Weight Control | Diabetes | Blood Sugar
Addiction | Obesity Effects & Nutrition
In this day and age of high sugar diets, it is impossible to talk about mental health and nutrition without including a discussion of blood sugar. I once worked at a medical clinic as a psychotherapist. Our weekly staff meetings included three psychotherapists, a psychiatrist, two secretaries, three drug and alcohol counselors, and various aids, interns, and other support staff. Of all those people, two were not obese, which is defined as 30 pounds beyond the optimal weight for your height and build. Several were 50 to 100 pounds overweight. The staff meetings were always plentifully supplied with doughnuts, pastries, muffins, fruit, orange juice, and soda. Everyone except the two thin ones would chow down. These were the very people who were supposed to be helping others with their mental health issues and their addictions. In my opinion, there is a major disconnect going on in America when it comes to understanding how our diet effects both our mind and our body. If our health workers don’t get it, it is more important than ever to take your health into your own hands so that you can heal.
As most people know, too much sugar produces insulin, and too much insulin eventually produces insulin resistance.
Since insulin resistance causes you to feel tired all the time, this is, indeed, true. Insulin resistance is a vicious cycle of sugar cravings that actually make you weak, tired, fat and hungry. It also produces high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and an inflammatory condition in your blood. If unchecked by a healthy diet and lifestyle that includes adequate exercise it can eventually lead to diabetes, stroke, and dementia, not to mention obesity, with all of its attendant emotional and physical side effects.
Mental health issues related to blood sugar problems are moodiness, feeling cranky, irritable, impatience, anxiety, jittery, having a poor memory and ability to concentrate, and panic attacks in the afternoon if one has skipped breakfast. People can actually become violent from low blood sugar, especially if they tend to be angry in general, feel victimized by the world, and believe that punishment of others is justified.
Additional symptoms of blood sugar fluctuations are sweet cravings, feeling shaky a few hour after a meal, having an inability to control eating habits, heart palpitations after eating sweets, water retention, night sweats, feeling tired most of the time, thinning hair, polycystic ovarian syndrome, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and chronic fungal infections.
If that alone isn’t enough to motivate you to change your diet, insulin resistance also ages your brain and stimulates the growth of cancer cells, as well as causing you to have problems with your sex hormones, which has a whole different list of emotional and physical consequences.
Insulin resistance is caused by the over consumption of sugar in all of its forms
Bcause I was allergic to both sugar and wheat, I am very much aware of how much sugar is eaten by most people in America. Wheat in the form of pasta, bread, and a variety of pastries and thickening agents is in practically every dish. All of these refined wheat products turn into sugar in the body. I’ve been to pot lucks before in which 95 % of the food on the table either contained sugar, wheat, or both. A little bit here and a little there doesn’t make much difference, but a little bit everywhere and in everything makes a huge difference in the way our bodies function.
I believe that sugar addiction is the biggest addiction we have in our country. Whatever food our taste buds have gotten used to in childhood becomes the food we crave.
Because every child loves sugar, if a parent doesn't limit their child's consumption of it and promote healthier eating habits, you can become addicted to it as a child. What's worse, you won't develop the taste buds that enjoy a more varied palate. Then, when you try to eat your vegetables as an adult, you won't like them, which means you won't be motivated to eat the kinds of foods that can heal you.
Changing this takes effort for you may have to learn how to cook and eat completely different foods. In the beginning, before you have educated yourself, this may seem like an overwhelming task. After all, if you are like most of us, we come home from work, we are tired and hungry, and we want to eat now. The simplest thing is to grab what’s easy and familiar, which for many of us has become either fast food, or a processed food that gets microwaved. We also want something that is emotionally satisfying to our palate, not something that tastes strange and unappetizing. But this is exactly what we need to eat in order to change our eating habits. In time, what seemed strange and unsatisfying will seem healthy, tasty, and good, but this won’t happen until the inbetween stage gets crossed. It is all a matter of re-educating our taste buds to enjoy the unenjoyable, which is something we all should have mastered as a child.
The sugar habit is nothing more than an addiction. It is the biggest unrecognized addiction we have in America. It produces not only changes in our body chemistry, but in our brain and our DNA.
It is very similar to alcoholism. Alcohol, which turns into a sugar once it is ingested, causes cravings. Through willpower, monumental effort and social support, the alcoholic must abstain from their habit. Alcoholics are told to surround themselves with healthy people who have the alcoholic’s best interest in their heart. They are told to stay away from places of temptation, such as the local bar, liquor store, or the homes of other alcoholics. They may have to get a whole new set of non-drinking friends, for people who drink are notoriously lonely for a drinking buddy and will do whatever it takes to get one, including trying to convince the person who wants to abstain to drink with them. The alcoholic knows that if they take even one drink, it can destroy years of sobriety. They also know that once they are an alcoholic, they will always be an alcoholic, for it is a biological problem that isn’t overcome with thought and willpower. Although they must use thought and will power to abstain, they know that they can’t have a drink or two and then expect to control their desire for more. Because of the way alcohol effects them biologically, it simply won’t happen.
People who are addicted to sugar also crave it. They give themselves many excuses for why they get to eat it. They tell themselves that a little bit won’t matter, but once they start eating it, they can’t stop. The sugar effects their body chemistry, brain, and mood. They go through withdrawals just like an alcoholic and need to have more. Like alcohol, sugar is everywhere, and well meaning friends tempt them with it. It is even wrapped up in a box with a bow on top. Sugar has come to symbolize love, and sharing it is thought to be a sign of affection. No one thinks twice about the consequences of tempting others to eat it with them.
