Thread: Sugar
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Old 03-09-2016, 11:34 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Heike_Ott View Post
From a nursing student's perspective, I want to try and see if I can shed some light on this.

Sugar is sucrose. Chemically speaking, it's pretty close to glucose (the "sugar" your body's cells actually utilize). Unlike proteins and fats, carbohydrates actually start to break down in your mouth. They are also absorbed into the body higher up in the digestive tract than proteins or fats. Thus, the end result - the glucose - enters the bloodstream much faster than it does from the ingestion of other types of nutrients.

In the "normal" healthy human body, a small amount of glucose entering the bloodstream is a pretty routine event. The pancreas may or may not throw out a little insulin in anticipation of additional glucose hitting the bloodstream as the rest of the meal is digested. It's quite ho-hum.

However, in those of us who are insulin-resistant, pre-diabetic or diabetic, or have other metabolic disorders, or those who routinely consume large amounts of sucrose, the pancreas is sort of on the edge of panic all the time. It "knows" that insulin doesn't effectively bring down glucose like it's supposed to, so at the least hint of incoming glucose it overreacts, throwing out more insulin than is needed. This insulin, if you've only eaten a small amount of sugar, will drop your blood sugar to unsafe levels (hypoglycemia). This actually kicks in a state very similar to the "fight or flight" response, causing the production of adrenaline and the resultant symptoms of hypoglycemia: shaking, nervousness, low energy, and (significantly) strong carbohydrate cravings.

In people who routinely eat sugary snacks or drink sugared drinks, this becomes a vicious cycle of high blood sugar -> insulin production -> low blood sugar -> cravings -> carb ingestion -> high blood sugar that, according to some professionals, is a leading cause of overeating and obesity.

Now, if you just eat that teaspoon or so of sugar and stop, obviously you aren't going to get into that cycle. But it could make your day a little unpleasant for a while, or trigger strong carb cravings that will cause you to deviate from your eating plan and sabotage your weight loss.

Also, our taste buds and perception of taste are adaptive - the more sweet things we eat, the less sensitive our taste buds become to sweetness, and the less sweets we eat, the more sensitive our taste buds become to sweetness, thus needing less sweetening for things to taste sweet to us.

Personally, I use good old saccharine, the pink stuff. Those studies way back when that lead to the "cancer-causing" warning were funded by the sugar industry and are seriously flawed. It would be difficult for a human being to voluntarily consume enough saccharine to duplicate those results, and in fact sugar will cause serious health problems at much lower quantities ingested. Saccharine, unlike aspartame and splenda, has no other complications associated with it, and you will get used to the "aftertaste."

I hope that helps, and I hope I avoided medical jargon well enough to make it understandable.
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