Sugar and Spice, and Everything Nice

That’s what girls are made of, right? Plus or minus a few other things, that is.

But let’s talk about sugar for a second. Your brain operates on a form of sugar called glucose that your body breaks down from carbohydrates. That’s where it gets its source of energy. People on extremely low carb diets are typically always tired, because the brain only operates on glucose, not fat or protein, and so those people aren’t able to provide the brain what it needs to be at its best.

Usually when we think of sugar, we think about simple sugars such as table sugar, candy bars, baked goods, sweets, etc. These give us a “rush” because they cause a spike in your blood sugar that your brain likes (because glucose is its energy source, remember?), and so you feel rewarded. A.K.A. you like it and will probably continue to eat those same foods.

Our bodies translate starch the same way. The sugars in it get absorbed quickly into the blood stream, and are quick to leave. That’s why potato chips and French fries are so addicting.

However, there are also complex sugars (or complex carbohydrates) such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole-wheat pasta, etc. These give our body the energy we need…without the spike in blood sugar, making these foods less addicting and less likely to overeat. Plus they typically have more nutrients like fiber, vitamins, and minerals our body needs to begin with.

Literally, there is so much that goes on in your body, I could fill a chapter (What? It’s not like I’m an expert). I’m barely scratching the surface here, because our bodies are really incredible and intricate in every way. But there have been books and books filled with this information, so if you want to learn more, do it. Educate yourself and do some research. It won’t be a waste of time.

I don’t think it’s difficult to grasp why sugar is so addicting. My brain likes it, so I eat it. Repeat. Americans on average eat way too much sugar. Sugar is not low calorie, so when you’re addicted, it can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, and much more.

I try to stay away from sugary things and sweets. I’ve noticed a huge difference in how I feel and how I eat as compared to the Christmas mornings when I gorge myself on Monkey Bread. When I avoid sugar and I’m full, I stop and am satisfied. After a few days, I stop craving it. If not, look out everyone! I will stuff my face and feel miserable afterwards because my brain told me it liked the sugar, making me ignore my stomach’s plea to stop.

Am I saying that simple sugars are poisonous and you should throw every grain out the window? No. Because there are some times in life when it’s worth it to eat those sugars. Like your wedding cake. Your best friend’s birthday treat. A brownie someone made for you because they were thinking of you. Food is not evil. Food is just food. It’s a gift. It’s a blessing to have.

Instead, we need to learn to listen to our bodies. It knows what it needs better than the latest bogus diet. However, it’s important to be informed how things like sugar effect our bodies so we can take better care of ourselves. Be kind to yourself. You only have one body, let’s do something good for it.

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