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Are you a Sugar Addict

by | Mar 8, 2024 | Moving Through Menopause Podcast, Podcasts

Sugar; friend or foe?

You might have a sweet tooth and crave sweet things from time to time but are you a sugar addict? There is no doubt that we are programmed to seek out sweet foods for their high energy content to keep us going in times of food shortage. But Sugar also gives us a dopamine hit; Dopamine is a “feel-good” hormone. It gives us a sense of pleasure. It also motivates us to repeat the action that results in its release. Dopamine is an integral part of our reward system and therein lies the problem!

From a cultural perspective, sugary foods are also associated with treats and celebrations, it becomes hard to separate the two and reducing our consumption can leave us feeling deprived.

Blood sugar and menopause

The falling levels of our female hormones; oestrogen and progesterone can affect our blood sugar levels. Blood sugar imbalances can affect how we feel; contributing to food cravings, fatigue, mood disruption and sleep disturbance. If you are experiencing these symptoms it is worth considering learning more about managing the levels of glucose in your bloodstream.

Check out our conversation

Join Me and Sue Thomas the sugar-free coach as we break down this sticky sugar situation into easily digestible nuggets of information and top tips that could change your life!

 

 

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Sources of sugar in the blood

100% of the carbohydrates that we eat are converted to sugar or glucose. These include foods such as pasta, bread, vegetables, fruit, and rice. Other foods composed of proteins and fats may eventually be turned into sugar depending on the body’s needs.

Refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice white pasts, cakes, sweets and biscuits are less good for us because they are converted much more quickly releasing the sugar molecules into the bloodstream and leading to blood sugar spikes.

What happens when blood sugar spikes?

Refined carbohydrates and sugary foods initiate the release of insulin from the pancreas to deal with the sugar. The sugar is quickly mopped up by insulin and glucose levels drop rapidly. We perceive this rapid shift and so begin to feel hungry again only a couple hours after eating, commonly mid-morning and mid-afternoon.

Brightly coloured sources of carbohydrates will send messages to the pancreas informing it that some sugar is coming but ‘not to worry’. Refined foods also have fewer ‘warrior chemicals’ or antioxidants naturally found in highly coloured vegetable sources of carbohydrates. These antioxidants can counteract the effects of the free radicals released from the metabolism of refined carbohydrates. This is great news as free radicals contribute to the development of many chronic health problems such as heart disease and inflammatory disease.

Insulin Resistance

Insulin is the hormone that regulates glucose levels in the bloodstream and transports glucose to the cells for energy, or storage in the liver and muscles. Overexposure to glucose from our food can cause high levels of insulin. When we have too much insulin in the system the body cells can become ‘insulin resistant’ and refuse entry, in turn, glucose can build up in the bloodstream. Consistently high levels of blood glucose can lead to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if untreated.

Blood sugar roller coaster

Cravings can be an indication of blood sugar imbalances so taking action to manage the blood sugar levels can help you to manage cravings. Read on for our top tips to manage your blood sugar levels.

3 simple tips to manage blood sugar levels

1. In the morning the stomach has high levels of Hydrochloric acid, one of the digestive juices which breaks down any carbohydrate we might eat very quickly. Theoretically, we should be able to manage 4-4.5 hours until lunch without feeling hunger pangs. If you are hungry within 2 and a half hours of eating, then whatever you eat does not satisfy you. Having protein for your first meal of the day will keep you fuller for longer. Think of scrambling a couple of eggs with avocado and some cherry tomatoes. You could opt for full-fat yoghurt, seeds, nuts, and berries which can be more blood sugar-balancing if a savoury breakfast is not for you.

2. Pile up your plate with lots of lovely colours, next in quantity protein and less carbohydrate-based foods. Now try eating these foods in order beginning with the colourful fibrous foods first then the protein followed by the carbohydrates. If you plan to have a sweet treat the best time to have it is at the end of the meal. Try never to eat sugar on an empty stomach!

3. Finally try to incorporate some movement for at least 10 minutes after you have eaten. When we move the mitochondria are looking for energy to use so the cells are less resistant to insulin and more likely to accept the sugar your meal has provided.

These 3 simple tips can help to balance blood sugar levels, prevent cravings and improve the quality of your sleep.

Move after Meals

My favourite tip is moving after meals, this is something I can help you with! Join me live online

Contact Phillipa

Thanks to

Sue Thomas

Disclaimer: Please note that any advice we provide in this podcast is for information only, and if you are unsure of its suitability for your specific circumstances, you should consult your medical practitioner if you have any specific health concerns.

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