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Could Your Sugar Addiction Contribute To Your Infertility?
A blog by Sarah Clark, October 31, 2014
For years, my meal was not complete until I had a sugary dessert. I needed the chocolate cake; I could barely resist those sugary snacks on my coworker’s desks, especially the mini Halloween chocolate bars. They were so small, so they didn’t count. Right? After chastising myself and swearing I wouldn’t do it again, that nasty sugar craving would kick in, my blood sugar would plummet and resistance was futile.
The American Heart Association recommends that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day and that for men it is 9 teaspoons per day. Many of us go over the recommended daily allowance before we head out the door in the morning. Did you know that one individual serving of low fat fruit bottom yogurt has approximately 4 tsp of sugar?
What does sugar have to do with infertility? Sugar causes inflammation in the body and inflammation disrupts our hormones. This is especially important for women who suffer from endometriosis and PCOS. When you kick the sugar habit, watch as your symptoms begin to subside.
All sweet treats and refined products such as (white pasta, white rice, white flour) we consume raise our insulin levels. This spike in blood sugar gives us that temporary high, but then watch out as our blood sugar plummets. This causes continued stimulation of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenalin in an attempt to raise sugar levels. When this happens repeatedly, the adrenals become weakened, and this may lead to hormonal imbalance. This creates a roller coaster ride in the body with blood sugar erratically rising and falling. The adrenals are responsible for maintaining a proper balance between DHEA, estrogen, testosterone and progesterone. This affects hormone levels for both men and women.
What about insulin resistance? The pancreas secretes insulin to control blood sugar levels. Excessive sugar consumption can lead to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance disrupts normal ovulation by preventing the body from ovulating. Many women with PCOS have problems with insulin resistance and PCOS is also a warning for pre-diabetes.
So you want to reduce your sugar intake? Not sure where to start? Here are some tips to get started:
- Crowd out the sugar with the good stuff - try starting your meal with a salad, grab some veggies and fruit to snack on, when you body is full with the healthy stuff you won’t be hungry for the sugar
- Find a processed-free sugar alternative – try brown rice syrup, maple syrup, honey, or stevia. Stevia is an especially good alternative for women with PCOS, as it has been show to have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. Stevia is 300 times sweeter than sugar, so a little goes a long way.
- Drink some water – you may be dehydrated – before you grab for the donut have a glass of water – make it a special treat and add some lemon or fresh berries
- Call a friend – you may not be hungry at all, but could be feeling overwhelmed, lonely or bored – you could be in need of social connection and a comforting voice to tell you its going to be all right
Don’t underestimate the addictive qualities of sugar. Studies have shown it is 8 times more addictive than cocaine. If you decide to go cold turkey, watch out for withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, headache and moodiness. After the first 3 to 4 days these symptoms should subside and you will begin to feel a renewed sense of energy and maybe for the first time a sense of peace. You can say goodbye to the weak and irritable 3pm you, who used to run to the vending machine for their daily fix.