory ones off our plates. We’re exposed to hormone-disruptive pesticides, plastics, and chemicals. We stress ourselves, work long hours sitting in head-heavy jobs, which require us to be alert, productive and creative at all times. We fail to nourish and succeed to exhaust.
In the end, it’s all about energy. With all those physical and mental burdens, our immune system and brain require a non-stop energy supply, causing a problematic energy-distribution in our overall body.
We need oxygen in our cells to be able to burn fat. But it’s impossible to burn fat during physical or mental stress when oxygen in the cells is absent. During stress, we’re bound to anaerobic (oxygen-free) sugar burning.
So the body’s only solution to deal with modern life is turning to glucose for energy, leading to those stubborn sweet cravings. Vending machines, kiosks, and fast food chains benefit from our ‘work hard, play hard’ culture, fulfilling your sugar sensors with candy, frappuccinos, muffins, fries, fruit juices and sodas on your commute and at work.
HOW TO FIX IT:
Stress is sometimes unavoidable. But if you’re freaking out every single day, it’s time to hit the brakes.
I know, reducing stress is easier said than done. I also got annoyed when people told me to slow down, without explaining exactly how. That’s why I’ve created CALM: The Most Powerful Stress-Busting Tools Proven By Science. You can download it here for FREE.
3. Are You a Sugar Metabolizer?
Why do some people gain weight so easily while others eat double the portion without a problem? It comes down to metabolic differences. Your metabolism determines how your body transforms food into energy.
There’s a myriad of factors that influence your metabolism. From the foods you ate when you were younger to the level of stress in your life; from the number of inflammatory foods you eat to your daily exposure to toxins (pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, heavy metals, preservatives, and plastics).
In fact, your metabolic programming already began in your mother’s womb. If your mother had a limited intake of food while she carried you (due to stress, illness, disordered eating or war), you’re metabolically programmed to store fat more easily: all because your fetal body has been exposed to times of scarcity and maybe even starvation. If you, her child, then continues to grow up in a world where there’s plenty of food and sugar available, you are more likely to put on weight during your lifetime.
HOW TO FIX IT:
There’s a way to turn this around! Ideally, you’ll want to make a metabolic switch from always-craving-sugar burner to steady-fat-burner:
The Metabolic Switch
From Always-Craving-Sugar Burner To Steady-Fat-Burner
You don’t have to go carb-free but rather reduce your caloric carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 40%. By eating less processed sugars, you train your body to extract energy from fat again. You can compare fat burning with burning nice and dry logs in a campfire. They provide a calm and long-lasting combustion.
And hey, most people don’t realize it, but did you know that vegetables are carbohydrates too? Vegetables are a great way to get your carbs: much better than the ones you get from processed foods!
A rich variety of mostly plant-based whole foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, healthy fats, and some animal proteins like poultry and fish, provide your body with essential micro- and macronutrients needed to calm your systems, giving them the chance to recover.
You’ll help your body get rid of excess fluids, fat and toxic build-up. As a result, you’ll digest better, absorb nutrients, alkalize, detoxify, impede inflammations, balance hormones, support gut and strengthen immunity.
If this sounds overwhelming, our 28-Days Personal Body Reset program could be a great solution. It’s designed to heal your metabolism and body with personalized nutrition, exercise and stress relief. We focus on getting healthy and living a life apt to your body and mind type.
Real food, and eating better, not less. No diet powder, shake, tablet or calorie-restrictive diet on earth will get you the same results. Just follow your unique roadmap and recipes while you restore your body into a clean, lean temple that feels damn good to live in!
Tell me, love. Do you want to break up with sugar? What action can you take today to start that process?
Your fellow go-getters and I would love to hear what you have to say in the comments below. Your words might spark a wave of empowerment in somebody else!
Also, when you know someone who needs to hear about the effects of sugar and how to fix it – forward this to them right now.
So happy to have you aboard beautiful!
Keep aceing your health-game. x
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Cordain, L. (2005). Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 81(2), 341-354.
Haiyan et al. (2003). Chronic inflammation in fat plays a crucial role in the development of obesity-related insulin resistance. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 112(12), 1821-1830.
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Mohammed et al. (2016). Dietary intake and the dynamics of stress, hypertension and obesity in a peri-urban community in Accra. Ghana Medical Journal, 50(1), 16-21.
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Spector, D. (2014, 25th April). An Evolutionary Explanation For Why We Crave Sugar. [Weblog]. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/evolutionary-reason-we-love-sugar-2014-4
Sugarscience. (2013, 17 November 2013). SugerScience The Unsweetened Truth. [Website].