Sugar is brain food, right?
YES and NO!
Both your brain and your body need a steady stream of small amounts of sugar to function properly. The best way to achieve that is to eat the sugar in the form of complex carbohydrates found in vegetables, grains and legumes. Because these complex carbohydrates are intertwined with the fiber of these foods, it takes the body longer to first untangle and then break them down into their building blocks, the sugars. And because it takes your body more time, the sugars released from the breakdown of these complex carbohydrates trickle into the blood stream gradually and over a long period of time, providing us with exactly what we need: a steady stream of small amounts of sugar.
The beauty of this process is, that it provides you with sustained energy for many hours, keeps your blood sugar level even, keeps your mood balanced, enables you to focus well, boosts your mental capacity, keeps you motivated and does not set you up to crave sweets, does not let you go hungry and does not make you gain weight.
Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Quite the opposite is true when you get your sugars from eating candy, cakes or pastries. Because these foods lack fiber and contain simple carbohydrates that are easily digested and break down quickly – you experience a rush of sugar that creates a spike in your blood sugar level. Your body recognizes this as an emergency and overcompensates to save the day by producing a large amount of insulin. Very soon you will find your blood sugar level dropping to a level below the middle ground, leaving you tired, in a bad mood, unable to concentrate and unmotivated. What’s more, this condition sets you up for craving more sugar. Not such a pretty picture.
Therefore – to keep your brain and body happily humming along focus on natural fiber rich foods as are all vegetables, unprocessed grains and legumes (beans, peas and lentils) – they provide superior and sustained energy for your brain and body and do not lead to weight gain.