Fruit, Sugar, and the Insulin Connection

by Atomic Strength Nutrition April 10, 2016

Fruit, Sugar, and the Insulin Connection

 

How much sugar do you eat in a day? If you’re like most people, then every single snack and meal you eat has sugar. In fact, you may have sugar in your drinks too. That means every time something goes into your mouth it contains sugar. All this sugar causes disease. It’s that simple.

 

But isn't sugar what your body needs to make energy? 

Yes and no. Your body needs glucose for the process of making energy at the cellular level. But guess what? Just about every molecule of food you put into your body can be converted into a glucose molecule. It’s called digestion. Your body breaks down proteins for example, and creates long chains of glucose, or glycogen, which can be stored. When your body needs glucose for energy it just breaks apart that chain and voila, you have what you need to make energy. So you don’t need to ingest pure glucose. And in fact, if you do ingest too many sugary foods, you’re probably causing disease.

 

The Blood Sugar Connection

Your body is an amazing machine. Put a piece of food in your mouth and you immediately start digesting it, and your mouth even sends signals to the rest of your body about how to prepare. For example, if you place a saltine cracker in your mouth you’ll notice that it dissolves right on your tongue. That’s because saltines are mainly sugar and carbs that are readily broken down. Place a nut in your mouth and you’ll have a different experience. It won’t dissolve. You have to chew it to begin the digestive process, which is later finished further along in your digestive system.

Whenever you eat sugar or starchy carbs your body sends signals to your pancreas and your digestive system. It says “hey, glucose is coming in. Release insulin so we can tell the cells that energy is on its way.”

Insulin tells your cells that it needs to take in the glucose. The more glucose you have, the more insulin is released. Now this is okay if it’s only done infrequently. However, if you consume sugar all the time, say with every meal and snack, your body starts paying less attention to those signals. The pancreas becomes resistant. It starts ignoring the signals because there’s always sugar in the blood so it stops telling your cells to absorb it because they honestly just don’t need it that much. When this happens your body stores the sugar instead, and stores it as fat. So not only is your body becoming insulin resistant, aka Type II Diabetes, it’s storing what you eat as fat.

 

The Spike

But you now have little energy because your cells aren’t taking the glucose in like they should. Keep in mind that this happens over time. So you don’t have any energy, you crave sugar, you eat sugar, and your blood sugar spikes. Your body doesn’t absorb what it needs, so after that immediate spike your blood sugar plummets and you crave sugar again. It becomes a vicious and unhealthy cycle. The good news is that you can reverse the problem. You can even reverse Type II Diabetes.

Foods to Avoid:

  • French fries

  • Sugary drinks

  • Bagels

  • Pretzels

  • White rice

  • White potatoes

  • Cereal

You might be surprised to learn that you should avoid fruits as well, at least in the beginning of the process. Fruit is high in fiber and other nutrients which slow down the absorption. But they’re not as healthy as other foods that are lower on the glycemic index and help create a balanced blood sugar and insulin response. Foods that take longer to digest release glucose into your system more slowly. Therefore they don’t overwhelm your pancreas and they don’t cause insulin resistance.

 

Low glycemic foods that stabilize blood sugar include:

  • Artichokes

  • Eggplant

  • Asparagus

  • Green beans

  • Peppers

  • Squash

  • Spinach

  • Kale

  • Collards

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Zucchini

  • Nuts and Seeds

  • Meat

Start paying attention to the amount of sugar you eat and drink. You might be surprised how much you consume. Even “healthy” people often have a sugar habit that they’re unaware of. Start reducing your sugar and focus on low glycemic foods to improve your health and well being.




Atomic Strength Nutrition
Atomic Strength Nutrition

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