The 4 Horsemen will usher in a new age of fitness. The traditional versions of Conquest, War, Famine and Death are represented in our focus on Goals, Competition, Nutrition and Metabolic-conditioning. We firmly believe that strength, power and fitness are best achieved by utilizing CrossFit methods and the 4 Horsemen of Lifts: Squats, Presses, Deadlifts and O-lifts.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chasing the White Dragon - Our addiction to sugar

Sugar is like crack! Plain and simple, when you're addicted to it you need it to function. As a recovering sugar junkie I know all about the sugar highs and lows. From the need to have a can of coke as soon as I got home to the mid-afternoon crash I experienced after I slammed down my carbo-loaded lunch. Like any good drug, after a hit of sugar (the pancreas releases the hormone insulin into your blood and) the brain releases "feel good" chemicals (increased serotonin levels = euphoria) into your blood stream, making that brownie taste even better. The problem is that eventually we build up a tolerance to this like every other drug as our body was designed to adapt to change to minimize deviations from homeostasis. What this means is that the can of coke you had isn't as sweet anymore and you need two cans to satisfy your sweet tooth. Your body beings to increase it's tolerance to insulin in the blood stream and it takes more and more sugar to hit the "high" and release those feel good chemicals, this high also starts to decrease in length. Before you know it you are just plowing through a bag of skittles and a Fruitopia just so you can make it to lunch. Your cells have actually become increasingly resistant to insulin and your blood sugar levels begin to elevate. This constant state of elevated blood sugar and insulin levels result in hyperinsulinism and is correlated to almost every disease you can think of (diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc) and obesity. Now all those calories are floating around in your blood stream and the massive amount of insulin that goes along with it is telling your body to "store, store, store" it all as fat! The good news is that this sugar addiction can be cured. With a slow tapering of refined carbohydrate foods (sugars/grains) towards more natural sugar sources (vegetables/fruits/berries) you can start to get the situation under control. This is followed by monitoring not only the quality but more importantly the quantity of sugar you are ingesting everyday. I recommend "the Zone" diet for this sort of portion control but the easiest way is to just start eating natural foods mainly vegetables. The result is that by monitoring the type and amount of sugar (carbohydrates) you put into our body you can start to control the amount of insulin your pancreas releases. You will slowly decrease your cells insulin tolerance and get back to normal levels of function. You will begin to find out what it's like to not have 11pm sugar cravings and to be alert and not feel hungry throughout the day. You will have essentially kicked the sugar habit!


Michael Murphy said...

Just in case people want to know more about this check out this website:

The important parts are listed: Sugar consumption stimulates the body to produce insulin, a hormone which transports glucose, fatty acids and amino acids (except tryptophan) into body cells. Thus insulin speeds up the absorption of amino acids other than tryptophan. This leaves tryptophan available for absorption and conversion to Serotonin (via 5-hydroxytryptophan, 5-HTP) in the presence of vitamin B6 and magnesium, and presto we feel happy.
A person low in Serotonin will be inclined to consume greater amounts of sugar in an attempt to increase Serotonin production and this may lead to sugar addiction. Sugar addiction can lead to insulin resistance. High levels of insulin cause receptors for insulin to shut down by means of ‘down-regulation’. Insulin resistance starts first as mild insulin resistance leading to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar level also called 'hyperinsulinism’), then reactive hypoglycemia, more severe insulin resistance which causes unstable concentrations of blood glucose, and finally more complete insulin resistance, causing diabetes over time. High levels of insulin - hyperinsulinism - blocks the utilization of fat cells (adipocytes) as a source of energy, thus causing obesity.

Sean B-H said...

Murph is that your Italian Girlfriend?

Michael Murphy said...

For 5 euro she's anything you want.