Sugar is a necessary part of our diet and is needed for our body to function. But just as with everything, there has to be a balance. Too much sugar can have severe effects on our health and cause long term illness and disease such as liver, pancreas, digestive and immune problems, degeneration of teeth and bones, hormone imbalances and an increasing problem of diabetes type II.
How sugars work in your body
The pancreas is the organ associated with sugar levels. It is responsible for regulating the body’s insulin and helping to produce enzymes for proper digestion. The pancreas produces enzymes that help the body to break down fats, carbohydrates and proteins, it works in conjunction with the liver and other digestive organs. Its other job is to regulate your blood sugar levels with insulin and glucagon, meaning your blood glucose levels.
When we are doing high levels of physical activity or in stressful moments, our body needs a higher level of sugar (energy) released to be able to perform correctly. However, when we are not in such states, our body needs much less energy. The constant balance of ever changing chemical reactions in our body is what controls this. SIgnals to increase or decrease glucose levels are constantly happening through the communication of our nervous system. While our nervous system does all this, it greatly depends on the different sources of energy we put into our bodies- our food sources.
Foods that have high glycemic indexes (GI) or are not nutritive, can cause this signaling to go haywire.
If we are eating things with lots of sugars or simple carbohydrates we are causing lots of ups and downs in our blood sugar levels and this causes fluctuations of our moods.
One minute we have lots of energy, the next we need our bed. These excessive changes cause stress on our body releasing the stress hormones confusing the natural rhythms. While sugar releases dopamine in the brain making us feel good, with energy, it also burns really quickly dropping our level of dopamine and leaving us feeling tired, sad and zapped of energy. Just like any addiction, to keep the same level of energy we need even more sugar.
Some effects of out of balance sugar levels
Weight gain or weight that is hard to lose
Diarrhea and unwanted weight loss
Common foods and drinks that spike GI index
Candy, cookies, sweets
Sweetened yogurts, dairy products
Potatoes, chips and fries
Sweetened sodas (Coke, Fanta, Sprite, etc)
Breads, pastas, cereals
Alcohol in large quantities
Certain fruits with high fructose levels
How to mantain sugar levels
Don´t worry you can and should have some sugar in your diet! The body can function without some sugar, it fuels our cells and allows us to maintain our energy throughout the day. So what can you do to help ensure your body is functioning with the right levels of glucose and a healthy pancreas?
Drink lots of water. Some studies show that when we are craving something sweet, it is actually because we are dehydrated so water up first before you reach for the sweets!
Eat a healthy, balanced diet. I´m a fan of the 80/20 rule. Take good care of yourself and watch your diet most of the time but also allow for some of the enjoyments in life on weekends or special occasions.
Choose snacks between meals that are long lasting, slow burning carbohydrates or complex carbohydrates. Such as: nuts mixed with dried fruit, veggies, fiber rich fruits, legumes.
Get regular exercise. The body keeps excess sugar and fats that it doesn´t need for later reserve. Get moving to use up the unwanted storage which will help level the glucose and insulin in your body.
Get regular chiropractic adjustments. If the chemical signaling between the brain and body/organs is what maintains everything in balance, keep the channels of communication free of interference for optimal function.
Watch your stress levels. Stress can spike insulin because the body is always in alert mode and this can alter the glucose and insulin levels in the body to unhealthy levels. Long term stress can cause inflammatory diseases and diabetes among many other problems.
Life is sweet and we need our sugars but just be sure that your sugar cravings are not the norm. When you do reach for something sweet, check in with your body first and then after. Your body is talking to you all the time. See if you notice how sugar affects you and become more conscious of what your body is really trying to communicate.
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Brittany King empezó a trabajar con el equipo de Puravida Quiropráctica en 2015. Es licenciada en Barcelona College of Chiropractic y en 2020 obtuvo su certificado avanzado en la técnica SOT, actualmente está estudiando para conseguir ser craneópata.