How does sugar affect weight and disease?
Let’s start with understanding blood sugar. Blood sugar is glucose. Hint, anytime you see ‘ose’ at the end of the name, it is sugar. For example, fructose (fruit sugar), lactose (milk sugar), maltose (starch). We get these sugars from our fruits, carbohydrates, legumes, and veggies.
This “ose” molecule, when consumed, goes into the body and is broken down, turning into energy. Think of blood sugar as “quick energy”. The brain really uses this, especially glucose.
That instant sugar is deposited in our cells for energy. And it is deposited in every cell that needs energy, for example, muscle cells for exercising, brain cells for thinking, etc.
When does blood sugar become a problem?
Imagine there is a long line of cars at a station needing gas. There is an attendant pumping gas into these cars. Each car is being filled with enough gas to get them to their destination. Yet, the last car leaves, and the pump is still running and spilling on the ground. The attendant doesn’t know what to do. He begins to fill any receptacle near him with gas, just to have a place to put it until the pump can stop.
How does this story relate to blood sugar in the body?
The Gas Pump is you eating sugar and not stopping.
The Gas Attendant is the brain telling where the sugar needs to go in cells.
The Gas is the insulin and sugar from your food supplying those cells.
The Cars are the cells in your body being fueled for energy.
When you eat food which contain sugars, the sugars are directed by insulin to deposit in cells that need energy (fuel). If the sugar you consume has fed all the cells needing energy, what happens to these remaining sugars? They have to be deposited somewhere else.
This is the beginning of Syndrome X or Insulin Resistance, which leads to a variety of health issues. The insulin begins to put these excess sugars in our fat cells. Remember our fat cells are our number one storage facility for anything the body cannot expel or use (hormones, sugars, toxins). The more we fill these fat cell, the bigger they will become to store all these excess molecules.
If the fat cells no longer have any space, the sugar will began circulating through our blood system and deposit in our organs. This sugar is trying to find a place to stay. And as the sugar begins to travel through the blood system, it begins to damage our vascular walls. “How can sugar do this?” you may ask.
Have you ever spilled some sugar on a counter and it got a little water on it, and then it crystallized and became sticky? That is the same texture floating around your blood! These little crystals began to cling and scratch the inner lining of your vascular wall. When it starts cutting this vascular wall, you begin to have inflammation.
When you have inflammation of the vascular wall, that is a warning to the body that something is not right. Guess what happens? Your blood pressure goes up because your vascular wall is leaking blood and is inflamed. I always tell my patients, “When blood pressure goes up, that is a sign your body is in trouble.” This is where cholesterol comes in and that is another lecture.
- Inflammation: arthritis, joint pain, Autoimmune issues, high blood pressure, weak Immune system
- Fat Accumulation: Weight gain, Fatty Liver
- Deposits in different organs: such as the Liver (Fatty Liver), Brain (Dementia), Pancreas (Diabetes,Hypoglycemia, Adrenal Glands, Adrenal Fatigue, Estrogen Disruption, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), Heart (Strokes/Heart Attacks)
I always tell my weight loss patients, “It is not about your diet, it is about what you consume.” You might think you are eating healthy but when we really dissect it, you could be eating too much of one kind of food. Usually it’s carbohydrates and fruits. Often, women do not eat enough protein and veggies and we need those for our essential amino acids, B vitamins, minerals and more. You must have these nutrients to fuel and heal the body! When you consume too much sugars, you cause inflammation and now the body has to work harder to heal. This stops the natural order and here is when we gain weight. Next week I’m diving into one of my most common questions, “Why am I not losing weight?”
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