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Elimination Diet: Sugar

Glucose is a sugar that comes from starches like sweet potatoes. Our body stores and manufactures glucose, every cell in the body uses glucose for energy. During a meal, your liver will store sugar, or glucose, as glycogen for a later time when your body needs it. Glucose is absolutely vital to life.



What you need to know is that while every cell in the body can use glucose, the liver is the only organ that can metabolize fructose in significant amounts. So when we eat a diet that is high in calories and high in fructose (from fruit - the good source or processed foods laden with fructose), the liver gets overloaded and starts storing the fructose as fat. Fructose also doesn’t affect satiety in the same way as glucose, hence making you eat more total calories automatically if you are snacking on fructose laden foods. This is how a diet too high in sugar and carbohydrates can make us fat.


Sugar negatively impacts mental health, specifically depression and anxiety. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that contributes to the feeling of well-being and happiness and is mostly produced in the gut.

Sugar interferes with the body’s ability to produce serotonin. B vitamins are important; especially folic acid for serotonin production, but if we are consuming too much sugar, the B vitamins are used to metabolize the sugar and there’s not enough left over for serotonin production which can lead to depression.

Over-consumption of sugar creates a roller coaster ride for the blood sugar levels. When blood sugar level crashes, it can trigger an anxiety attack. When your brain becomes desperate for food, you get shaky, weak, confused and anxious.


Sugar has also been shown to make us moody and angry by messing with another neurotransmitter; dopamine, by decreasing the number of dopamine receptors in the brain. This makes it harder to feel the effects of dopamine and creates dopamine resistance, which is the same neurological response that is observed in drug addicts. Yep that's right, sugar is as powerful as a drug when it comes to its effect on our brains! When we eat sugar, the brain’s reward centre gets activated. This leads to more sugar cravings!


In health,

Sheena

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