Unlike alcoholism, sugar addiction is socially acceptable and unacknowledged, yet I believe its effects are just as devastating for the user as alcohol is for an alcoholic.
The only difference is that sugar addiction doesn’t create black-outs or impair your ability to drive. It does, however, destroy your health. It can also destroy relationships, especially if one member of a partnership wants to lead a healthier lifestyle and feed their kids a healthy diet that the sugar addict does not endorse. As a psychotherapist I’ve dealt with many couples who fought over these issues, and who were damaged by the effects of unhealthy eating.
I also believe that some people are born sugar addicts, just as some people are born alcoholics, but that others become sugar addicts and/or alcoholics slowly over time.
This has to do with one’s unique biological blueprint, which, in this case, probably also has something to do with one’s ancestry. It has become a well known fact that poor eating habits produce genetic changes that can last for generations. Human cells remember a sugar hit for up to two weeks. During that time, these cells switch off genetic controls designed to protect the body against diabetes and heart disease. Regular sugar eating amplifies this effect, with genetic damage lasting for months and years, and potentially being passed down from the mother to the fetus for generations to come.
What that means is that if you only ate white sugar or high fructose corn syrup once every two weeks, you’d still be continuously damaging your DNA and setting yourself, and possibly your unborn children, up for possible future health concerns. Obviously, other than the natural sugar found in fruits and vegetables, there is no amount of processed sugar that is safe. A little bit does hurt, and, because its effects are cumulative, it hurts a lot.
Because Native Americans were put on reservations and forced to eat the poorest quality government provided foods, they developed poor eating habits several generations ago and are now experiencing the effect as sugar addiction that has created a highly diabetic population. In addition, many tribes, and, in fact, many people from a variety of cultures have what's called the thirfty gene, which merely means that they have a gene that allows them to survive on very little food in times of famine. When people who have this gene eat the standard American diet rich in sugar and fats, they tend to become obese. After having worked with Native Americans, I can tell you that in my corner of the world many are dying, mostly from drug and alcohol related diseases and accidents, but also from diabetes and other effects of obesity. In addition, suicide is also common. Suicide is generally caused by depression and hopelessness. Who wouldn’t be depressed when so many of your friends and relatives are dying? Because poor quality, high fat, high refined sugar diets have become the norm in American, I believe that what happened to Native Americans who were forced to develop poor eating habits many generations ago is happening to the entire nation. Because 60% of the nation is obese, meaning that they are eating high calorie, nutrient poor foods, we may eventually become a nation of diabetics who cannot control our obesity.
Since we have free will, and since our government has done very little to protect us from environmental pollutants and unhealthy food additives and sweeteners, and since many people are not educated about the consequences of their actions, you must take your health into your own hands if you are to heal.
Don’t wait until you are exhibiting the signs of poor health before you take action. You must do what it takes to change the way you eat, start exercising, and do what you can to create change even if it means you must be uncomfortable for awhile while you reeducate your taste buds and reduce your cellular cravings for food you've always enjoyed.
Be aware, however, that dieting is a toxic affair, for many environmental pollutants are held within our fat cells. When those fat cells diminish, they release their toxic load into the body, which is one of the reasons why dieting makes you feel bad.
Therfore, it is important to detoxify, using any of the many methods described on this website. If you have any constipation problems, my suggestion is to add healthy solutomic minerals to your diet, particularly magnesium and calcium. The addition of coffee enemas, as described on the liver detox page, can also instantly relieve you of your toxic burden, especially if you are experiencing cleansing reactions such as headache, fatigue, or nausea.
In addition, if your weight is excessive, it is important to find a doctor or alternative healer who can monitor you through the process of losing weight, for it is not just about abstinence, it is about learning healthy eating habits. Weight Watcher’s also has an educational component that can help you understand the dynamics of weight control. In addition, Dr. Mark Hyman has begun an online support group for people wanting to change their eating habits. He has written numerous guidelines and questionnaires that can help you understand which systems in your body need nutritional support. He also has an online store with the highest quality nutritional supplements available. Being a doctor, he is also aware of the importance of good medical care, and will help you understand when it is important to seek professional help. He then gives you information on what to look for in a doctor and what tests need to be taken for you to discover your unique biological make-up. He has made it all but impossible to fail.
Also, for those who want not only a simple way to count calories, but to also get optimal nutrition, you can get a free download called the CRON-O-METER. By inputting everything you eat for the day in grams, it will tell you not only how many calories you got, but also how much protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. It will then check this against USDA recommendations, which will tell you where you are over or under in both nourishment and calories. If you don't want to go to the trouble of weighing your food, it has a data base of over 8000 foods where you can find approximations. This data base includes not only all fruits, vegetables, meats, and fats, but popular processed foods as well.
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Because of how we have degraded our food supply, it is no longer possible to remain unconscious of how to create good health. In order to maintain a healthy body you must understand how everything you put into your body or rub onto your body affects you.
By making wise choices, you can take charge of whatever health issues confront you. The most important thing to understand is that losing weight is not about dieting. Its about changing your lifestyle so that weight never becomes an issue for you. When you change your lifestyle because you've become conscious of what you want to create, you don’t feel deprived. You simply live your life in the healthiest way possible. When this becomes normal and natural to you, you will have conquered your weight problem forever, as well as any other problem you may have. That's because all addiction comes along with numerous psychological issues that are pretty much universal, having nothing to do with the kind of substance or activity chosen as the numbing device. Since almost everyone has some kind of either hidden or obvious addiction, which can also be defined as a coping device that helps us feel good in a troubled world we feel trapped in, these issues need to be addressed by almost everyone. Once they are, your entire life will change for the better, as you will find the love, hope, and meaning that you seek.
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