The Real Hunger Games
Brent Tiesma | Tech CA
It’s 8:00pm you’ve just finished watching wheel a fortune and it hits. Your belly rumbles and you’re hungry again. Not just any hungry, like the only thing that’s going to curb this pain, is an ice cream drumstick, or maybe a bag of popcorn, heck even a piece of cheese cake would do the trick… You know dinner was only about an hour ago but this is serious and you better hurry cause Grey’s Anatomy starts after the commercial break.
We’ve all been there… Yes, the pain you’re feeling is real but there is a difference between hunger and cravings and often if your body is adapted to burning sugar as its primary source of fuel, it won’t shy from telling you when to start adding more kindling to the fire – or this case, more insulin into the bloodstream.
Of course, all sugar is a carbohydrate and those do have a function in the body to fuel your brain, maintain blood sugar levels and power your muscles but it certainly doesn’t need it all in the form of a sugar glazed donut or a yogurt fruit cup. In fact, if you think that 4 grams of sugar is equal to 1 teaspoon, you’ll find 10 whopping teaspoons of sugar in a regular can of coke or even a full teaspoon in a ½ cup of Classico Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce.
Though we’re not big on tracking calories, it is always a useful exercise to see what your TDEE (amount of calories your body needs to function optimally each day) are and how your eating corresponds to those recommended macros. Most people would be quite surprised by how they are actually eating. Hint – You’re not going to starve anytime soon.
So how can you be overeating and still be hungry?
There are two reasons for that. One, it’s kind of wrapped up in your DNA. Often food was scarce so we’re adapted to gorge during the good times so we could survive the lean ones. There is some truth to fattening up for the winter. Just now, we haven’t really been hard pressed for the lean times since the 40’s. Which consequently despite the rationing and the lack of food, society ended up healthier and fitter, thanks to the rationing of sugar, wheat and saturated fats.
Of course it’s not just we’re hungry that we grab that coffee break danish, a latte before heading back to the office (but a Vendi, really?) or that late night bowl of ice cream, it’s that we’ve also conditioned ourselves to it — My Coffee and danish really gets me ready to start the day, a latte helps me focus for the rest of the afternoon and the bowl of ice cream? Well, it’s been a long day and I deserve it! The truth is once we condition ourselves to the routine of treats and rewards, it’s a hard habit to break. It’s been shown that sugar releases dopamine, the same chemical cocaine triggers in the brain. So you can bet sugar is not going to be an easy habit to break. But it’s not impossible and your health depends on it (sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes and even cancer).
Want to know more about your cravings, how to move past being a sugar burner and start taking control of your eating choices? Join us for our upcoming Eat by Design seminar.