Tag Archives: weight gain

The Sour Side of Sugar’s Sweet Seduction

In the ever evolving world of nutrition a clear villain has emerged. It is a villain cloaked in mouth-watering and opioid receptor stimulating deliciousness. It is a villain that can be somewhat of a chameleon, hiding in large volumes in seemingly “healthy” foods. I am of course speaking of your favorite and mine: sugar.

(Unfortunately this sugar classification also includes high carb foods like grains. Translation: all that bread will eventually be broken down into the simple sugar: glucose.)

Mounting research implicates sugar (namely high fructose corn syrup and other processed/refined varieties) as a major culprit behind a plethora of diseases well beyond the obvious, but never understated obesity and diabetes. As a realist I realize that complete elimination of sugar is not much of a practical or desirable option, however a reduction in consumption would serve us all well, especially if you are having other seemingly unrelated health issues.

So other than coming to terms with the fact that you may be consuming way too much sugar, how do you know if you possibly are having issues with the way your body handles sugar? And why is this an issue anyway? Well, sit back, relax (dump your soda down the drain) and I’ll try to give it to you in a raw, unsalted nutshell.

We’ve heard the terms hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), but we will mainly be referring to dysglycemia and reactive hypoglycemia. These are conditions in which your blood sugar levels are not being handled properly and can be anywhere along the chain of dysfunction. Therefore addressing and correcting becomes imperative for health.

If you are someone who is consuming too many carbohydrates or sugar on a regular basis it is likely that your pancreas will become overactive in its secretion of insulin. This will lead to blood sugar levels rapidly swinging from high to low after a meal.

A clinical picture of this is marked by a drop in energy levels, mood swings, and overall cognition. This can be seen as spacing out easily, poor short term memory, becoming agitated if going too long without eating, and being prone to crashing in the later part of the afternoon. This is what’s known as reactive hypoglycemia, a form of insulin resistance which goes hand in hand with diabetes.

This person typically misses meals, eats foods high in sugar, craves sugar and salts throughout the day, depends on caffeine to function, and has a hard time waking up in the morning or sleeping through the night. Fatigue, brain fog, and headaches are also amongst the effects of this condition.

This could also lead to or be a contributing factor behind becoming hypoglycemic. This condition is marked by fatigue, mental confusion, lethargy and headaches and can also be caused by adrenal fatigue, poor diet, hypothyroidism or drug side effects.

A clinical picture of this would be someone who craves sweets throughout the day, is irritable if they miss a meal, eating can relieve fatigue, feeling shaky, jittery or having tremors, depending on coffee to get started or keep going, feeling lightheaded if meals are missed, getting agitated, easily upset or nervous or being forgetful.

Another possibility is to escalate from the reactive hypoglycemia to insulin resistance. The chronic release of insulin due to high carb/sugar loads eventually fatigues the cells to the point where they no longer want to accept the insulin or the glucose it is trying to deliver.

Clinically this entails feeling like you need a nap after every meal, craving sugar after every meal, being constantly hungry even after big meals, increased belly fat, insomnia, and facial hair or thinning hair in women (due to the fact insulin resistance promotes testosterone production in women), or breast and hip growth in men. It can also include frequent urination, migrating aches and pains, and overall difficulty losing weight.

Insulin resistance has also been linked to other coveted conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea, obesity, hormone metabolism disorders and certain types of cancer.

A key factor to be aware of is that if you are dysglycemic in any way, your adrenal glands will also be activated in the body’s attempt to stabilize your blood sugar. The same holds true in reverse, as when your adrenal glands (stress glands) are on overdrive and they severely alter your body’s ability to effectively handle blood sugar.

Dysfunction on both fronts can be at the root or a main contributor to hypothyroidism, a weakened and inflamed digestive tract, a weakened immune barrier of the gut, lungs and brain, hormonal imbalances, clogging of the body’s attempts at detox and impairment of fatty acid metabolism.

So what to do? If any of these pictures we painted sounds like you it would be wise to investigate further and take action prior to escalation and emergency reactions. Rather than addressing each one of these symptoms separately with a potential side effect causing pill, imagine if you could clear up many issues simply be addressing your diet.

As we’ve said in the past, the phrase “garbage in, garbage out” holds true in a variety of venues, but never more so than with the diet. Outside of the obvious weight gain, the systemic effects can be devastating.

If you are ready to get serious and commit to investigating and potentially remedying your issues, please give us a call (321-848-0987) as it would be our pleasure to collaborate with you on your liberating journey towards optimal, all natural health.

