As we further understand insulin, let’s begin to understand why the perception of the sugar addiction is so powerful. Remember, the pancreas has good intentions. It wants to keep things stable, to balance its production of hormonal compounds so blood sugar remains near a constant, so energy is abundantly available, and so the components of foods are readily sent to their rightful places to meet the body’s demands. In response to a blood sugar elevation, the pancreas produces more of the “sugar transport vehicle,” more of the hormone that grabs on to sugar in the bloodstream and shuttles it into the muscles and the liver for future use, more of the hormone named insulin.
When you swallow a candy bar, a sweet fruit juice, or sugar sweetened flour in the form of donut or pie, the sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, spiking blood glucose.
As expected, the pancreas cranks out additional insulin to remove the extra glucose (sugar) and restore things back to pre-snack levels. Because of the sudden and radical spike, the pancreas tends to produce more insulin than is immediately needed to remove “the extra” sugar, so after insulin aggressively goes to work, the resultant residual effect is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). In this low blood sugar state you feel a bit lethargic. Your internal workings, the same workings that allowed you to find the motivation to workout when you were tired. There are hormonal messengers and neurotransmitters the send the “eat sugar” signal up to your brain.
Again, the intentions are good. Blood sugar is low, the body wants to keep things stable, so it sends out sugar cravings to drive you to consume the “energy substrate,” sugar. This is the underlying mechanism behind the “sugar roller coaster.” If you eat sugar, you’ll crave sugar.
A similar hypoglycemic condition (followed by cravings) exists when you go long periods of time without food, or when you consume a meal consisting wholly of carbohydrates. The trick is not to avoid food, nor is it to randomly seek out glucose supplying carbohydrates, as these complicate the roller coaster and amplify the challenge.
Ideally, you’ll avoid glucose ups and downs. You’ll create a situation where your body has sufficient glucose, but its delivery will not be reliant upon simple sugar ingestion. Ideally, you’ll adopt a strategy where the foods you eat provide a “slow and ongoing release” of glucose into the bloodstream so you never get the spike nor are you subject to the residual drop.