If you ask the majority of people what would be the one thing that they are habitually disposed to and/or often succumb to in excessive amounts, it’s always going to be sugar. Going back to the input/output notion of previous posts concerning fat-loss and weight-gain, overconsumption of sugar even alongside what one may arguably consider ‘regular exercise’ could still disrupt the typical routes to which glucose can be sufficiently absorbed and regulated by the body. These routes being either to the liver or a physically stimulated process which replenishes depleted energy stores in the muscle following sufficient exercise, the stored form of glucose being glycogen. Whether you seem to be blessed with a genetic exemption to snacking on mostly quick energy-releasing sugars as opposed to slow release complex carbohydrates without storing the excess, be aware of how such rationale to certain food choices may often instil an array of problems both short and long term, complimentary to the looming dissonance between energy levels and overall mood.
For someone that either skips breakfast or has a big hit of sugar early on in the day, such a habit may potentially yield further appetite for the typically ‘bad’ calories, thus cultivating both an irregularity of sound and sustainable energy along with an ever looming malcontent. In terms of justifying said calories following a period of starvation, consider how blood sugar takes a similar route as gravity, in that prolonging a gradual ‘ascension’ phase will only make the latter direction much more of a dive than a gradual decline. If we look at a potential negative of the ‘Juicing Craze’ regardless of whether a smoothie is made up predominantly of nutritionally sound vegetables and greens, most that would happen to incorporate the obvious ‘nicer’ fruits regularly into the equation are oblivious to the averse effect high blood sugar may have on Insulin. Insulin –the hormone secreted by the pancreas– will attempt to stabilize an excess of glucose in the blood, but alike the receptors which regulate the amount of serotonin in the brain, said pathways become overworked, making their once resounding efficacy redundant over time. Insulin resistance, commonplace for someone diagnosed with medical type I Diabetes, may potentially be a likely prospect for an individual inducing similar symptoms through poor diet and lifestyle, the main precursor to often non-hereditary type II.
‘OK I delve a bit too much on the sugar front now and again but I wouldn’t say its as bad as that!’ Well the amount consumed may not be in the range of pre-diabetes and aforementioned medical illnesses anytime soon, but a slow destructive sequence starting with overconsumption and continuing on to an ultimate guilt fuelled binge is equally important to both identify and thus prevent. In a 24 hour period our moods and energy levels fluctuate in respect of the nature of our environment, they determine the important parameters to which we may work or engage in physical activity, eat and sleep. It is these factors which determine Homeostasis, a physiological equilibrium which can be crucial in stipulating the terms of our body’s susceptibility to lose or conversely gain weight. So apart from the obvious solution of eating less sugar even less frequently throughout the day and considering longer-lasting energy sources, what can be implemented to prevent energy crashes and guilt-fuelled sugar binges?
1. More healthy fats – These will delay a sudden rise in blood glucose when combined with certain carbohydrates. We hear of them all the time; nuts, avocado and Extra Virgin Olive Oil being the staple components of the low carb holy trinity if you like, but there are plenty more that are going to ensure a substantial energy reserve for when fuel/food may be scarce at certain points throughout the day. –going overboard and increasing the number of triglycerides in the bloodstream excessively would make the liver resistant to insulin just like sugar– bringing us on the golden ‘M’ of a healthy and sustainable diet.
2. Less restriction, moderation– Unless a caloric deficit or restriction is necessary to your weight loss program or if sticking to certain foods is the only way to stay on track, don’t stress about the odd lapse of judgement unless you know that it would have a detrimental impact on your progress in toto. Factor in foods that you enjoy when applicable, if you take a mile from the initial inch it may set you back a mile.
3. Less caffeine more water– This is definitely one with great relevance to my typical day. Excessive energy drinks both peaking energy and sapping it completely, increasing the likelihood of headaches and possibly dehydration. Along with suppressing natural appetite to a degree, making a meal or eating window less attractive thus decreasing overall satiety.
4. Eating around and for physical activity– Plan out what parts of the day are going to need more energy and effort than others, whether its an exerting gym session or long shift at work, better caloric distribution will optimise both the energy system and overall mood, making you less temperamental and more productive.
5. Satiety not starvation– As we’ve mentioned those who often justify certain bad food choices with earlier skipping of meals, unsubstantial displacement of calories will only prolong further cravings that end in a food coma or in the fridge at 2am. On the flip side, starvation will only make physical exertion more difficult, increase stress and potentially lower your immune system, so choose your eating habits wisely.
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