Sugar is a simple carbohydrate, an energy source that gets into the blood stream very quickly.
When your body takes in sugar, the pancreas releases insulin (a hormone) which transports the glucose (the converted energy from sugar) to the muscles. If the glycogen levels in the muscle are already full, your body will convert the excess energy into fat.
Sugar quickly raises blood sugar levels, which is great if you are going to run for a few miles or do an intense workout. Sugar is also good following a long workout to replenish the glycogen stores.
Unfortunately, sugar is addictive, as it leads to the release of dopamine – the neurotransmitter which tells your body that you like something!
A few withdrawal symptoms you may have when ‘quitting sugar’ are:
But don’t worry… stick to your plan… these WILL stop! Don’t give in to them!!
If you do need to raise blood sugar levels, I would recommend having something with a good nutritional value – i.e. a piece of fruit, rather than a piece of cake - which contains refined sugar. Be shop savvy – there are lots of sugar-free snacks available: popcorn, ice cream, and even chocolate! Yes, you heard it right - sugar-free chocolate!
Of course we do need foods in our diet that will give us energy. We recommend ‘clean’ complex carbohydrates. These are slow releasing, filling, and won’t give you that dreaded ‘sugar spike’ along with the nasty after effects. They are called ‘complex’ carbohydrates as they have a more complex structure; they are unprocessed and therefore take longer to break down. They also have a better nutritional value and give our bodies the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants required to function more efficiently. Some examples of complex carbohydrates are oats, quinoa and potatoes!
Keep an eye on the Lean Queens Facebook page for more low sugar snacking ideas! Sarah xx