The Internet has proven to be both a blessing and a curse to human beings. At one end, you have an unlimited amount of information of any topic you want at your finger tips. At the other, you realize that much of what you might read is either misleading or flat out wrong. I don't think there's a topic more disorienting than DIET.
In one corner of the diet community, you'll have those praising the impact of going 'keto'. And for others, they might advocate the life-changing world of a plant-based, meat-free diet. However, there's one glaring fact that many people don't seem to address when it comes to our bodies, brains, and what is the best thing to put in our bodies:
We are all different.
A diet that works for a 28 year-old highly active female may not work for a 62 year-old lightly active male. Diet and food health is a journey we must all embark on individually with a little understanding of nutrition and a little understanding of OURSELVES and how our body works. That being said, one can still examine the effects of omitting a certain food item from the diet. If you've tried to moderate your eating, tried to put a few more hours in the gym and nothing seems to be working, experimenting with food omission may be your next step.
In this anecdotal study, Jacqueline Raposo embarks on a journey without sugar and alcohol. Right off the bat, she states that her experiences and the effects of the diet vastly differed from the neatly-polished, positive reviews that one would find on a nutritionist's program website. That's not to say there isn't any benefit to trying food omission.
On a chemical level, when eating sugary foods, your blood pressure subsequently rises. In order to regulate itself, the body boosts your insulin levels to counteract the high blood pressure. This is why diabetic individuals need a little dose of sugar throughout the day to regulate their body when blood sugar is low. Insulin can be a huge factoring in determining the fat accumulation within the body.
Raposo notes that in her PERSONAL experience, she had struggled to lose a certain amount of weight for years and it wasn't till omitting sugar that she was able to lose a couple pounds. She reported feeling full faster, eating only out of nourishment rather than craving, and being more clear-headed, having a better understanding of her body and what it was feeling. Raposo reported suffering from Lyme's Disease and hypoglycemia for several years and there's no doubt these conditions play a role in her body's regulation and diet.
On a psychological level, sugar also boosts your dopamine levels. Maybe you crave a bowl of ice cream and some sweet candy when you're feeling down. Raposo notices that when she would go through a mental mishap or low mood, she was forced to deal with her emotions straight-on as opposed to substituting with alcohol or these sugary foods. She became less dependent on these 'substances' to regulate her mood and therefore, was able to get better insight to her body and what she was emotionally feeling.
Though Raposo had a very mild withdrawal phase of sugar, an individual who eats a high-sugar diet may struggle with headaches, low mood, and joint pain for a couple days. This is a natural process as your body recalibrates itself and allows for the benefits and a return to a more wholistic state.
The point of this blog post isn't to tell you "A Sugar-free diet is the key to weight-loss". The point is to be observant and mindful of what you're putting into your body. What does your daily diet and routine look like? Is there a food item you struggle with now that may help with your own mood regulation and diet goals? And what can you learn from experiences like Raposo's that may help you in your own individual journey to getting the best diet for YOU?
In weightlifting, only 20% of muscle-building is attributed to actual exercising and working out. The other 80%? All in the food diet. Putting this emphasis on nutrition in all aspects of our lives may be to the key to a healthier and brighter quality of life.
Want to read Jacqueline's story? Follow the link here: https://www.saveur.com/quitting-sugar-cold-turkey/