a millennials guide to sugar

*this information is for information purposes only. It is not intended to treat, perevent or cure any conditions, nor is intended to constitute advice on which reliance should be placed. Any information in this blog should be discussed with your health care practitioner.

Sweet Serenade

King Push. But the only thing getting pushed on us these days is s-u-g-a-r. 


Firstly, We have sweet receptors in the brain, and biologically in the Neolithic era, we were rewarded when we found sweet foods, like berries, because it meant an abundance of calories, and back in those days, food was scarce.


So we’re biologically predispositioned to crave, source out and consume sugar, and when we consume it, it triggers the same reward response as addictive drugs.


Numerous studies have given mice both glucose (sugar) and intravenous cocaine, and in every single study >94% of the mice, chose, and went back for more SUGAR. SUGAR OVER COCAINE.


Why? Because when we ingest sugar in all its forms – glucose, sucrose, fructose, lactose, artificial sweetners (saccharin, aspartame, suclarose), sugar alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol), “healthy alternatives” (agave, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup, maple) it triggers the reward part of our brain and releases opioids and dopamine – making us feel good.


To get into it, sugar activates this thing called the “mesolimbic dopamine pathway” which connects a part of our brain that's a major producer of dopamine and another that's associated with reward and motivation.


Dopamine – our feel good neurotransmitter, is connected to reward and pleasure, and having sugar causes the release of dopamine. 


sugar = dopamine = pleasure. it's evil. 


Binging, cravings, addiction and withdrawls are all real, legit experiences when detoxying from sugar. When we consume sugar on a regular basis, we become desensitised to its effects, and see ourselves consuming more and more to feel satisfied. This usually leads to binging, because our brain is chasing that feeling, that release of opoids and dopamine making us going back for more and more, until we literally feel sick. And even more interesting, when you withdraw from sugar, the next time its available and if you can’t resist, you go back and have even more, and thus the viscious addictive sugar cycle continues.


We experience withdrawls – anxiety, edginess, headaches, anger, we’re snappy, fidgety, erratic, cranky, bitchy, you name it, when coming off sugar it’s a legit come down.


I’m sorry, but it gets worse, so not only are we biologically predispositioned to crave and consume sugar, it also causes inflammation within the body and creates havoc in our gut aka microbiota.


We all know about T2D (type 2 diabetes), and sugar is at the very centre of the disease. Over time, as we consume high amounts of glucose and have other poor lifestyle factors, insulin – our hormone that gets released when sugar enters the blood stream gets less effective - resistant. It’s receptors on our cells become so used to seeing insulin, its like “oh hey, you again, I’m kind of over opening the door for you, since I see you all the time, and you just keep coming back”. So our cells become resistant to insulin, not absorbing it. This causes oxidative stress aka inflammation in our body.


Anyways, what our livers does is be like “omg guys why is there still so much glucose in the blood stream still, fine, i'll pump out some more to fix this silly problem". And then our immune system is like “GUYS WHAT IS GOING ON, I’m going to come and investigate” and so in comes our inflammatory response, our macrophages, lymphocytes, helper T-cells (how cute is their name though) 


And then next door, our adipose tissue aka fat is like drinking up as much glucose as it can, releasing inflammatory markers in our body, creating an inflammatory response, and it all just feeds into each other. T2D is a massive ingredient to developing cancer, heart disease, and cardiovascular disease...


And before you’re like “I’m not overweight or obese, asif I have insulin resistance”, YOU DON’T NEED TO BE OVER WEIGHT OR OBESE TO BE INSULIN RESISTANCE, there’s a cool acronym: TOFI (thin on the outside, fat on the inside). Moral of the story is, sugar is a corruptive mother f*cker, if you’re nervous about being insulin resistance I’d just reduce / cut out sugar in general, otherwise you can get your fasting blood glucose levels checked by your dr.


And even if you avoid sweet foods, SUGAR IS IN EVERYTHING! the big food industry jumped on the "low-fat" dumb ass band wagon, and so when fat went down down, sugar went up, otherwise consumers aka us wouldn't buy it because it wouldn't taste good. Honestly, anything you buy in a jar, can, container, packet, anything, read the label, i bet you theres sugar in there. There's sugar in bread, sauces, milks, canned beans, tuna, cereal, dried fruit, soups, and just so much more its honestly insane.


What does this mean? you might be trying to cut down sugar and get rid of it, but it's been sneakily put into things you thought and were told are "healthy".  Now i've told you, its time to be aware, to look at what you're buying and if its got a label a) its not real food b) theres probably sugar in there. So fuck it off and find one that doesn't. 


Also sugar and our gut are not friends. Sugar feeds the bad bugs in our microbiome - which we know is like the king of the castle and essentially controls our entire life haha. Cheers bacteria you legends. Having an inbalance of good : bad bacteria, can negatively effects our energy production, memory, learning, cause gas and constipation, candida (thrush) and so much more.


Sugar is a microbiome disruptor, with studies linking high-sugar diets to hormone disruption – insulin (which prevents weight loss) sleep pattern disruptions (we love sleep, see our last blog). 


Our bodies and gut aren’t equipped for huge amounts of sugar and it causes metabolic dysfunction and just fucks up our entire bodies haha. So look at what you're eating, get rid of anything packaged with added 'ol's' and 'ose's' and say bye bye to disrupting, evil sugar and hello to freedom - more energy, weight loss, better digestion, no sugar cravings, crashes or gut dysbiosis 


Is there any hope for us? I hear you sweet tooth’s saying (its okay, my sister is one of them). YES, KIND OF


So, theres healthier alternatives, and when I say healthier I just mean there is more nutritional value, so its not just empty sugar, but it is still sugar, so we want to not consume lots thinking its not the same thing. 


Dates/date syrup, honey, pure maple, coconut sugar, brown rice syrup are probably the better of the lot. But there’s also fruits, like berries and banana’s which are super sweet and can be used to hit that sweet spot, and pack in the beneficial fibre to slow down the release of glucose. Fibre is our best friend.


People like natural sweetners, like your stevia, birch xylitol, thaumatin – if you wanna, go for it, I’m just pro mumma nature so I’m bias.


You want to avoid the shit out of refined sugars, white sugar, corn syrup, HFCS, brown sugar, palm sugar, agave, all those artificial sweetners (saccharin, aspartame, suclarose), sugar alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol), even milk is high in sugar (lactose be a sugar molecule),


Pretty much if it ends in: ‘ol’, ‘ose’, it’s gonna be a no from me.


Some strategies to overcome our sugar addiction, check into rehab.

Nah, but kind of?

1.     is to just not consume it. You’ll feel like shit, but I’ll pass think of everything you’re gaining like no inflammation and cancer and disease…

2.     get more and better sleep (scope our other blog), as when we’re tired our brain sends out messages saying GIVE ME FUEL IM TIRED, and whats the easiest, most dense, richest source of glucose? All those sugary 'foods'.

3.     Add in cinnamon (balances blood sugars and helps with cravings)

4.     Bump up chromium rich foods, magnesium, zinc, to fight off cravings (deficiencies in these minerals often cause cravings also…) even reach for a supplement to boost your levels and then maintain with dense plant sources – broccoli, green beans, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, cacao, green leafy veg, brazil nuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, seafood.  

5.     replace it with natural sugars (for when you’re like “treat yoself”) and combine it with some good fibre – chia, flax, physillium husks.

6.     Eat more good fats so you won’t be hungry or craving because you’ll be satiated and a happy baby

7. Don't buy low-fat, and try to reduce/cut out packaged and processed franken foods 


Sorry Outkast, you may be our neighbour but we ain’t gon give you some sugar.



- E