There are 2 elements to our sugar cravings that we need to consider.
The Sugar/Insulin Cycle
What happens is we eat sugary and high GI foods and the body almost instantly converts them to glucose which enters the bloodstream. High blood sugar levels are dangerous so the body releases insulin to get the glucose out of the blood and into the cells. Unfortunately the types of foods we have consumed over the years means a huge spike in insulin above what the body was originally designed to regularly deal with, this then gets the glucose out of the blood, however, it leaves insulin in the blood (also bad) so the body now wants to get rid of this. How do we do this? That’s right we need more glucose, and so the cycle repeats. Mix this sugar/insulin
Yes sorry to say but over the years our bodies or more accurately our brains have become addicted to the effect that sugar has on the dopamine receptors in the brain. These are the same receptors that drugs stimulate but obviously to a slightly lesser extent. This dopamine effect along with the increase in energy (the brain needs around 140g of glucose each day) and alertness makes your brain a very happy little unit.
Like all drugs the brain becomes addicted to that feeling and does everything it can to make you want more.
Combine these two effects together and you’ve got a perfect storm for sugar carvings. The body is simultaneously trying to balance blood sugar/insulin as well as craving that drug like euphoria brought on by sugar.
Turning the Volume down
I first heard this from Ray Hinish on “cut the fat podcast”
The theory is that when we are born we have a sugar reaction scale running from 1-10, so maybe lettuce would score 1 on the scale (no sugar/dopamine effect) and a mango (one of the sweetest fruits) would score 10. This means that when we eat a mango as a child it has an awesome effect on the brain and it say ‘wow we want more of that’
Unfortunately when we first eat some sweets or bread for example then this has like a 100 score. Suddenly the brain wants more of of this crazy new feeling, sadly now we are running on this new scale of 1-100 so a sucky 10 score from the mango no longer cuts it. Just like all drugs the effects diminish with each dose and you forever need more. This is of course very over simplified but to me makes a lot of sense.
The trick is to bring that scale back down so we can satiate our sugar cravings with far less damaging and artificial foods. How awesome would it be to be able to satisfy that “itch” with a mango or some pineapple rather than reaching for the sweets?
Unfortunately we need to break these cycles and the best way to do this, as with all addictions is to go cold turkey. By doing this we break the sugar/insulin cycle. The added benefit of this is that as time goes by that scale begins to reduce and you will start to see that foods suddenly become sweeter tasting and you’ll find that these less sweet foods start to satisfy that sweet craving. You will have experienced this if you’ve ever had sugar in your tea/coffee and then removed it and some time later add it back in, it will shock you at just how sweet it tastes.
The hardest part is breaking these habits and finding suitable real food replacements for these “problem” foods and this is exactly what we aim to begin with our 30day kickstart program. The