Sugar Makes Everything Sweeter.
We live in a stressful world, and the stress we’re exposed to can create stress in the body. The stress in the body can then cause more stress in the body, and this can impact upon how stressful the world seems to be. Which means we can be very stressed by the world around us, even at times when it isn’t that stressful. It can be a vicious circle.
The truth is you can’t separate body from mind. Your thoughts have a powerful impact on your body, and things that effect the function of your body also have an effect on your thoughts, whether you’re aware of it or not.
“…we believe that it will be much more productive to focus scientific efforts on trying to learn from those who do function relatively well in the face of adversities, and harness what is learned toward expediently helping those who falter…”
Stress and adversity are a necessary part of life, and it’s important to be able to notice when something is potentially harmful or dangerous, otherwise you might forget to move your hand away from the fire or run away from the dragon.
But things have gone a bit haywire in recent times. Our bodies and minds are being stimulated and injured in a multitude of new ways, which ends up adding to the stress load and interfering with the proper function of emergency signalling systems.
Early life trauma has been demonstrated to have a cumulative and chronic impact upon future life susceptibility to stress and disease, and this can be extremely difficult to reverse without an awareness of some important (but often misunderstood or ignored) biological implications.
“Adverse conditions in early life are thought to have far-reaching implications for adult health and survival. In humans, the strongest evidence…from studies…link early adversity to…cardiovascular disease, schizophrenia and type II diabetes in adulthood.”
One way to lower stress and improve the way things work is by changing the way you think. But that can be difficult if not impossible to achieve, especially when you’re stuck in a chronic and inflammatory state of stress. When you’re in that kind of state, no matter what you do it often seems as though you never really get anywhere. Like your brain just keeps coming back to where it was previously, and all your efforts are a complete waste of time.
And you’re probably not just imagining it. It really is a case of ‘one step forward, two steps back’. When you’re in a chronic state of physiological stress – what might otherwise be a small thing can set off a powerful nervous system reaction.
During times like this the energy you expend on thinking (about how stressful your thoughts are) and the effort taken to try and make it stop, can end up being a big part of what’s helping keep stress levels high.
“…findings suggest that sucrose feeding may attenuate stress…The brain is the most important site where glucose is used. If a massive amount of glucose is consumed in the brain during stress, therefore, it is possible that feeding a high-sucrose diet contributes to counteracting stress.”
Even though when it comes to cutting a stress reaction short sugar is fundamental, a lack of sugar in the diet is not the only thing driving stress. There are a number of factors which cause problems in the system and can interfere with the brain, and they aren’t always that difficult to improve or even fix. Taking a look at digestion will almost always be fruitful.
Too much bacteria in the intestines can seriously impede physical and emotional resilience to stress. There is a powerful relationship between bacterial endotoxin and the other inflammatory things – like cortisol, estrogen, serotonin and nitric oxide – and this relationship is central to the creation of conditions which increase susceptibility to stress and result in a heightened sensitivity to stressful thoughts.
When the stress substances are too high for too long, events that would not normally be perceived as stressful or dangerous can cause reactions that are arguably unnecessary often appearing from the outside to be irrational and disproportionate.
“There is now a growing consensus that serotonin acts at multiple sites to contribute to stress-induced HPA axis activation…Depression has long been linked to dysregulated HPA axis function…the increase in cortisol was significantly related to the increases in ratings of anger and depression…”
And stressful thoughts or perceptions are often also a big factor causing interference with digestive function in the first place. Over time, difficult experiences and circumstances suppress digestion and can lead to an increase in bacterial issues as well as interference with intestinal barrier function. This enables endotoxin (and other toxic things) to pass through in greater amounts to the liver and into the main system, setting in motion the potential for some issues to become chronic in nature.
“…we…describe microbes that appear in places other than where they should be, e.g. in the blood, forming a blood microbiome…we suggest that the metabolic…products of these…microbes correlate with, and may contribute to, the dynamics of a variety of inflammatory diseases…”
Chronic stress interferes with the performance of thyroid energy metabolism. The more energy systems are compromised, the more it is possible for digestion to be impeded. This can then allow foods which might otherwise have been beneficial to be left undigested, feeding bacteria and letting them move further up the intestines, causing an increase in circulation of the inflammatory substances.
Because stressful thoughts can also cause the wasting of glycogen, this can further promote increasing cortisol levels and a rise in the release of free fatty acids from storage. When fat moving into circulation is polyunsaturated, this interferes with digestive function in a few different ways, increasing exposure to endotoxin (promoting serotonin, estrogen, cortisol and other inflammatory substances) potentially intensifying reactions to stress.
Chronic and systemic low level inflammation has itself been shown to interfere with the functioning of the brain causing mood instability and other symptoms, which is perhaps one of the reasons why aspirin is known to be an effective anti-depressant.
Consuming sufficient quantities of simple, easy to digest sugars – fruit juice, honey or white sugar for example – can help limit the harmful effects of exposure to all kinds of stress.
Replacing starchy and fibrous carbohydrates (grains, seeds, legumes and lots of under cooked veggies) with simple sugars, can reduce opportunity for bacteria to overgrow, lowering endotoxin and many other potentially toxic things.
“…intake of orange juice with an HFHC [high fat high carb] meal prevented the marked increases in ROS generation and other inflammatory indexes…after the intake of glucose or water with the meal, there was a significant increase in plasma endotoxin concentrations, whereas the intake of the meal with orange juice prevented this increase.”
Consuming more of the simple sugars and lowering exposure to endotoxin and the polyunsaturated fats can assist in the production of enough cholesterol, a fundamentally protective substance in relation to every area of physiology including nervous system function.
Cholesterol is important for the stabilisation of the mind, especially when being exposed to extra stress and low cholesterol has been associated with many forms of violent and aggressive behaviour.
Simple changes like this can sometimes be enough to improve basic resilience to stress. Sugar – combined with protein and nutrients from fruit juice and milk – provides fuel for thyroid function, improving digestive effectiveness and protecting against too many toxins entering the main system damaging other organs.
This can then reduce levels of cortisol, serotonin and estrogen (and other things), lowering inflammation, promoting the effective conversion of cholesterol into the more specialised protective things like pregnenolone, progesterone and testosterone. All of this can help calm the mind and dampen the impact of anything potentially stressful.
Measuring pulse and temperature can help determine whether or not you need to add some sucrose into your milk or oj.
There are many techniques (or practices) which can help reduce the energy draining effects of thinking, calming the body and improving thyroid function and metabolic energy systems.
But first things first, you may need to change your mind about sugar.
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