Sugar sugar, honey honey.
Quit sugar for 31 days? You must be joking.
Actually this far less difficult than you think! Did you know you know that you crave the food you eat most? Numerous studies have shown that people who switched from refined diets to those containing more unprocessed and natural ingredients start to crave those foods instead. A craving for salad Seriously. Who would have thought that you could condition your body to crave fresh vegetables simply by cutting down on sugar for a short period of time. And yet that is exactly what happen But here we are talking about getting leaner and healthier within a month – an easily achievable goal for a healthy individual. Long term you will have to cut down on sugar intake. Short term is about getting rid of as much of the refined, processed sugars out of your diet as possible.
Sugar. It’s everywhere!
Never in the history has the intake of simple sugars been so high. Sugar has been around for thousands of years, yet it is with the advent of modern food biotechnology that the average sugar intake skyrocketed to hitherto unimaginable proportions. It is literally everywhere: your cereal, your bread, your juice, your alcohol, your coffee, your “healthy” fruit, snacks and so on.
Sugar consumption goes hand in hand with adiposity: more sugar = more calorie energy = you get fatter. If you are serious about resetting your body and loosing fat fast you will need to replace refined sugar with that of better quality nutrients. The reward is immediate: you will drop fat, get more energy, improve your sleep, get better skin, improve your cholesterol and will generally feel amazing.
Want to know more? Read below for the science bit.
I doubt there is anyone out there who has not at one time or another been made aware of the negative impact of sugar consumption. Consumption of foods and beverages high in sugars is associated with:
1.An increased prevalence of obesity
5.Ischemic heart disease
Sugar is stored in two ways:
1. As glycogen in liver and muscles. In essence glycogen is made from blood sugar with the help of Insulin. When blood sugar is high, Insulin stimulates its conversion to glycogen. BUT You can only store so much Glycogen. Once your liver and muscles get saturated with glycogen excess is shunted into fat cells.
2. Excess sugar, eaten on regular bases is stored as F-A-T! It is a biological response, developed for millions of years and saved our species from extinction. In early days, short periods of plenty were followed by long periods of very little food.
Refined sugar did not exist at the dawn of man and the process worked well with complex carbohydrates. Refined sugar is a very recent discovery (in evolutionary terms) the body has not adapted well to dealing with excess.
Simple refined sugars increase your chances of obesity and diabetes.
Dietary sugar is like rocket fuel, it burns fast and gives you an awesome lift. If you have an active lifestyle: have a physically active job or participate in sports on regular bases, sugar may serve you well. For the majority this isn’t the case. The excess blood sugar is taken out of your bloodstream by Insulin and is stored for later use in the form of fat.
The bottom line
Sugar cravings are exacerbated by sugar intake. The additional effect is an unnecessary build up of fat around your body. Shortly after getting rid of sugar and substituting it with other foods your cravings will subside. To quench your addiction this month substitute your usual sugary snacks/meals with the following: berries, nuts, little honey, moderate amounts of fruit, copious amounts of vegetables etc. Include lean sources of protein and healthy fats with each of your main meals to prevent your blood sugar from dropping – these foods also help to keep your blood sugar stable but with a more gentle effect.
You do not need to continuously store your food as fat. Despite needing fat on your body being over fat is unhealthy and dangerous. Start this month by reducing the simplest refined sugars in your diet and you are half way there.
With healthy wishes,
P.S. Here is a fantastic article on What You Need To Know About Sugar by Rober H Lustig.
Here is a very popular and inspiring lecture by the author.
P.P.S. Role of Insulin and Glucagon.
It is vital for your blood sugar level to be maintained within a certain range if your metabolism (and you) is to function properly. When you eat, be it plain sugar, refined (white) carbs, more complex carbs, fruits, vegetables, fats and protein, the process of digestion raises blood sugar. There are two counterpart hormones that help to maintain that range. They shunt sugar in and out of your bloodstream: Glucagon (in) and Insulin (out), and they work depending on the immediate demands of your body.
The role of Insulin is to normalise the increase in blood sugar. The higher the original increase, the more insulin is released and the bigger the drop in blood sugar to return it to normal. More of the former foods from the above list in your meal = bigger, more rapid raise in blood sugar, more of the latter = a smaller raise.
If the blood sugar is beginning to run low and there is no food is in sight glucagon steps in. Glucagon stimulates the break down of glycogen (energy store in muscle and liver) to release more sugar into the blood stream and bring it back up within normal range.
Both Insulin and Glucagon are counter dependent and one is always aware of what the other is doing. If you are diabetic (Type I – autoimmune or Type II – long term result of your diet) then the equilibrium is disturbed and your life is that little bit more exciting
Read on: Day 5 – Lifestyle
Back to: 31 Day Fitness Kickstart