Natural Ketosis Blog Archive

April' 2015

The Addictiveness of Sugar

With the recent media attention on the population’s sugar consumption, studies that have previously been neglected for their claims on the psychological effects of sugar consumption are now gaining more recognition.

 

 

New research published earlier this month looked at the effect of consuming sugar and being stressed and the effect these have on our brain. The results for this study concluded that sugar consumption, coupled with stress, helps to trigger comfort eating. So, the more stressed we are, the more sugar we crave and eat. This continued visicous cycle of eating for comfort is contributing to increase our risk of developing chronic health conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes.


So to answer our initial question - is sugar addictive?


The Science So Far


Due to the nature and implications of this theory, the number of studies looking at the effects of sugar on humans are few and far in between. Hence the data that we have on the psychological implications of sugar consumption are all based on animal studies. A scientific literature review of all the research that has been done on this topic concluded that under certain circumstances these animals did become addicted to sugar and that more research needs to be done to fully assess the extent of this of in humans [1].


Of the studies conducted on this issue, revealed that when these animals were offered a choice of cocaine, morphine or sugar (in the form of oreo biscuits), these animals always went for the biscuit [2]. What does this say about sugar’s effect on the brain reward systems?


Another study showed that excessive sugar consumption led to the animals experiencing a state similar to that shown to morphine and nicotine dependence [3]. Yet another study showed that after a period of abstinence from sugar, these animals exhibited a greater intake of sugar, due to their previous deprived state [4].


Current Eating Advice


The current healthy eating guidelines advise that to get the best nutrition, one needs to ensure that 50% of each meal is made up of a variety of carbohydrates. However, whilst these items are not usually associated with being sugary, the biological digestion of these items turns them into sugar and are recognised as such by the brain. An interesting study showed that the brain’s liking and wanting mechanisms were higher after consuming a meal consisting of mostly carbohydrates compared to consuming a high protein meal [5]. This want/liking mechanism operated independently of total energy intake. In other terms, although subjects ate a big meal consisting of carbohydrates, they were still hungry afterwards and wanted more, unlike the subjects that ate a protein-based meal.


Whilst reducing the amount of sugary items consumed in the form of biscuits, confectionary, fizzy drinks etc may help to reduce your cravings, this is not enough if you are going to get rid of those constant hunger feelings and the need for a quick energy fix in the afternoon (usually in the form of a biscuit or a chocolate bar). If you really want to get rid of those sugar cravings, then a rearranging of the macronutrient intake in one’s diet is required to lessen not only the cravings for sugar -  but also the feeling of still feeling hungry even if a meal has just been consumed.



Sugar - Kicking the Habit


So how are you expected to make an informed decision that is going to benefit your health?


The Natural Ketosis way of doing things is quite simple. We promote a low-carb, high-protein, moderate-fat diet. Although we are in the same school of thought as Atkins, our approach to diet and lifestyle is different.


On our program we embrace those carbohydrates that are based on dietary fibre rather than simple and/or complex carbohydrates. The difference between these carbohydrates is the way they are digested within the body. By choosing these vegetables and fruits, the essential micronutrient requirements are met whilst ensuring no blood sugar spikes in the progress which will in turn help reduce cravings in between meals for sugary items.


Protein in the diet is also critical as our bodies cannot store protein. Hence, we need a constant supply each day. Our bodies require protein to build muscle and repair any internal damage. Studies keep showing that a high protein diet helps to reduce hunger and control cravings as you feel satiated for longer [5].


Therefore the Natural Ketosis way is not only about being healthy but about making the right choices.




References:


1. Avena, N.M., Rada, P. & Hoebel, B.G., 2007. Evidence for sugar addiction: behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 32(1), pp.20–39.

2. Student-faculty research suggests Oreos can be compared to drugs of abuse in lab rats. 2013. http://ow.ly/wpARN


3. Colantuoni, C. et al., 2002. Evidence that intermittent, excessive sugar intake causes endogenous opioid dependence.Obesity research, 10(6), pp.478–488.


4. Avena, N.M., Long, K.A. & Hoebel, B.G., 2005. Sugar-dependent rats show enhanced responding for sugar after abstinence: evidence of a sugar deprivation effect. Physiology & behavior, 84(3), pp.359–362.


5. Born, J., Martens, M. & Lemmens, S., 2013. Protein v. carbohydrate intake differentially affects liking-and wanting-related brain signalling. British Journal of. Available at: http://journals.cambridge.org/abstract_S0007114512001092.

 

 

Holistic Improvements of a Low Carb Ketogenic Diet

Not a day goes by that there is a new piece of research telling us what we should be doing and not doing to watch our health and our waistlines.  Even if you have not officially followed a ‘diet’, you may have certainly adapted your eating habits over the years to mirror the current public health perceptions. In this blog, we aim to show the positive health improvements that accompany weight loss on the Natural Ketosis Programme.

 

An increase in energy


Once you have gone through the initial stages of dietary ketosis, your body will begin to adjust to this new way of fuelling itself. Once it does this, you will find that your energy levels are greatly increased. Also having a low sugar intake means that you won’t experience the normal spikes and dips in your blood sugar levels after consuming such foods. These fluctuations in your blood sugar levels have been shown to increase lethargy and the feeling of being tired, sometimes known as the 3 o’clock slump.


Reduced hunger and cravings


As you progress through the first week of being in dietary ketosis, you will find that your hunger levels begin to decrease. Likewise, once sugar and starches have been eliminated from your diet, your craving for foods such as chocolate or crisps will also dramatically decrease, making weight maintenance much easier.


Improvements in mood


Your overall mood, independent of weight loss, has been shown to improve greatly whilst on The Natural Ketosis Programme. Improvements include things such as an elevated mood, better concentration, feeling less emotional and a general feeling of content.


Improvements in hair, nails and skin


Reducing the amount of sugar and starch in your diet can offer vast improvements to your skin. Likewise, the foods contained on The Programme offer good sources of iron, protein, vitamin E and the B vitamins, which all have a positive impact on hair, skin and nails. Keeping up with your water content and so staying hydrated throughout your Programme and beyond, will also help maintain these benefits.


Better sleeping patterns


Within the early stages of dietary ketosis, individuals may find that their sleeping patterns are either a little disturbed or not in-line with their “normal” pattern. However as you progress through The Programme these stable out, with many people reporting a much better sleep pattern alongside their lifestyle change.

 

Reduction in headaches and migraines


Many headache related conditions such as migraines, can be dramatically improved when following the Natural Ketosis style of eating. It is believed that this is due to the body changing the way it fuels itself as it relies less on sugar and starch.


So how does the Natural Ketosis Programme help achieve this?


The Natural Ketosis way of doing things is quite simple. We promote a low-carb, high-protein, moderate-fat diet. Although we are in the same school of thought as Atkins, our approach to diet and lifestyle is different.


On our program we embrace those carbohydrates that are based on dietary fibre rather than simple and/or complex sugars. The difference between these types of carbohydrates is the way they are digested within the body. By choosing these vegetables and fruits, the essential micronutrient requirements are met whilst ensuring no blood sugar spikes in the progress which will in turn help reduce cravings in between meals for sugary items.


The Natural Ketosis way is not only about being healthy and making the right choices. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any further questions. We’ll answer any questions you have and help you make an informed decision.