Haribo time! Or is it Quality Street in your household? Or a cocktail of those two to make a gastric equivalent of nitro and glycerine? Sugar is the name of the game and, it would seem, the devil incarnate when it comes to diet and weight management.You may have heard of blood sugar before, perhaps in reference to diabetes or the glycemic index (GI), and keeping your blood sugar steady is vital for weight loss. Controlling blood sugar is easy when you understand the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates. The main difference between simple and complex carbohydrates is what happens to them in the body once you’ve consumed them. Simple carbohydrates promote weight gain, whereas complex carbohydrates help you maintain or even lose weight.
Sugar – white or brown – is a simple carbohydrate. Examples of other simple carbohydrates include fruit juice, milk, yogurt, honey, molasses and maple syrup. Simple carbohydrates, which are also known as refined sugars, are often hidden within ‘diet’ or ‘low fat’ products, so you must get label-savvy in order to detect them. These simple carbohydrates are broken down and digested very quickly, and contain very few essential vitamins and minerals.
Examples of complex carbohydrates include vegetables, wholegrain breads, legumes, brown rice and wholemeal pasta. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest and are packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals – all of which are helpful for life-changing weight loss.
The first part of the sugar story is quite scary. When you eat a simple carbohydrate, an alarm is triggered that tells your body there is sugar in your blood. Your body responds to this sudden rush of sugar by releasing a hormone called insulin, which brings down your blood sugar levels by putting a form of sugar called glucose into either your cells for burning or into your liver or muscles for storage. So far, so straightforward, right? The trouble is, when you eat a lot of sugar regularly, this insulin response becomes overloaded, resulting in the sugar being more readily stored as fat. Eating simple carbohydrates rather than complex carbohydrates will lead to weight gain.
The second part of the sugar story is even scarier. Every time a simple carbohydrate triggers the release of insulin in your body, your cells have to react. However, if the presence of sugar in your blood becomes the norm, rather than an infrequent and special occurrence, over time your cells tire of this constant demand and become less sensitive to the insulin. This means glucose is not put into the cells, where it can be used up and burnt, so more of the sugary food you eat is stored as fat. To add insult to injury, the final blow to weight loss is that insulin is also known to hinder the stored fat from being burnt as an energy source. In other words, not only does sugar make you fatter, it will keep you that way!
Type II Diabetes, sometimes called Adult Onset Diabetes, occurs when the body becomes resistant to the amount of insulin flooding the system. Reducing the insulin reduces the risk. Because the 28-day plan focuses on natural foods (such as healthy proteins and fibrous fruits and vegetables) and recommends the reduction of most processed grains, you may experience a natural reduction in blood sugar. You must discuss these changes with your GP so that he or she may oversee any necessary changes that need to be made in your current medications.