(December 11, 2008) — Scientists have demonstrated that sugar can be an addictive substance, wielding its power over the brains of lab animals in a manner similar to many drugs of abuse. Researchers found profound behavioral changes in rats that, through experimental conditions, have been trained to become dependent on high doses of sugar. Lab animals that were denied sugar for a prolonged period after learning to binge worked harder to get it when it was reintroduced to them. They consumed more sugar than they ever had before, suggesting craving and relapse behavior. … > full story
Problems managing polycystic ovarian syndrome? It may not be due to lack of willpower. Instead, you could be Insulin Resistant, a root cause of PCOS. Scientists at the National Institutes of Health, Stanford University and other research centers have clearly identified the existence and effects of Insulin Resistance, a biochemical condition that can cause excessive weight gain and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
PCOS and Insulin Resistance
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal imbalance linked to the way the body processes insulin after it has been produced by the pancreas to regulate blood sugar (glucose). Insulin Resistance could be caused by:
Over time, the above factors have damaged the complex ability of the body’s cells to properly utilize insulin to convert glucose to energy. This process creates Insulin Resistance.
Insulin Resistance vastly reduces the insulin sensitivity of cells, which impairs the processing of glucose through the cell wall for conversion to energy. As a result, glucose remains in the blood stream, causing elevated levels of blood sugar, which are sent to the liver. Once there, the sugar is converted into fat and stored via the blood stream throughout the body. This process can lead to weight gain and obesity, key factors in creating PCOS, which is also referred to as Polycystic Ovarian Disease or PCOD.
Insulin Resistance can also cause PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is by raising insulin levels in the blood stream. Unhealthy lifestyles and genetic conditions can lead to the pancreas overproducing insulin. This excess insulin stimulates the ovaries to produce large amounts of the male hormone testosterone, which may prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg each month, thus causing infertility. High levels of insulin also increase the conversion of androgens (male hormones) to estrogens (female hormones), upsetting a delicate balance between the two and having a direct effect on weight gain and the formation of cystic follicles or ovarian cysts.
Symptoms of PCOS
The symptoms vary widely from woman to woman. Because the symptoms vary so widely and not all women display all the symptoms, doctors very often misdiagnose PCOS. This became an issue of critical concern after a study in 2000 found that women suffering from PCOS have a higher risk of coronary heart disease.
irregular or completely absent periods,
Hirsutism (excessive facial or body hair),
Alopecia (hair loss),
skin tags (raisin-like growths on the skin),
Acanthosis Nigricans (brown skin patches),
exhaustion or lack of mental alertness
decreased sex drive.
high blood pressure
high levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol
atherosclerosis, which occurs when fatty deposits called plaque cling to the interior walls of the arteries, leading to blockages that can cause heart attacks or stroke. Not only do PCOS sufferers have higher rates of plaque buildup but those over 45 have thicker deposits of plaque.
up to 40% of women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome have either impaired glucose tolerance or Type 2 Diabetes by the age of 40.
Posted by : Goral Gandhi, MSc, Laboratory Director, Rotunda – Center for Human Reproduction (Pvt) Ltd, full article
Refined sugar is a simple carbohydrate because its been stripped of its nutrients. A sugar plant has nutrients. Sugar cane and molasses are more directly utilized, not extracted, and carry more of the nutrients to metabolize sugar. more about sugar
Sugar drives insulin levels to abnormal heights, causing Type 2 Diabetes or Syndrome X.
Sugar depresses the immune system by slowing the ability of white blood cells to kill infection. Think of a group of kids just after a sugary cereal breakfast; they’re very susceptible to passing around viruses and bacteria.
“Eating or drinking 100 grams (8 tbsp.) of sugar, the equivalent of about two cans of soda, can reduce the ability of white blood cells to kill germs by forty percent. The immune-suppressing effect of sugar starts less than thirty minutes after ingestion and may last for five hours.” (from Feeding Your Immune System)
Our body deals with excess sugar by creating more insulin.
What is the purpose of Insulin? It is a hormone secreted by the pancreas. Its main function is to store energy from food. Only a small amount of carbs are stored as glycogen, the rest are converted into triglycerides. Yes, triglycerides!
Why is insulin fluctuation problematic? Cells become resistant when too much insulin is pumped. They turn off their insulin receptors and are not ready to receive energy from food. The cells are trying to protect themselves from the excess, so they send a signal that they’ve had enough.
Sugar depletes B vitamins and harms the nervous system. Adrenaline is made from B vitamins; stress causes adrenaline production. If too much adrenaline enters the system, cortisol is produced. Cortisol harms many processes, including the nervous system.
Sugar harms digestion because it feeds candida which can lead to candida infection.
Sugar creates an acidic body system. (not acidic blood ph, but acidic cells created by consuming certain food types) Acidic cells lead to all types of disease (allergy, cancer, diabetes, endo, candida, arthritis, etc.)
Alternatives to refined sugar?
The food industry has tried to create chemical imitations for sugar to help us avoid calories. Water is the only drink that truly has zero calories. A chemical concoction like diet soda dehydrates the body because it takes water away to dissolve and try to break down those chemicals. All of the chemical sweetners have side effects.
Aspartame, or Nutra Sweet (brand name), is found in so many drinks, yogurts, gums, usually in food items traditionally sweetened with sugar, which people have decided they want to avoid, either to avoid calorie intake or tooth decay.
When the FDA approved aspartame, it was never intended to become so widely used, and the threshold for consumption by which they figured it would be “safe” for humans is usually surpassed by anyone taking more than one serving per day.
It was tested only in its powder form and then it was stated that it does not produce cancer in the animals, but does produce brain lesions.
In its liquid form it turns into poisonous wood alcohol (methanol). Methanol is stored in the liver and accumulates.
Discovered by accident through biological warfare research and has become entrenched in our food supply.
Aspartame is linked to the rise in the rate of childhood seizures. (adapted from Chemical Crazy and Insulin Resistant by Sherrie Attila)
Sucanat is non-refined cane sugar which retains its molasses content. The pure dried cane juice is extracted by mechanical processes, heated and cooled at which point the small brown grainy crystals are formed. (from WikiPedia)
Xylitol is extracted from fruit, usually strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. It is safe and good for preventing tooth decay. Many chewing gums and natural toothpastes are made with xylitol.
Both sucanat and xylitol are able to be measured and used in a way similar to white sugar in cooking and baking.
Agave Nectar is a cactus plant similar to aloe vera. It doesn’t effect blood sugar levels.
Stevia is a sweet herb, not a sugary substance. It can be in liquid or powder and is measured in drops and has no effect on blood sugar.
Honey sugars are surrounded by nutrients to metabolize the sugar. In recipies, increase flour or decrease liquid, add a bit of baking soda and powder.
Maple Syrup sugars are surrounded by nutrients to metabolize the sugar
Molasses is sugar which is not refined or whitened. It contains a good compliment of B vitamins. The strong flavor makes it inappropriate for some recipes. Available in granule form.
Ground dates add sweetness and fiber.
Applesauce adds moisture and sweetness.
Ground grapes add moisture and sweetness.
Sugar may be entrenched in our diets, but nutritious additions and alternatives can be found. Some families may wish to delete sugar completely. Artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Any change you can make to control sugar intake will be an improvement, and step by step, we can all build healthier habits.
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