Since we started the CPWM, I have had the pleasure of discussing diet and the impact on the many issues patients come to see me with. One of the biggest issues parents see me with is their kid's behavior - tantrums, meltdowns, and mood swings. Often, they want reassurance that this is normal childhood behavior, sometimes, they want a diagnosis of ADHD and medications, at times, they are worried about their kids' well-being, but not keen to start medications.
Among my adult patients, I also deal with a similar gamut of complaints: low mood, poor sleep, difficulty concentrating/brain fog, poor libido/energy, generalized abdominal discomfort, and body aches and pains.
What is interesting is that all these apparently diverse symptoms are related. The simple common pathway is SUGAR!!! I know that this is now the new BuzzFeed. We've all heard it and know it, but do we REALLY?!!! Do we understand enough of the toxicity of sugar to understand that we need to aggressively seek ways to cut it out of our diets even more stringently than many of us quit smoking...
Do we understand that SUGAR, not smoking is responsible for the next 4 killers on the Global Burden of Disease list? Sugar is not only responsible for Diabetes, Cancer, Heart disease, but is also responsible for MANY psychiatric disorders. Depression, anxiety, ADHD, ASD, schizophrenia, bipolar, and more.
How can this be, you ask? How have our governments allowed us to be poisoned to the point where almost every aisle of the grocery store contains products that DIRECTLY cause us harm? Addressing that would take me all day, so for now, let's focus on SUGAR.
This is how sugar causes all those psych symptoms that make you have panic attacks, make your children act crazy leading to more medications.
As you can see from this slide from Dr. Georgia Ede's, a nutritional psychiatrist's website, differences in Glucose in a meal result in different spike and falls in Insulin (a growth promoter which tells your body to store fat and also drive adrenaline release. Intake of a high GI meal spikes blood glucose, which in turn spikes insulin to drop the blood sugar. Once the blood sugar drops, leaving you feeling tired, low energy and sleepy, your helpful body comes along with an adrenaline/cortisol spike to help you wake up and continue your day. That adrenaline spike is responsible for the panic attacks and anxiety you feel, as well as the poor behavior that your children exhibit.
Rather than antidepressants, ADHD medications, a simple shift in the idea of what constitutes breakfast, snacks, lunch may be in order. Omelets, meaty salads, fruit, and veggie snacks and a keto/paleo orientation in terms of diet levels out blood sugar and addresses most of these concerns.
For many parents and for patients, this is hard yakka. As our Come Paleo with Me participants learned, changing diet and food behavior is difficult. This is true. Habits die hard and when it comes to sugar, addiction behavior dies even harder. Information is important to help motivate change. Small steps, shifting away from high carb/high sugar diets will slowly change your taste buds, your energy, and mood levels and help turn the tide of sugar addiction. Imagine no pills, well-behaved children who have impulse control, good concentration, sleep at the right time, and are easy to manage by parents who are not tired, moody, insomniacs. Start the change, make one small shift TODAY.