Is Sugar controlling you?Heidi Hadley
Sugar is something we cannot avoid nowadays, it’s everywhere. We find it in foods, drinks, sauces, spices and medication. It may be labeled as sugar or given a different name such as high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, agave, maltose or rice syrup. Each of these variations still create a blood sugar surge before dropping, with us wanting another blood sugar level boost.
In today’s blog, we are going to look at how sugar influences our brain and other body systems. As you are interested in Somatics, we know that to be truly somatic and mindful, we have to be aware of other areas of our life to help with a good standard of health and well being. My second program, Movement patterns part 2 will be released in January 2018 and nutrition is an area we develop further. Total Somatics is providing education in all areas of health and well being to improve your soma (mind and body) from the INSIDE OUT. It is empowering when we start sensing and reading our body, we start to really listen and know how we truly function at an optimal level.
The “Bliss point.”
The food industry spend millions each year to find peoples’ “bliss point.” Research departments have been set up and funded by food and drink giants to find that level of sugar which creates an euphoric sense of pleasure and reward to people. There has been a great amount of time spent before you consume your food or drink item on how you will be chemically rewarded and “hooked” on that product.
From the first bite, sugar send messages to your brain by stimulating electrical and chemical path systems across multiple regions of your brain. The main hormone which is stimulated within this reward centre is Dopamine. The same pleasurable biological effects produced from a spike in dopamine levels can also be seen with people who have a dependency on alcohol, nicotine, drugs and caffeine. When dopamine levels spike, they send the dopamine receptors into overdrive, making the person enjoy that feeling, leading to them wanting to constantly seek that “high” or “burst of energy.”
Dopamine is always released when we eat food, that’s why we enjoy eating! But what we find is if we eat the same food over and over again, the dopamine levels get use to the same meal or snack. So we no longer get the same pleasure or satisfaction from the food. The reason for this is because we were designed to eat lots of different food groups, keeping our brain interested and motivated to search for more food.
This principle also applies to what we consume in the form of sugar. The more we eat foods containing sugars, the more our dopamine levels need boosting further because we are no longer getting the “buzz” we initially had. So we start consuming more foods with sugar. We may even fall into the trap of feeling weak and wobbly from low blood sugars (if we aren’t diabetic) and think that our blood sugars need boosting and so we drink or eat something of high sugar content. This is a temporary band aid to the problem because in a short amount of time our blood sugars will plummet again and the vicious cycle continues.
Sugar is addictive and the scientific evidence is mounting up. It causes a loss of control because we are driven by addicted urges and cravings plus we develop an intolerance for sugar. We know it is the leading causing for obesity and diabetes in both children and adults. So by educating ourself and those around us, we can start looking at how these foods will affect our Somatic (physical and mental) health.
One area I would like to highlight to you is how sugar can affect the production of chemicals within the brain. There is a chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which our brain needs to form new memories and allow it to learn and absorb information. Neuroscience has shown that people with sugar intolerance or ones who consume high levels of sugar have low levels of BDNF. This hormonal change creates a ripple effect because low levels of BDNF contribute towards insulin resistance, which leads on to diabetes and a whole host of metabolic problems associated with one’s endocrine (hormonal) system being ‘out of whack.’ Low levels of BDNF leads to a whole host of neurological problems such as dementia and depression.
When we consume sugar on a regular basis, we start to alter our brain’s communication with the body which tells you when it is full and satisfied from a meal. There are certain cells in the brain known as oxytocin cells which are part of the anorexigenic oxytocin system responsible for telling you when you have eaten enough. When the oxytocin cells are bombarded with sugar consumption it actually stops this system working efficiently. This is when people are not satisfied and have to have a second or third round of food because they don’t feel full. These individuals may even find themselves eating snacks in the middle of the night. This is when we see how sugar is controlling the individual and damaging the brain’s beautiful way it functions with the body. So when we see how this addictive action begins and spirals out of control, we can see that sugar consumption and the need for more and more, is no different to drug use, alcoholism and smoking. The dopamine levels are spiking, areas of the brain responsible for control and regulation are being dulled, resulting in addictive behaviours.
As we are somatically aware and conscious of wanting to have better control of our soma (mind and body), we would have a very keen interest in making sure we break habitual behaviours detrimental to our health because we cherish and value ourself. Sugar is a substance we need to break free from.
So what can we do to have a balanced attitude towards sugar, after all it is everywhere?
I often mention to clients the well known 80/20 principle. If we eat healthy, clean, whole food 80% of the time, we can afford to eat 20% of the time with foods which may be a little less healthy. But as you increase your somatic awareness to how you body feels with certain foods, you start to change your mindset and realise that a comfortable, balanced, pain free life is much more appealing than eating foods which may cause our inflammation levels to rise, our mood to plummet, our sleep to be disrupted or irregular bowel habits to dictate our day or week following a ‘binge.’
I created the online Total Somatics program to educate and empower people to take back control of their life on so many levels. If you haven’t joined the thousands from around the world on the Total Somatics online program, join today.
Movement Patterns part 1 is available at www.TotalSomatics.com. This program is introducing you to somatic movement, mindset and mindfulness. In January 2018, Movements Patterns part 2 follows on from the first program. I have created a layered learning approach with this program. So you will start increasing your somatic awareness to movement, your soma (mind and body). I have health experts within this second program to help you grow your understanding of Somatic health and well being even more.
Join my online program today which is for 10 weeks and then you will transition into Program 2 beautifully in January 2018.
Heidi Hadley xx