The body converts sugars and Carbohydrates into Glycogen for energy (petrol). The body uses Glycogen as energy (petrol) within the muscles. In order for it to be used as energy, we need to ensure that we are creating enough activity within the body for the energy to be used (burning the energy/petrol). If the body does not use all the stored Glycogen it then converts it to fat, and stores it that way!
In laments’ terms:
To understand the effects of Carbs and sugars on the body I need to explain Insulin. Insulin is a hormone in the body that regulates the sugar levels in your body. It removes sugar from your blood stream to prevent it becoming toxic and helps transport the sugar to cells where it is converted to glycogen for energy. When your body has too much constant sugar it loses control of the ability to use Insulin properly. This results in Diabetes. With Type 1 Diabetes (not controllable, hereditary), there is not enough insulin in the body and so we have to have Insulin injections. With Type 2 (controllable dietary related) Diabetes the body has become resistant to insulin and therefore depends on other medication together with dietary control to regulate the sugar in the blood stream. Insulin also helps the brain function better and helps the body regulate its body temperature and all round homeostasis (general working balance). When we eat sugar it changes the insulin levels in our body and can make our body ‘Insulin resistant’ if we take in too much sugar over a long period of time. Insulin also turns off our fat burning ability, and so you cannot burn fat whilst insulin is in the blood stream. Insulin will not leave the blood stream whilst you keep adding sugar into it by eating simple carbs and sugar products! So you are sabotaging your fat burning!
Insulin does not recognise processed sugar (that includes white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar). Processed sugar is found in many of our foods today including tomato sauce, lollies, chocolate, soft drinks, breads, take away foods, marinades, flavoured yoghurts, (flavoured anything), many tinned foods such as baked beans, breakfast cereals, tinned vegetables, you get the drift. Since processed sugar is a foreign object as far as insulin is concerned, it cannot fit it into the Insulin taxi to take it to the cells for Glycogen conversion, and therefore throws it in the trailer, taking it straight to the cells for fat conversion! So in lament’s terms, sugar is not only stuffing up your hormone Insulin it is also being stored as fat! Even the Glycogen stores will store as fat if not burnt off! This not only makes you gain weight, but increases your risk of Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, Heart Disease, ADHD, and much much more!
The average person would have the following carbohydrate/sugar eating pattern: Cereal for breakfast with a cup of coffee with 1 sugar in it. A piece of fruit for morning tea, and/or a diet yoghurt with fruit, a ham, cheese and tomato sandwich for lunch, another cup of coffee with 1 sugar in it, perhaps a muesli bar, a couple of bikkies with their cuppa, some rice crackers, a bowl of pasta bolognaise for dinner or maybe steak, chips and vegies, some ice-cream for dessert, a piece of chocolate whilst sitting on the couch, with their last cuppa for the day, and off course a couple of cans of soft drink or juice throughout the day as well. Does any of this sound familiar? An example of someone who would burn enough glycogen stores for this sort of eating is someone who is doing high intensity Cardio workout for about 9-10 hours per day, every day. Are you doing this much activity? If not, you need to change your eating habits!
Let’s talk Lepton. Lepton is a hormone in the body that is released by the fat cells to inform the body it is full and to stop eating. It is also the hormone that stimulates your metabolism. When Lepton levels increase, appetite levels decrease. So you stop eating. Lepton does not recognise Carbs and sugars. So it never tells your body you are full when you eat these foods, so you are constantly hungry! Carbs stimulate insulin not Lepton. Insulin then stimulates a hormone called Ghrelin which is the hormone that tells you, you are hungry! Catch 22! The more Carbs/sugar food you eat, the hungrier you get! Add to that the fact that sugar is addictive and you are on the road to weight loss destruction!
Sugar activates the Opioid receptors in the brain. These are the little triggers that give you that ‘great feel’. The Opioids are drugs that give you that relaxed, sedate feeling, decreases the pain receptors, and can give you serious withdrawal symptoms if you stop using them suddenly. Since sugar activates the Opioid receptors it has the same characteristics as drugs, in that it makes you ‘feel good’ and you do go through a serious withdrawal if you stop eating it! This characteristic then labels sugar addictive and therefore creates all sorts of problems when you are trying to stop eating it to improve your health and/or lose weight. Hence the fact that people feel they need a ‘sugar fix’ at times and struggle to cut it out of their nutrition plan.
‘Diet’ foods or ‘Light’ foods are usually drowned with sugar to add flavour to compensate for the removal of fat. To balance the sweetness, a stack load of salt is then added, a health nightmare! So stay away from these foods and stick with the full fat options instead. At least your body know what to do with fat; burn it! The Diet/light versions not only make you fat, they add to your risk of Cancer, Heart Disease and all those other ugly things we have already discussed! The other problem with ‘light’ or ‘diet’ foods is that they may be sugar free but loaded with artificial sweeteners, which are in fact also Concerogenic, i.e. causes Cancer!
By eating food containing sugar and simple Carbohydrates you are in fact keeping yourself overweight, at high risk of Diabetes Type 2, Heart disease, Cancer and much, much more.
Sugar has also been linked to Attention Deficit Disorder, and learning difficulties. So the next time you want to ‘treat’ your kids to fast food jam packed with processed sugar and Carbohydrates, just remember: you are also treating them to above risks, the lack of ability to concentrate and learn, and taking away their ability to function at their fullest potential. Is that ‘treat’ really worth all that? No wonder we have an Obesity epidemic in both adults and children, and huge number of kids with learning disabilities!
Want to lose weight and give your family the best chance in healthy living? Stay away from simple Carbohydrates and Sugars! You get more than enough Carbohydrates from your vegetables. You don’t need any more than that!
- Eat no more than 2 pieces of fruit per day
- Avoid simple carbs such as breads, cereals, wraps, rice, pasta, muesli bars etc (that sort of food). If you want to include this food in your eating habits, then only have it once per day. This will at least vastly reduce the amount you are having without you feeling like you are completely missing out. So for example, if you have cereal for breakfast, then that is your 1 serve for the day. No more!
- Cut out all sugar from coffee and tea. If you need a sweetener, go for a non-cancerogenic one like Stevia (a natural source of glucose that your body knows what to do with)
- If you must have flavoured soft drink then try this: PLAIN natural mineral water with a slice of lemon or lime in it.
- Do not drink fruit juice! This is a whole different article, but put simply, juice is a glass of sugar that keeps you overweight and gives you next to no nutrients because the nutrients are in the whole fruit, not the juice of the fruit!
- Sweet Cold Drink – Make a herbal tea such as “Cranbury, Strawberry and Raspberry” by the litre. Let it cool. Place in a bottle in the fridge. Looks and tastes like cordial but is in fact very good for you with no danger and does not contribute to weight gain!
- Bake with Stevia, organic gluten free Rice Malt Syrup, or RAW honey (natural glucose your body can handle!)
- Eat meals full of protein and fibre to keep you fuller for longer and avoid hunger pangs where you will be searching for quick fixes.
- Snack on raw nuts (not peanuts) like cashews and almonds
- Snack on raw vegies such as snow peas, and celery
- Eat organic “Natural” yoghurt not ‘flavoured’ or ‘plain sweetened vanilla’
- Eggs are great for a breakfast alternative to cereal!
This should get you started. Stay tuned for more ideas…
Good luck and keep in touch on how you are traveling with your journey!