It’s what we do.

Come join us.

Supplement Series: The Good Fats



OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS (aka Fish Oil)

  • Literally thousands of studies have demonstrated that a deficiency in Omega 3s can contribute to:
    • Our brains are 60% fat, and require an adequate source of the Omega 3 fatty acids: DHA in order to function properly.
    • CANCER
    • INFLAMMATION (pain, swelling, etc.)

Ideal to have 1:1 ratio of Omega 3: Omega 6 for better HEALTH and LONGEVITY.

Unfortunately due to our lifestyles and dietary choices, the ratio favors Omega 6s, which tilts the scale in favor of a PRO-INFLAMMATORY environment and all of the conditions listed above.

Food sources of Omega 3s are inferior due to toxic accumulations in wild fish, the pro-inflammatory Omega 6 rich diet fed to farmed fish, and the additional step required to convert the ALA found in plants (flax, chia, hemp, etc.) to the desired Omega 3s (EPA and DHA).

That’s why REGULAR SUPPLEMENTATION with a good source of OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDs is imperative to HEALTH, WELLNESS and LONGEVITY.   

At Clarke Chiropractic and Wellness we encourage all to obtain our nutrients from whole food sources.  However, we also recognize a few supplements that appear to be so beneficial that supplementation may be advantageous.

We carry and recommend that most patients regularly supplement with Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  However, this is always based on the patient’s individual condition and health status.  You should never start or stop any supplements and/or medications without consulting with your trusted healthcare professional first.

If you are interested in confirming whether or not you are a candidate for some Omega 3s or any type of supplements in your life, feel free to give us a call (321-848-0987) and we’ll sift through what you need and don’t need.

Live Life.

What Causes That Post Meal Crash?

It seems as though nodding off after a holiday meal is just as much of a tradition as eating a Christmas tree or decorating a Thanksgiving turkey.  (Did you catch that or did I catch you drowsy from your last meal?) But why does this happen?  And worse, are you someone who is routinely tired after meals, regardless of the time of year?

The reason behind this varies depending on your specific situation, but mainly involves too many carbohydrates and poor blood sugar control.  Ideally, when we consume carbs/sugars the pancreas releases a proportionate amount of insulin which then delivers the glucose (end result of crab breakdown) to our cells for energy.

On one level we have someone who usually eats relatively healthy, but just consumed a carb load as if they were preparing to hibernate.  The flooding of glucose into the blood alarms the pancreas who, being the diligent little organ he is, dumps insulin to handle the carb load. (Elevated insulin levels due to too many carbs or outright insulin resistance is also not a good thing and has been linked to everything from inflammation to autoimmunity and cancer).

The pancreas wants to make sure all the glucose can catch a ride to a cell so it overcompensates with the amount of insulin secreted.  This also happens with people who have poor blood sugar control (aka dysglycemic).  The end result here is the glucose being cleared from the blood so rapidly that you have now gone from one extreme to the other; from blood sugar spike to crash.  This can lead to symptoms of hypoglycemia; which include light headedness, headaches and feeling tired.

Another reason for the post meal siesta occurs when our tissues become resistant to the insulin that is attempting to clear the blood of and deliver glucose.  This can also happen from over doing it on carbs and is the mechanism behind diabetes type II.  Anyone concerned with intelligently controlling your weight should perk up for this explanation.

When your tissues become insulin resistant due to poor diet, lack of exercise or binge eating, the glucose remains in the circulating blood causing damage to your brain and blood vessels. (We then have our body’s natural bandaid called in (cholesterol), to patch up the damage from the dysglycemia and insulin resistance.)

Your body wants to keep your blood glucose levels under control, so when plan A doesn’t work (glucose cleared from blood by insulin), plan B kicks in.  The glucose is then converted to triglycerides and stored around your midsection as, you guessed it, fat.  In many cases it’s excess carbs, not fat in your diet that leads towards poor blood sugar control, possible diabetes, insulin resistance, aaaaand additional weight gain in the form of glucose being converted to and stored as body fat.

This conversion of glucose to triglycerides en route to your fanny is a process that requires a lot of your body’s energy/fuel.  So much so that it actually leaves you tired and crashing, and thus we have the post meal coma.

Add to this the fact that this process can also raise serotonin levels.  As we’ve discussed in past posts, serotonin is actually the precursor to the sleep hormone melotonin, and because of that can induce drowsiness.  This is also the reason turkey knocks you out as it contains the precursor to serotonin, tryptophan.

