We all love to have a little sugar - however, it's essential to understand the health implications of too much sugar and refined carbohydrates.
Diabetes, heart disease, weight gain, and hormonal imbalance are all directly linked to excessive sugar intake. Your body can manage small amounts of sugar. But in larger amounts, sugar can quickly become a poison.
The entire endocrine system is interconnected. When one gland, such as the pancreas, is over-stimulated, other glands are forced to compensate. In the case of the pancreas, the thyroid gland becomes suppressed. It's no surprise, then, that the current epidemic of thyroid deficiency and obesity.
When the thyroid is suppressed, the hormonal balance is affected, as the reproductive glands are suppressed.
Sugar is highly addictive
If you consume something sweet one day, then your body creates a physiological response to the sugar. If sugar is consumed regularly, the body will automatically reduce blood sugar levels in anticipation of the sugar high. This is the sugar cravings people experience.
Like any drug, the body requires more and more to obtain the same high. This is how a sugar addiction is created, with a large percentage of society silently suffering from this addiction.
Elevated blood sugar levels then damage a range of organs & the circulatory system, leading to the characteristic signs of diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
This epidemic is a symptom of food manufacturing practices - where sugar is added to almost all processed foods. The problem has become so large today, that genetic weakness has developed in the children of diabetic parents, creating a strong family history of blood sugar disorders.
Resistance to insulin
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas to control the amount of sugar in the blood. It helps move glucose from the blood into cells, where it's broken down to produce energy.
Insulin resistance means the body’s tissues are resistant to the effects of insulin. The body, therefore, has to produce additional insulin to compensate.
High levels of insulin cause the ovaries to produce too much testosterone, which interferes with the development of the follicles (the sacs in the ovaries where eggs develop) and prevents normal ovulation.
Insulin resistance then also leads to weight gain, which can make hormonal imbalance symptoms worse - because having excess fat causes the body to produce even more insulin...
Many women with hormonal imbalances are found to have an imbalance in certain hormones, including:
- Raised levels of testosterone – a hormone often thought of as a male hormone, although all women normally produce small amounts of it
- Raised levels of luteinising hormone (LH) – a hormone that stimulates ovulation, but may have an abnormal effect on the ovaries if levels are too high
- Low levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) – a hormone that helps reduce the effect of testosterone
- Raised levels of prolactin (only in some women with PCOS) – a hormone that stimulates the breast glands to produce milk in pregnancy
The level of refined sugars consumed in the diet has a direct effect on hormone imbalance, due to the association of the pancreas with the other glands in the body - especially the ovaries, adrenals and thyroid.
Every reaction of one gland effects another. Most women with hormonal imbalances report sugar and carbohydrate cravings, and it's well known that a lot of women crave sweet foods premenstrually.
Tips to cut down on sugar intake (and save your life!)
- Make sure you have well-balanced healthy meals so that you won't feel hungry between meals. Missing meals and trying to ‘diet’ will cause you to crave sweet foods.
- Choose brown cereals rather than refined white ones. Brown bread and rice take longer to digest causing the blood sugar to not rise.
- Sleep early. Late nights are often when people snack on sweets. A good night’s sleep also prevents low energy and sugar cravings through the day.
- Sugar is highly addictive. If you eat sugar one day, your body will crave it the next. Avoid giving in to the sugar cravings and the body will adapt in a healthy way and soon the sugar craving will stop.
- Snack on a mix of nuts, seeds and dried fruits as a way to avoid sweet cravings. Dried fruits contain sugar - however, it is much less harmful than refined sugar, since the body can digest it better.
- Cut down on tea and coffee if you have too much sugar. Use a natural honey as a sweetener instead of white sugar.
- Exercise. Regular exercise helps to reduce blood sugar levels and encourages healthy sleep and natural weight control.
- Reduce stress. Stress causes a rise in blood sugar, resulting in sugar cravings.
- If you have sugar cravings take something bitter such as lemon or lime juice in water.
- Increase the amounts of healthy fats with meals, as this can help to keep you fuller for longer, hence reducing the number of cravings.
- Consume fermented foods and drinks regularly. Healthy gut bacteria reduce yeasts such as candida and other bacteria which feed on sugar. This reduces your sugar cravings.
There are a range of treatments that can help with improving sugar metabolism and breaking the sugar craving cycle.
The minerals magnesium, chromium and zinc are all needed to regulate insulin levels, and these minerals also help lessen sugar cravings.
Increasing the amount of fibre in your diet also helps to slow the transit of natural sugars into your blood system. So having psyllium husks with meals can help.
Happy Hormones contains a herb called Gymnema which has shown to help regulate blood sugar levels thus reducing cravings and assisting to balance the entire glandular system. It's one of the secrets to why Happy Hormones is so effective.
Overall, managing sugar levels has a huge impact on your overall health, especially linked to weight gain and hormonal balance.
Balanced blood sugar levels will assist to balance your moods and give you more energy and motivation to make the right choices.
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