It's no secret that most of us eat a too many treats, drink a little more than normal, and generally are fairly merry and bright with our food during November and December (seriously... we can't just pretend it's only on the holidays can we?). And most of this overindulgence comes down to 1 thing: a lot more sugar in our lives. Even if it's in the form of breads, pastas, crackers, etc., our body reacts to it in just the same way as those of us who reach for the chocolate, cookies and pies. And it's addictive! It can be hard to break the cycle of eating the extras and we find ourselves snacking more, always feeling munchy, or wondering what we can go grab to eat next.
You might also find yourself not sleeping as well, dragging your feet in the morning when the alarm goes off, feeling more moody or irritable, having a hard time around 2 or 3 in the afternoon and wondering how in the world you'll make it to the end of the day, or like your brain is moving in slow motion. If any of these symptoms ring true for you, the likely culprit might not be what you think... it might just be all that extra sugar carbs!
When I detox every January, I'm always so thrilled with how I feel even just a few days into the process. It is truly impressive how quickly your body will recover from sugar overload and what those changes look like. Sure, you might loose a few pounds in the process (even as many as 7 or 8 in 2 weeks!), but other changes might be more unexpected: improved sleep, better moods, no afternoon lull, reduced cravings, eliminated snacking, improved brain function and alertness, and waking feeling refreshed and ready to go.
You might be thinking, Kia, seriously? How can eating some extra pie and ‘stuff’ really do all that? You’re crazy! Well, for better or worse, I’m not crazy (at least not in that way), and there’s now plenty of research linking sugar/starchy/processed carbohydrate intake to all of these symptoms and more. Here are just a few of the ways sugar messes with us on a daily basis:
(2) Sugar can drive our serotonin (your happiness hormone) out of whack.
How? When we eat sugar, it drives up serotonin levels and then depletes the hormone leading us to feeling low, sad, sluggish, tired and depressed. So what do people often do? Eat more sugar to increase serotonin levels again leading to a vicious cycle. And in the end, our bodies will often just give up and not make the hormone in the quantities that we need, thereby leading people to eat even more sugar/starch in attempts to make more serotonin.
(3) Increase Risk of Heart Disease.
A 2014 study found that just one 12-ounce can of soda a day (or equivalent) added enough sugar to a person's diet to boost their odds of developing heart disease by a third. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1819573)
(4) Overconsumption of Food or Leptin Resistance.
Leptin is a hormone that tells you when you’re full/had enough to eat. People who consume too much Fructose fail to get this signal and in turn, tend to overeat. http://ajpregu.physiology.org/content/295/5/R1370
When we eat sugar, our insulin spikes. When it falls again it leaves us feeling like we need to eat more, even though our body doesn’t actually need any more calories. When people switch out high sugar foods for nutrient dense foods, they often find themselves eating less overall, simply because the food you’re eating is fulfilling your body’s needs.
(5) Increased Body Fat.
A 2010 study in children showed that too much fructose cause visceral fat cells to mature (aka, belly fat) (http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-06/tes-fsm062010.php)
Relating to the overconsumption of food that comes with eating too much sugar, you can ask yourself, what happens to this extra food? Well, calories that are not utilized for energy are stored as fat for future use. So all that extra eating, even if it’s a non-fat diet, will be stored by your body as fat.
(6) An Increase in Your Body’s Inflammatory Response.
The details can get complicated quickly, but in a nut shell the consumption of sugar can lead to improperly digested food which then leads your body to react to that food as an imposter, triggering your bodies natural inflammation response. Depending on where this occurs in your body, it leads to a whole host of inflammatory diseases: Arthritis, Leaky gut syndrome, Chronic fatigue syndrome, Eczema, Crohn’s Disease, Celiac, Asthma, Allergies, just to name a few…
(7) Toxic Effects on Your Liver
Similar to excessive alcohol consumption, regardless of physique. Even those who didn’t consume too many calories and were trim still showed the same negative effects on their liver. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/98/2/349
(8) Increase in susceptibility of cancer
There is a strong connection between insulin resistance and cancer; specifically recent studies suggest that insulin resistance is connected to a cells increased susceptibility to cancer formation.
There’s been a few studies showing that breast and colon cancer patients who consumed larger amounts of starch and sugar had worse outcomes with regard to their cancer. The theory being that at least some types of cancer cells feed off of the sugar (and starch) that we consume. http://ict.sagepub.com/content/4/1/25
(9) Cognitive Decline and even Dementia
More research is coming out showing the relationship between sugar consumption and the aging of our cells, and has more recently been linked to deficiencies in memory and overall cognitive decline.
Research is also showing the correlation between Type II Diabetes and Alzheimer's. Both diseases stemming from insulin resistance. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4191295/
(10) Premature Aging
Ground breaking research has discovered that non-vegetable carbohydrates directly affect specific genes that govern youthfulness and longevity. The original study looked at roundworms (they lived 6x longer than normal when they cut out all non-veggie carbs, and kept their youthful vigor until the end). This work has now been repeated around the world with other animals (rats, mice and monkeys). We also carry these same genes, which lead us to believe that the results would hold true for us as well.
And the list goes on...
The bottom line is, that this is true for EVERYONE who over indulges in sugar, no matter your overall health or your body physique. So don’t be fooled into thinking that sugar doesn’t affect you. It does. And at some point in time it will catch up to you and show you just what it’s doing.
So why not join me! No matter who you are, or your life circumstances, swearing off sugar and starchy carbohydrates for a couple of weeks will benefit your health. It’s a certainty! How much, and in what ways will depend on you. Come check it out here, and find out just how freeing it can be to not be dependent on sugar anymore. Your future self says ‘Thank You’! And who knows, it might just be the game changer you’ve been waiting for.