Now, I have a sweet tooth and I love coffee. I used to eat biscuits, chocolate and drink at least four cups of coffee a day and thought nothing of it – until I started suffering from digestive disorders. On my road to recovery, I studied nutrition, decided to cut down on the sugar and coffee and the effects this had not only on my digestion but also on my energy levels, was staggering. That is why I so desperately want to share this information with you.
So why do we find ourselves craving after sugar and coffee? And why do we find ourselves becoming irritable and grumpy when we don’t have them? What is so bad about them anyway? And most of all – what the hell has it got to do with stress?!?!
Well, If you were like me when you were young and paid absolutely no attention to your biology teacher when you were young (or any other teacher for that matter), then I will give you a quick summary of what the different food types do to your body.
The three main food categories are Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats. Proteins are the building blocks of the body, not only the structural elements such as muscle, tissue, bones etc but also enzymes and hormones. Carbohydrates are mainly responsible for providing our bodies with energy and natural fats have many functions that support the cardiovascular, sensory, brain and cell functioning amongst numerous other attributes.
But it is carbohydrates that we are going to focus on today.
Now the body needs energy which comes in the form of sugars (sucrose) that we get from sources such as honey, sugar, pasta, rice, bread, vegetables and fruit. Some of these are known as fast releasing sugars, the others as slow-releasing sugars.
The fast releasing sugars tend to be raw sugar (white and brown), and the processed carbohydrates such as white rice, white pasta and white bread. What happens is that when we consume these products, the sugars are released into the body very quickly. The result is a quick energy rush and the release of stress hormones into our bodies such as insulin and adrenaline. Basically, the effects of consuming these sugars are exactly the same as the stress “fight or flight” response. We experience the same anxiety, fear, lack of concentration and exhaustion when we feel that we are being threatened. Does this help us to perform at our full potential? No, no, no!
Also, as our organs work hard to keep up with the demands we place on the body through excess sugar intake, it also leaves us feeling tired and irritable. And what is the easiest answer to a lack of energy? More fast releasing sugars for that quick “pick me up”. So we reach out for another cookie, can of coke or a sweet cup of coffee to bring our energy levels back up. The stress levels have now increased even further and the vicious circle has begun.
So what is the answer?
The gradual introduction of more slow-releasing sugars into our diets! These come in the forms of vegetables, whole grains such as brown bread, brown pasta and brown rice which release the sugars into our bodies over a long period of time without overworking our internal organs. Introducing these foods to our diets will result in less anxiety and stress, better concentration, more energy, fewer sugar cravings and a more attractive waistline.