We all (hopefully) know the poor effects excess added sugar can have on our health. Like leaky gut, new research and information about added sugar and how it is linked to obesity. It's one thing to simply know this fact, but with any topic presented here at MNML, I want you to truly understand the WHY we should be paying closer attention to our sugar consumption.
Time for another science lesson.
- Sugar is a carbohydrate. Carbs get broken down in our bodies to glucose. Glucose is used for energy.
- Everything we eat is going to have an effect on our blood sugar level. Something high in carbs will cause a big rise blood glucose level.
- After we eat and glucose is present in our blood, our body needs to do something with it. So insulin (our energy storage hormone) comes along to help store glucose in either our: liver, muscles, or fat tissue.
Still with me?
Our bodies can store the glucose we eat in three places. The problem arises when we overload our bodies with sugar. When our blood glucose is always high, glucose has no where else to go expect for our fat cells. The first place is our liver. Think of the liver as a valet parking lot. It fills up fast and space is at a premium. When the liver has hit capacity for glucose storage--it turns to the muscle. The muscle's "parking lot" also has a limited capacity however, through exercise you can change this capacity. Someone with more muscle mass is going to be able to store more glucose than for a child with small muscles, for example. Once we have filled up these two parking lots, our bodies have no where else to turn but our fat cells. Your fat cells are like the long term parking lot at the Metro Detroit airport--there's always going to be space available. When we continuously overload our bodies with sugar, we never allow our "parking lots" (liver and muscles) to empty and all sugar is stored in our fat cells. This is how we gain weight in the form of fat. This also puts added stress on the liver and can lead obesity, insulin resistance, and eventually--Type 2 Diabetes.
Sugar and our brain
I could branch off from here on a million different related topics like types of sugar, natural vs. added sugar, artificial sweeteners--the list goes on and on and I promise I will cover all of these during MNML Sugar Month--stay tuned!
For now, I want to touch on how sugar effects our brain and perception of hunger. Not only does sugar overload signals to our bodies to store excess glucose as fat, but it also blocks your brain from receiving the signal that you are full. What does this mean? Well, to put it simply, or brain thinks that you're starving. Yes--starving. It doesn't matter if you just ate the worlds biggest ice cream sundae or an entire pizza. Foods that are high in the wrong types of carbs offer little to now nutritional value, cause high blood sugar spikes, and leave our brains thinking that we are starving.
Think about how you feel when you're starving. Groggy, sluggish, irritable, and of course--hungry.
This post is not to stop you from eating Halloween candy or to encourage you to donate all of your kid's candy. This post is to help you understand what happens when we choose to eat something high in sugar and be more aware of the sugar that is in the foods we eat every day. With the holiday season coming up, you know that you might eat half of your grandma famous pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. I would never want you to miss out on that. However, when we have the nutritional confidence to know what half a pie does to your body, you can become more aware. When we indulge without knowing the impact, we are much more likely to keep indulging and make up excuses to justify it. However, when we understand the WHY, we can make choices that fit our lives.
If you haven't already given me a follow on Instagram, please do! I give shortened version of my Wednesday posts in my stories and post some bonus content there. On Friday, I'll have my three biggest takeaways for you but for now, have a very happy and safe Halloween!
That's all for now, stay smpl,