Sugar Addiction is Real

Sugar addictionNovember 25th, 2009 –There is more to your sweet tooth than simply enjoying the taste of sugary foods. You can become high on sugar, and eventually addicted.

Recreational drugs and simple carbohydrates like those found in sugary comfort foods are both involved in the reward mechanisms of the mesolimbic dopamine system and the nucleus accumbens (a collection of neurons in the brain involved in reward and pleasure). (1) Stimulation of dopamine and the reward/pleasure center in the brain lead to cravings and feelings of addiction. Once youíre hooked, regular or non-sugary foods donít have the same dopamine response, and thus leave you feeling unsatisfied. (1)

With frequent, repeated exposure to sugar, feelings of satiety decrease, meaning it takes more sugary food and a longer period of time for you to feel satisfied. (2)

Like drugs, the more sugar you eat, the more you crave it, and the more it takes for you to feel satisfied (3). It ís a vicious cycle, and something to think about the next time you find yourself staring down a pint of Ben & Jerryís.

References –

1. Deficits of mesolimbic dopamine neurotransmission in rat dietary obesity.
Geiger BM, et al.
Neuroscience. 2009 Apr 10;159(4):1193-9. Epub 2009 Feb 11.

2. Daily bingeing on sugar repeatedly releases dopamine in the accumbens shell.
Rada P, et la.
Neuroscience. 2005;134(3):737-44

3. Accumbens dopamine-acetylcholine balance in approach and avoidance
Bartley G Hoebel, et al.
Current Opinion in Pharmacology Volume 7, Issue 6, December 2007, Pages 617-627

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Lectins in Peanuts Clog Arteries

Lectins in peanuts clog arteriesNovember 25th, 2009 –A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole grain bread looks pretty wholesome and harmless, doesnít it? Well, looks can be deceiving. This delicious meal is packed with a deadly lectin that clogs your arteries.

The trouble seems to stem from a lectin specific to peanuts called Peanut Agglutinin(PNA). Lectins are sugar-binding proteins found all throughout nature, and are thought to play an important role in plant defense against being eaten. (1) PNA is particularly resistant to breakdown in the gut, and has been shown to penetrate the intestinal walls mostly intact and bind to the smooth muscle cells in the arteries, leading to atherosclerosis (build-up of plaque within the arteries) and fibromuscular lesions. (2) Aside from being a know allergen, PNA has also been shown to stimulate cellular proliferation of colon cancer cells (3).

Even if you donít have any peanut allergies, eating peanuts may still increase your heart disease and colon cancer risk. Peanuts have side-effects, so you are probably safer choosing almond butter for that next ìnut butterî sandwich.

References –

1. Agrarian Diet and Diseases of Affluence – Do Evolutionary Novel Dietary Lectins Cause Leptin Resistance?
Tommy J?nsson, et al.
BMC Endocrine Disorders 2005, 5:10doi:10.1186/1472-6823-5-10

2. Atherogenic Potential of Peanut Oil-Based Monounsaturated Fatty Acids Diets
Loren Cordain, Ph.D.
Lipids 1998 Vol. 33 no. 2 Page 229

3. Peanut lectin stimulates proliferation of colon cancer cells by interaction with glycosylated CD44v6 isoforms and consequential activation of c-Met and MAPK
Singh R et al.
Glycobiology.2006 Jul;16(7):594-601.

Carbohydrates Negatively Effect Growth Hormone

boost GH levelsWe’ve all heard that growth hormone (GH) does a ton of great stuff for our bodies including burning body fat, increasing protein synthesis, increasing nitrogen retention, and decreasing protein catabolism. (1) This means more muscle, less fat, and a happier, healthier, sexier you. So how can we maximize the effects and release of growth hormone we get in response to strenuous exercise?

Keep your post workout carbohydrate levels in check.

When we exercise, blood glucose and insulin levels decrease, and GH levels increase. GH levels can remain this way for an hour or more. (2) However, as soon as blood glucose and insulin levels rise, GH levels will drop back down, as insulin acts to suppress GH secretion. (3) Keeping carbohydrate intake to a minimum after exercise will keep blood glucose and insulin levels down and GH up for a longer period of time.

How do you boost GH levels and keep it elevated after a workout? Consider protein instead of carbs for your post workout nutrition!

References –

1. Amino Acids and Proteins for the Athlete: The Anabolic Edge
Mauro G. Di Pasquale
CRC Press 2008 Pages 27-28

2. Plasma insulin, growth hormone, and blood sugar during exercise in man
Sawhney RC, Malhotra AS, Gupta RB.
Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1982 Apr-Jun;26(2):119-24

3. Good Calories Bad Calories
Gary Taubes
Alfred A Knopf 2007 Pages 390-391

Carbohydrates Can Cause Stiff Joints and Wrinkled Skin

Carbohydrates can cause stiff joints and wrinkled skinNovember 25th, 2009 – Yes, you read that right. Excessive carbohydrate consumption can speed up the aging process by producing nasty molecules called advanced glycation end-products.

Advanced glycation end products (AGE) form in the body when glucose (carbs) attaches itself to a protein (a process called glycation) without enzymatic control.  The more glucose in the blood, the more this process occurs, and the harder it is for the body to reverse the process and/or dispose of harmful AGEs.(1)

Collagen proteins, found in skin, tendons, cartilage, and bones are especially prone to injurious affliction from these glycosalated molecules. As AGEs build up and cause damage to this bodily tissue, the skin will toughen and appear leathery, and joints will stiffen. (1) AGE have also been linked to other age related diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, cataracts, diabetes, and atherosclerosis to name a few. (3)

Reducing advanced glycation end-products will involve consuming less high glycemic carbohydrates, or making sure you reduce you blood sugar by burning it off shortly after consuming a high carbohydrate meal.

References –

1. The Carbohydrate Hypothesis
Gary Taubes
Good Calories Bad Calories 2007 Pages 191-193

2. Irreversibly glycated LDL induce oxidative and inflammatory state in human endothelial cells; added effect of high glucose.
Toma L, Stancu CS, Botez GM, Sima AV, Simionescu M.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Oct 19 PMID: 19850013

3. Advanced glycation and lipoxidation end products–amplifiers of inflammation: the role of food
Gil A, Bengmark S.
Nutrition Hosp. 2007 Nov-Dec;22(6):625-40 PMID: 18051988

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