Carbohydrates / Sugar

Nutritional Approach

Carbohydrates i.e. sugars are the main fuel for the brain. The human brain only needs 1-2 teaspoons of sugar a day to function properly, which believe it or not, can be obtained from proteins and fats alone since the body can converts these to sugar. That is correct just 1-2 tsp. a day. I am not saying we should not consume carbohydrates but the truth is we need very little for proper brain function. Fortunately if we consume foods that are in excess of that 2 tsp of sugar a day the body will release insulin to help regulate it so that we do not get sick. What this will do is usher glucose into the cells, the liver and then it will start storing it as body fat. This leads to the dysregulation of glucose and insulin resistance all of which affect healthy brain function.

Our body needs a steady and regular flow of this to the brain. For example, people who are hypoglycemic and have low blood sugar are not supplying enough glucose to the brain. This can be experienced as fatigue, depression, emotional, anxiety and confusion. Knowing this it is fair to say that any imbalances with our blood sugar will affect our energy, emotions and brain function. The foods we eat then become important in order to supply a proper supply of fuel to the brain. Sugar, processed foods and high amounts of starches such as rice, pasta, wheat, breads will upset metabolism. And by the way, the word ‘carbohydrates’ is just a fancy name for sugar because the end product of all carbohydrates is sugar. By limiting these foods we will feel better physically and emotionally. However it is difficult to limit these foods if you are not consuming enough fat. Fat is what gives us the feeling of satiation or feeling full. When consuming carbohydrates it is always best to consume them with some fat. This will then help slow the release of sugar into the blood stream so that the brain will not be overwhelmed with too much sugar. This also will help the transition from a diet high in carbohydrates. Unfortunately because most people have become accustomed to consuming many refined sugars found in most processed foods which will act on the body very similar to a drug. For many years sugar was my drug of choice. It often is a form of self-medication and just like any drug when you start to reduce sugars there can be some side-effects or symptoms of withdrawal. These systems will pass in time as the body becomes better able to regulate itself.

Balancing out our blood sugar is not entirely related to the sugars or the carbohydrates we eat. It is also dependent on a steady source of minerals. When we are replete in minerals blood sugar is much more stable. Mineral balance and blood sugar are intricately connected. When one consumes processed sugars or starchy carbohydrates it cause the body to start dumping minerals and vitamins as they are leached from the system. Along with time and stress this can lead to many blood sugar irregularities. This is why it is essential to supplement with good sources of minerals.

One of the reasons people consume excess sugars either through starches or carbohydrates or refined sugars is to raise their levels of serotonin. This gives a person a feeling of well-being. Unfortunately it will not last as it will cause the blood sugar to rise and fall. Most people’s emotions follow this same course. This is easiest to see in children. How after a sweet treat they are wired and then crash later on. This is also true of adults too. It is the manic-depressive cycle many get into when their blood sugar is out of balance.