Health by Science went back to school, literally! We were invited to St Thomas Aquin’s to speak to a 3rd-year class regarding the topic of sugar and weight loss.
We were pleasantly surprised with the knowledge of the children, especially given the amount of confusion and false information in this area. The children were far more health conscious than we expected, and even said they liked vegetables!
Now, we would have to conduct further research to find out if this was actually the case, but hearing kids say they like vegetables was a new experience for us.
Giving the talk brought back memories of our own time in school. The education on nutrition we received was very basic at best. It appears that more nutritional information is being taught nowadays at schools, however, the subject of sugar continues to be misunderstood by children and adults alike when it comes to sustaining a healthy body weight.
So what is sugar and why does it taste soooo good?
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate and when we eat sugar our brain releases the hormone dopamine, also known as the ‘I want’ hormone. This is key to our survival, without it, we wouldn’t be motivated to do anything and would eventually starve to death!
Our brains are hardwired to get a big hit of dopamine when we eat sugar. But once the brain receives a dopamine hit, it wants more! It will look to find the stimulus which set it off.
This can follow a similar path that occurs when people become addicted to drugs. The sugar can almost be like an addiction.
With high sugar foods everywhere 24/7 and many of us being highly stressed and seeking comfort, our environment is setup to make us more likely to overeat than ever before.
In this video, the experimenters attached a cable to the rat that would release a hit of dopamine in the rat’s brain every time the lever was pressed. The rat would constantly press the lever until it would starve to death! This shows how powerful dopamine can be.
So this would mean the sugar is bad, right?
Not so fast.
There is no such thing as bad food, just as there is no such thing as good food.
There is only food. The nutrient and energy density of the food consumed is what matters. Too much of anything can lead to potential harmful effects. Drink too much water and you will drown to death. One of the reasons vitamin supplements may do more harm than good is because we give our bodies, too much of the dose!
The devil is in the dose. For everything.
So ultimately, the goal is not to be afraid of sugar, but to simply be aware of it.
Enjoy Granny’s apple crumble or the cupcake from the amazing cafe down the road, but just be aware of how much you’re having each week.
Sounds simple enough, but how do you build awareness?
Obviously, we are not going to solve all of our reader’s nutrition issues in a couple of sentences but the following pieces of advice have proven to be extremely powerful for our clients.
-Eat REAL FOOD (single ingredient foods you cook with),
-Eat them SLOWLY and
-Stop eating once you’re 80% FULL.
How do these work?
Real food (such as fruit and vegetables) are packed with vitamins and minerals which help us perform, look and feel amazing.
By finishing your meal when you are 80% full allows your body to catch up with the brain, which tends to get a bit ahead of itself. We all know the feeling of eating until we burst (Christmas lunch is usually a good example). After a meal like that we can feel sluggish, bloated and pretty crappy, thats the body catching up!
Eating real food slowly until you’re 80% full helps you to eat less, be more aware of what you are eating and enjoy your food more.