This last week’s Health section of the LA Times had an interesting article called “Know thy enemy: sugar.” The writer, Kathy Price-Robinson, shares her story about being 275 pounds and the journey she went through in healing herself. She went through therapy, support groups, and lost her weight. She does not discuss how much she lost but impressively she did it without medication or surgery. She worked on healing her relationship with food.
She discusses how she is not able to eat sugar and likens it to getting in the ring with Mike Tyson. I would wholeheartedly agree. For many individuals sugar or starchy carbohydrates are not safe. When they eat these foods, their bodies release excess amounts of insulin which stores more fat and increase cravings for more sugar – like a fast speed train that one cannot exit. I talk about this concept in A Recipe for Life by the Doctor’s Dietitian.
Simply put, insulin is the key that unlocks the cell for sugar to get in, which in turn enables your body to use the food you consume. However, for some individuals somewhere along the line, the key either gets stuck or has difficulty getting into the lock. Or, if it does get in, it cannot turn the lock, hence it was given the term “resistant.” If your body develops a resistance to insulin, you are not able to utilize the food you take in, which can increase your fatigue and cravings for ever-increasing amounts of carbohydrate, which compounds the problem.
This resistance sets up a cascade of reactions in the body which are not in your favor. It’s as if the sugar is outside the cell knocking to get in. When it cannot get in, your body keeps craving more carbohydrate. Sort of like when you eat one slice of bread - then you want the whole basket.
This “Santa Claus Syndrome (SCS)” as I like to call it, can frequently happen over the holidays. You attend a holiday party and start consuming some chips, crackers, or cookies. Soon you find yourself eating a few more, and then the carbohydrate cravings go into full gear and you can’t seem to stop yourself from eating. The next day you go to a holiday lunch where similar food is served. Since your body has not recovered from the night before, it keeps telling you to eat more carbohydrate. If you continue this cycle, the SCS will be in full gear, leaving you wondering how you got into this mess in the first place.
For many individuals if you want your body to run efficiently and stay in control, eating sugar and starchy carbohydrates is just not an option. As the writer of the LA Times articles states “you can get knocked down, or you can stop getting in the ring.” Sometimes keeping yourself safe requires not putting on the red suit.