• Sugar

January 19, 2017


Everything’s a controversy these days, but I believe it’s safe to say we can all agree that the “no-sugar” diet is a good idea. Right? Well, if we’re going to make some bold blanket statements like that we need some evidence to either back it up or to refute it. The biggest question here is: why is sugar bad? I mean, we all sort of intrinsically feel like it’s bad, but not enough to put the donut down. Not without some serious convincing. 

Turns out, there’s a good reason for that. In your brain, there are these tiny things called dopamine receptors. Sounds fun, right? They remind me of those little sticks we used to play with as kids where you have to swing the ball into the cup, the Kendama. I researched for a good ten minutes to find that name, by the way. Think of dopamine receptors like the Kendama, and dopamine like the little ball. Kind of. You might be wondering why we are talking about dopamine when we’re supposed to be talking about sugar.

Here’s the connection... Researchers have found that sugar can affect the dopamine receptors in the same ways that drugs like cocaine and heroine do. In fact, the withdrawal from sugar looks an awful lot like a withdrawal from drugs. Once you add a “drug” into your regular diet, be it cola or coke, your brain becomes dependent on it as a source of dopamine and slows down on it’s own production. As soon as you take that source away, your brain gets a little cranky and wants it back. However, it can’t produce so much on it’s own anymore because it’s been a little lazy lately not having to do the work. So you reach for the nearest goodie. To add to it, the same researchers discovered that an addiction to sugar creates an increase in the consumption of it. 

Once the brain gets used to a certain amount of intake, it needs more to create the same feeling it once had with only little amounts. This is a desensitization, or in other words, resistance. Sugar's addictive properties are of major concern. Finding healthy food  that actually tastes good, in order to steer away from sugar, can be such a challenge. 

That is why I created a pizza crust that lands so low on the glycemic index that diabetics and members of the low-carb community alike can enjoy some of their creature comforts without putting their health at risk. You might be surprised to know that traditional pizza crust, although it may or may not include sugar as an ingredient, causes a quick sugar conversion of the starchy carbs. Starchy carbs are actually made of multiple sugars all stuck together, unlike your regular granulated table sugar. In fact, a “conversion” of starch to sugar can be better understood as a simplification. The complicated sugars are broken down, or broken apart, by the digestive system, into simple sugars known as glucose. This is why, often times, breads can taste sweet even without the added sugar. Now bring it all back to the dopamine effect, and you have a sugar-like dependence on bread in just the same way you would candy. Nearly half the carbs that come from cauliflower are fiber, making the vegetable consist of complex carbs that not only take longer to digest (i.e. no sugar spiking) but are also incredibly healthy because of the minerals, vitamins, and fiber present.




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