I Bet You Don’t Consider Yourself An Addict ….. To Sugar?
The consumption of sugar is one of the most common causes of reduced fat burning in our bodies and diminished health. For many people sugar and refined carbohydrate make up a huge portion of the food they eat daily. So, what is sugar? What are carbohydrates? We appear to use the term sugar as a universal label for numerous different types of carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are used by the body as a main source of energy. They function to protect protein which is muscle mass from being catabolized during exercise and they provide the main energy source for the brain and nervous system when broken down into glucose during digestion.
There are different types of carbohydrates, each classified based on the number of sugar units and chemical structure they have. They are also broken down into simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates.
Some of these scientific classifications include:
- Monosaccharides – Carbohydrates which have one sugar unit (simple carbs).
- Disaccharides -Carbohydrates consisting of two sugar units (simple carbs).
- Oligosaccharides – Carbohydrates with 3-10 units of sugar (complex carbs).
- Polysaccharides – Complex carbohydrates that have 10 or more monosaccharide linked together (complex carbs).
Simple carbohydrates Monosaccharides and Disaccharides.
Monosaccharide is the simplest form of sugar that makes up more complex carbohydrate molecules. Some examples are glucose, galactose, mannose, and fructose (a simple sugar found mostly in fruit). Disaccharides contain two sugar units, and an example is sucrose which is made of one molecule each of glucose and fructose.
Complex carbohydrates Oligosaccharides and Polysaccharides
Remember these types of carbs have more than one unit of sugar. Oligosaccharides have 3-10 units and monosaccharide has 10 or more linked together. Glycogen is a polysaccharide and is used to store carbohydrate energy in the body. Important for us to understand is that irrespective of the form in which we digest glucose and other carbohydrates a single gram is around 4 kilocalories of energy.
So I hear you thinking, why does it matter which we consume?
The key difference with carbohydrates is how our bodies digest and use them. The more complex the carbohydrates the slower we digest and absorb them. Different carbohydrates require different enzymes and reactions to metabolize. Our blood sugar level is influenced by the types of carbohydrates consumed. Please see my blog on the “Glycemic Index” for more information on this. Fiber is also considered a carbohydrate, a special type of carbohydrate as it is not digested nor is it absorbed in the small intestine.
Processed foods (foods that have been mechanically or chemically altered) have a high nutrient profile of fat and simple carbohydrates, sugars. This helps them taste so good and explains why millions of people flock to eat them every day, sometimes several times a day and often at the expense of more suitable nutrition.
Research suggests that we have developed innate cravings for sugars and that we are triggered to consume large quantities of them. Sugars and even artificial sweeteners have the same impact on our feelings of hunger as do leptin and ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that is released from our stomachs, and it stimulates appetite whereas Leptin regulates energy balance.
Junk food directly interferes with our ability to get and stay healthy and fit. A single meal or one single snack of sugar not only prevents us from being fat adaptive, the ability to burn fat, but also significantly impacts our hormones. Researchers think this impact on hormones can switch on genes that may cause disease.
Processed food, sugar and artificial sugars trick the body into thinking it is hungry. So, we eat more, we consume excessive calories of the wrong food which leaves us wanting more. This plays a huge role in the obesity epidemic. People who are obese suffer from numerous health problems, ranging from fatigue to joint pain to trouble walking and breathing. Being obese puts you at risk of developing chronic illnesses.
So, I ask again, are you addicted to sugar considering the definition of addiction?
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (2021)
“Addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences”.
Ponder this and then consider what you can do today to begin making healthy choices. How about joining us in January for our “Detox Your Nemesis” program. We will be offering a program in January to help you take back control of your eating habits by focusing on your nemesis and removing it from your life. Click here to join our community and get ready to join our new program in January 2022.
Let me know here in the comments what your thoughts are on this and what if any changes you plan to make to your food choices!