“Remind me to cut down on the carbs,” you say “after I’ve had this” and continue to munch on too much of it. The occasional treat quite suddenly becomes the regular meal. And all meals include a bite of something unhealthy, something sugary and something totally avoidable. Soon your body stops signalling, and you don’t know whether you are full or overfull. The taste buds are over-indulged. And you are hooked and addicted so completely. Then you begin another cycle. You try to shed the excess weight you’ve gained, (thanks to the binge-eating!) with aggressive exercising. You try out all the new routines in town, from the exotic Zumba to the traditional gym workout, but the body refuses to budge. Now, it’s time to panic and get very sick from all the unhealthy eating.
If you have experienced the above narrative, in one form or another, this blog post is for you!
As a Health Coach and Mentor, I am constantly brought face-to-face with the realities of our world. The first para is just a summary of the extent of the problem. The ‘oversized’ meal portions and the easy top-up options are eating their way into our health. We are unable to break this grip and say no. Partly, it is the relentless lobbying by the industry to keep the details hidden and the marketing incessant. The fundamental issue, however, is the way sugar works in keeping us habituated and coming back for more! You will be surprised at how many types of foods have sugar incorporated in them. For instance, (it’s not just the junk food) but all canned foods, packaged foods, pre-made cereals, juices, biscuits and bakery items have tons of sugar.
The Way Sugar Works
In addition to saturated fats and trans fats, junk foods contain large quantities of added sugar. And the sugars in these foods have a special role. They act like drugs would, dousing the insulin and other bodily responses, and triggering a craving for more sugar. And more sugar is consequently supplied by more junk food as the vicious circle continues.
The sugar rush and high that you experience after eating junk food is linked to the neurotransmitter ‘dopamine’. Dopamine is also known as a ‘reward molecule’ associated with the feeling of ‘anticipation’, ‘achievement’ and ‘accomplishment’. The mind seeks these experiences through food, social engagement and a variety of other sources, and the dose of dopamine that is released during such experiences is potent enough to stimulate and addict.
The body’s coping mechanism is through the production of insulin. Insulin processes the sugar in the blood and moves it to the cells. But as fats start to accumulate, especially around the midsection, one becomes more and more resistant to insulin. When the insulin is not used up properly, the pancreas producing insulin sees it as an indication that more insulin is required and starts pumping it out. Eventually, as the pancreas wears out, the amounts of blood sugar go unregulated.
The Health Repercussions
Obesity, inflammation, heart diseases, diabetes and cancer are all diet-related triggers of disease, suffering and early death. A sedentary lifestyle combined with a fast-paced life, and rising stress we know where the problems stem. But it is our decision to pick the unhealthiest options that are at the heart of the issue. Piping hot fries, crisp chips, yummy burgers, melt-in-your-mouth rolls, tempting sandwiches, thirst quenching juices and sweet carbonated drinks – the list of junk foods that we consume and relish is seemingly limitless! The curse of plentiful ‘unhealthy’ food is such that young Australians have become the first generation (in a long time) to live shorter lives than their parents!
Maintaining the State of Health
The body’s state of health is a balancing act of consuming the right food, partaking in exercise and consciously choosing the healthy options. The healthier you are, the more attracted to the healthier choices you will be. The unaltered perception and the tongue that is no longer under the influence of the sugars from the junk food will find pleasure in foods that are otherwise rich and nutritious. And this constant due diligence about what you put into your body, together will proper health management will revive it and cause it to flush out the toxins, thus bringing your body back to its peak state of health.
My new ebook is brimming with insights about diet and control, and effective health management. So, be sure to download it and take a read!