Monday, August 17, 2009

Addicted to the 'sugar rush'

On the weekend, I had the opportunity to read the September '09 issue of North & South magazine. The cover story is about 'pioneering New Zealand science reveals there's much more to getting fat than laziness and lack of willpower'.

The headline of the article refers to 'gene switches' within our DNA - how they are activated before birth causing the baby to develop in a certain way. According to their research, mothers can predestine their children to obesity by what the mother eats during pregnancy and even before conception. This article, written by Joanna Wane, is very interesting and covers a number of different aspects regarding weight gain and loss.

One particular part of the article which grabbed my attention was an interview with Dr Simon Thornley, an assistant research fellow at the University of Auckland. According to Thornley, 'heavily processed carbohydrates create a "sugar rush" that stimulates the same areas of the brain associated with drug dependency. And like any addicts who develop tolerance to their drug of choice, they need more of it to get the same fix - which might explain why overweight people need to constantly upsize their portions.'

To me, this also explains why having just a small portion of some sugary, sweet food is a trigger for me to want to eat much, much more as per my previous post on triggers.

The article went on to say that Thornley 'suspects mood swings and physical discomfort caused by cutting out high-GI foods and sugar are key factors in sabotaging long-term weight loss'.

That certainly has been the truth for me in the past ... I can recall many a late evening run to the petrol station or grocery store for an ice cream and chocolate fix (better throw in a few bags of chips too) after a 'good' day of dieting.

I think the only real way out of this vicious circle is to fuel the body correctly with the right amount of slow-release carbs, high quality protein and plenty of fruit and fibrous vegetables.

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