IF YOU KEEP EATING FOODS THAT RAISE INSULIN LEVELS, YOUR BODY BECOMES RESISTANT AND RELEASES LESS INSULI CARBS
Were you awake last night worrying about money? Or late to work because you lost your car keys? No wonder by morning tea you could no longer resist your craving for salty water crackers. Fast forward an hour and you are craving more. If you listened to your appetite you would eat a whole packet of salty crackers for lunch. Clearly your body is not giving your belly reliable signals.
What’s really going on? Your brain is searching for a way to fast-track you to your ˜happy place’ by giving you a hit of those ˜happiness hormones’, such as serotonin.
The bad news? In research published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, overweight people who ate carbs that were digested quickly suffered an energy spike followed by a severe drop in their blood glucose levels, four hours later. As a result, they felt excessively hungry. When their brains were scanned, there was clear activation of the ˜nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain involved in addictive behaviour. The group who ate the slowly digested carbs did not have the same activation. The upshot? The more carbs you eat, the more you may want.
The problem is that people often don’t understand the difference between healthy carbs, such as stoneground wholemeal bread,
which has plenty of fibre to slow down the rate it is digested, and unhealthy carbs, such as white bread, which is low in fibre and causes a rapid increase in blood sugar, Dr Massage explains. Unhealthy carbs lead to a rapid rise in blood sugar levels, which then causes a big release of insulin, which has the job of driving sugar out of the blood and into cells, where it is used for energy. If you keep eating foods that raise insulin levels, your body becomes resistant and releases less insulin, so you are not getting as much food fuel into your cells and feel irritable and more tired, which then makes you more hungry.
When snacking, opt for chewy foods to avoid rapid blood sugar and insulin increases. Good choices include:
An apple or homemade fruit salad.
Carrot or celery sticks with hummus or avocado dip.
A home-baked wholegrain bran fruit muffin.
Where possible, go for the ˜brown’ or wholegrain variety of food – for example, brown rice, rye bread, wholegrain rice crackers and wholemeal spaghetti. This will still boost your serotonin levels without the subsequent ˜carbs crash’ and related snack attacks.