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Cold Turkey

No, not a blog post suggesting a sandwich filling! But rather a short ramble whist sitting here in a state of withdrawal from my favourite drug… Sugar.

It is actually quite amazing, I would not have thought that something so seemingly innocent as sugar could have such a strong physical effect. Yes I know the theory, and all the public health advice, but it’s just sugar right?

Let’s start with the withdrawal symptoms… Headache (absolutely), muscle ache (indeed and a bit of a problem as I am running with my club tonight), confusion (I know some will say what’s new…) and of course craving! It seems almost farcical, I would normally associate such intense substance craving with someone that wants to light up or stick a needle in their arm. Craving a mango or even just an apple seems a complete joke, but I assure you that it is real!

So why not just have a bloody apple Ed? Because, as with any addiction it won’t be one apple… Once my body spots that I have consumed a meaningful amount of sugar it will ABSOLUTELY compel me to binge on it! You may secretly know what I am talking about… And if you have ever had a sugar binge, you will know that the driver to keep eating is much stronger, and outpaces your bodies ability to signal it has had enough. And when eventually the STOP message gets through it is WAY to late…

You feel physically sick. Your blood sugar is sky high. You are awash with Insulin and now that your Liver and muscles are fully stocked with Glucose this excess sugar is happily converted to body fat for safe storage till the next famine… Yep, you are keeping that body fat for a while!!

So how big is the problem? A couple of days ago 180g of sugar in one day! Which equates to 720 calories from just sugar. To put that in context I eat 1900 calories a day… Yes I have an energetic lifestyle. Yes I run or bike and train every day. Yes my body weight is not excessive any more… There are always ways to comfort ourselves! To excuse and avoid the problem.

But I know better than to excuse and hide the problem (hence this warts and all post). Should someone that ‘sells’ fitness for a living even publicly admit all this? I think YES!! We are all human. And there is no better way to help someone with their challenge than having first hand experience. Which is why I guess I work with many people that would like to lose weight.

When we eat sugar our body releases Dopamine, a hormone that makes us feel happy. Perhaps this is why food manufacturers add sugar, who would not like their customer to feel happy whilst using the product! Or maybe I am just being cynical… Sugar also obviously provides our body with ‘fast’ energy. Our body tends to like both of these things. And therefore we will start to ‘want’ that happy feeling. But, over time, the amount of stimulus required to achieve the same response needs to increase as our bodies become accustomed to it (thinK adaption to sport training, smoking more cigarettes or indeed needing more heroin to get the same hit). So one consumes more sugar… But sugar has 4 calories per gram, and whilst our bodies might need the happy feeling, we may well not need that additional calorific fuel. That gets stored as fat. Not to mention the sugar crash effect, which is the extreme tiredness and even nausea once our blood sugar sharply drops… (Look up how the body deals with sugar: Insulin and Dopamine).

Enough of the science. Bottom line sugar is starting to become a real problem to further refine my diet and achieve better results. So it needs to be resolved. In the mean time I am going for a run to lift my mood and try and shift this bloody headache!!! (Obv no energy drink or gels!!!)

Further updates on the sugar crises to follow…