Don’t Listen to the Sugar Monster!

I still have a sugar monster living inside of me.

It visited me last week and I had to go back and read my own post, Thoughts are like Airplanes. The thought in my head was “I’M HUNGRY!”

But I had just eaten.

With that information in mind, I checked my blood sugar using a glucometer to see if indeed I should be hungry.

Nope! I had sufficient sugar in my bloodstream.

I realized at that moment that I had just tipped the scale of the sugar monster with my last bites of food.

What do I mean by the sugar monster?

As I mentioned in I am a Food Addict, my pancreas needs some extra TLC these days, and I monitor my blood sugars periodically to avoid further complications. My pancreas overreacts if I overeat, pouring out high doses of insulin even though I stay away from sugar and refined carbohydrates (the typical driving forces of high insulin).

If I eat too much of anything, I want MORE! I get hungry.

How can I still be hungry when I have just eaten?

Hunger, satiety, and weight gain are controlled by hormones. The hormones I’m talking about are insulin, ghrelin, and leptin. Insulin responds to blood sugar levels. Ghrelin and leptin control hunger and satiety.

When we eat, the food is broken down into glucose, a type of sugar. The glucose goes into your bloodstream, which makes your sugar rise. The body wants to keep tight control on this sugar so the pancreas makes insulin and releases it into the bloodstream. Insulin helps your body use the sugar it needs for energy, and then it stores the rest as fat.

When the body is exposed to too much insulin, levels of hormones like leptin and ghrelin get disrupted.

Why would my body have too much insulin?

Food contains not just calories, but information as to what to do with those calories. Different foods are going to create different hormonal responses. Carbohydrates, and specifically refined carbohydrates and sugar, will have the most immediate effect on blood sugar and insulin levels. However, all foods will have some kind of effect, although to a lesser degree.

When I eat too much, I have too much insulin pouring into my bloodstream trying to lower my blood sugar. Insulin blocks leptin at the brain and makes me hungry. The higher my insulin goes, the the hungrier I get.

What do I do?

These days I am kind to my body. I nourish it and feed it when it’s hungry, and I try not to eat more than I need. I also choose foods that make me feel good and help me keep my life balanced and productive. I use mindful eating to help me achieve this, as well as knowing what foods work for me, and which ones don’t.

It’s not about perfection.

I still have days that aren’t perfect. Sometimes I can misjudge my body cues. On those days I have a backup plan that involves being kind to myself, and knowing when to not listen to the thoughts in my head! I let those airplanes continue to circle overhead. I wait it out, and remind myself that it’s only the insulin talking!


Analysis of Robert H. Lustig’s Fat Chance – Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease

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