The thing with sugar is that the more you have of it, the more you want.
What is it about sugar (and carbohydrates) that make it so addicting?
Sugar is addictive and it is everywhere, it is in our face at the coffee shop, in our homes, and even hidden in a lot of processed foods we don’t even think contain sugar. Multiple studies have been done to connect sugar to increasing dopamine which is the pleasure neurotransmitter in the brain- it makes us feel satisfied and then when sugar depletes after being used up really quickly we crave that feeling again and again.
There could be several reasons behind an individual’s sugar cravings like food allergies, adrenal fatigue, nutrient deficiencies, hormonal imbalance, bacterial overgrowth, stress/emotional eating and habitual eating etc. BUT for the sake of this blog being an entire book we are going to touch on the why and what we can do about it from a general perspective.
Carbohydrates in general have had their fair share of scrutiny over the past decade. Are they good or bad? How much do I eat? When do I eat them? I get asked these questions all the time and it really is complicated because again it is an individualized approach but generally speaking I have noticed that typically we rely too much on carbohydrates for our energy source as if we are constantly running out of our sugar supply. The more we eat them, the more we crave them can develop an unhealthy imbalance in blood sugar leading to many health issues.
Not all carbohydrates can be treated equally however:
Simple sugars are one to two sugars bound together, they are easy and quick to break apart, so they get digested quickly and go into our bloodstream at a fast rate. They provide a short term supply of energy. These are your white breads, white pasta, pastries, candies, cookies etc.
Complex carbs however are three or more carbohydrates bound together and take longer to break apart so therefore there is more of a steady state of sugar released into our bloodstream.
Benefits of complex carbohydrates
- Energy source for our muscles and fuel for our brain.
- Helps to regulate protein and fat metabolism.
- Loaded with fibre which we need for heathy digestion
- Helps with detoxification from the combination of vitamins, minerals and fibre content.
Top sources of complex carbohydrates
- Whole grains: brown rice, millet, spelt, kamut, buckwheat, sorghum etc.