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The Science of Sugar



Sugar is a carbohydrate that can be found in two forms, simple or complex.

Carbohydrates are the cleanest burning macro-nutrient and is the best provider of glucose which fuels muscles and the brain in order to function properly. Simple carbohydrates are an instant fuel but does not last long where as the complex carbohydrate is a long chain of simple sugars and require longer digestion to be absorbed. The sugars are then released slowly which supplies long lasting energy for the body.

Is sugar really that bad for you?

Sugar gets such a bad reputation for health. But the problem is not sugar itself. Every cell in your body needs sugar to survive. The problem is the quantity of sugar that people feed their bodies. Sugar cravings can play a huge role in the quantity we consume. Sugar or glucose feeds the brain fuel, the brain sees sugar as a reward which makes us want more. When you eat a lot of sugar, you are re-enforcing that reward which makes it a tough habit to break. When you eat sugar, blood sugar levels increase. Dopamine is released in the brain which makes you feel good because it is a natural anti-depressant. Mass insulin is then secreted to lower blood sugar. At this point, your body is fighting to be in balance. The insulin that is released now causes blood sugar levels to quickly fall as the insulin delivers glucose in the cells for energy and store extra sugars in the liver and fatty tissue. As blood sugars fall, the body feels exhausted due to the lost sugar high. These low blood sugar levels cause increased appetite and craving. And the cycle repeats.

How much Sugar does your body need?

How much sugar does your body need and how do you stop the sugar craving cycle? Your body only needs about two teaspoons of sugar in the blood stream at any one time. That small amount can easily be eaten through complex carbs, protein and fat. Nature provides us with all the sugar we require in vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. Those foods also provide fiber and nutrients needed to properly utilize the sugars.

The hard part is to retrain your taste buds to kick the sugar habit and cravings. Start with eliminating some sweets or replacing them with whole fruits and berries. Skip artificial sweeteners. Over time you will lose your need for sugar and crave healthier foods.