Hopefully this sheds some light on the subject for those curious about why we hit the hay after scarfing down a delicious feast.  Enjoy the holiday.  Indulge if you like as you now know what’s going on within and the possible dangers routinely doing so can pose.

However, if you are someone who struggles with cravings, crashes, and weight as we discussed, make it a point to address these signs of internal dysfunction before they get worse.  We’re coming up on a new year which serves as an ideal time to get serious and make your health a priority.

Again, enjoy the holidays and come see us when you’re ready to step it up in the new year.

Are You Addicted to Carbs?

Are you someone who thinks about food all day long?  Has it gotten to the point that you only feel good when, and for a short stint after you eat?  Do these constantly craved comfort foods considerably consist of concentrated carbohydrates? (Do you also like alliteration?) You know; the breads, pastas, pizza, desserts, etc.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE food and the ritual that goes along with its preparation and consumption.  What I’m referring to here actually comes along with a chemically addictive explanation.  We are speaking of those of you who frequently binge or automatically resort to the aforementioned food items as a way to cope or boost your spirits.  In turn, you may have put on unwanted excess pounds, created a poor self-image, taken a giant step closer to a myriad of health problems headlined by diabetes, and actually even induced depression.

When it comes to our health, we each need to step up and take personal responsibility for our lives and the choices we make, but it always helps to have an actual physiological explanation for the state we find ourselves in.  Provided with this, we can effectively identify the problem and begin to address it with an educated approach.

In our bodies we have chemicals known as neurotransmitters.  These chemicals are derived from the dietary proteins we consume.  Basically, these neurotransmitters can be looked at as chemical messengers that enable the proper communication between nerves.  They are responsible for major physiological responses, including the way we feel, and their presence (or lack thereof) can be at the root of many issues, including binge eating and depression.  Let me explain.

It has long been known that sugary carb-laden foods are the “feel good foods.”  When we are feeling down or sick, we constantly turn to these pro-inflammatory foods which actually perpetuate the problem at hand.  The physiological explanation behind this is that they indirectly increase the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin.

Amongst other things, serotonin is one of the feel good chemicals produced in our bodies.  Its levels are commonly targeted when addressing depression.  We get serotonin from the dietary amino acid tryptophan (smart sources include turkey, chicken, tuna, salmon, spinach, asparagus, nuts, etc.)  If all is working correctly, when we consume food with tryptophan it is eventually converted (with the help of co-factors like oxygen, magnesium and B6) to serotonin in the brain.

(Another interesting fact is that the formation of serotonin is actually facilitated when sun light enters through the eyes.  Hence, we tend to feel uplifted on a sunny day and more melancholic on those rainy days.  To take it a step further, serotonin is the precursor to the sleep chemical melatonin.  Adequate sunlight not only makes us feel good, but actually aids in the proper sleep cycle as well; but back to the serotonin-carbohydrate relationship.)

When we consume carbs, we see a rise in insulin levels to transport the carbs as glucose, to our tissues.  Insulin also sends amino acids out of the blood as well.  Even though tryptophan is an amino acid, it remains relatively unaffected by insulin due to the fact that it is tightly bonded to another protein.  This leaves the tryptophan with a clear path to be converted to serotonin in the brain.

Normally, the various amino acids (including tryptophan) compete to be transported through the blood brain barrier into the brain.  This creates a natural and healthy balance within the brain of the amounts of serotonin, dopamine, epinephrine, etc.

The problem arises when we spike our blood sugar and subsequently our insulin levels by way of these carb-heavy meals.  The burst of insulin rushes to clear out the glucose and all the other amino acids (which normally compete with tryptophan as far as uptake into the brain), but not the tryptophan.  The tryptophan now has an unimpeded path to the brain and conversion to serotonin, leading to that temporary high experienced after devouring that meal.

The nasty part occurs when that serotonin spike drops and we lose the food induced euphoria.  Now, just like any addict, we are susceptible to chasing that high, in this case, provided by the carb-heavy meal.

So what does this all mean for you?  Well, first off it provides yet another reason to seriously take a deeper look into the lower carb diet.  Secondly, it provides you with some comfort in knowing that there is a chemical imbalance here taking place that heavily influences your mood and subsequent behavior.  Armed with this knowledge, you can begin to make changes to your lifestyle that created this snowballing imbalance in the first place.

If you or someone you know would benefit from investigating this further, please give me a call and we can begin to get you back on track today.