I have found that since cutting out bread, my sweet tooth has SERIOUSLY lessened.
Is this because the willpower I exerted over cutting out bread (and other grainy foods) has strengthened my willpower muscle? Therefore making it easier to make the switch to eating less sugar?
This may be partially true, as willpower is indeed a muscle. And learning to say no to one thing makes it easier to say no to something else. But I think there’s something else going on here too.
And it’s to do with steady blood sugar.
I haven’t had that much willpower around chocolate for a while, but these days my body feels like it’s on my side. As if it just doesn’t want chocolate that much; making it much easier to say no to it – gasp!
You see, bread can really raise your blood sugar. When blood sugar is sky high, the body sends out a lot of insulin to deal with it. This is all well and good, as that is what is supposed to happen. But foods, like bread, that release a lot of insulin have been shown to make us hungrier after eating them, than if we’d eaten nothing at all. This is because there’s too much swinging up to high insulin release and then a huge dip in blood sugar when all that blood sugar has been dealt with. The body doesn’t like to go on this roller coaster, and does much better with foods that only make it release SOME insulin so that blood sugar is always at about the same level. So when we eat toast for breakfast, then a chocolate bar with pasta at lunch, and crisps on the way home from work – you can see how all these high GL foods are causing crazy insulin and blood sugar patterns throughout the day, setting us up for hunger and cravings.
Bread is also quite low in available nutrition. Even though it has lots of added vitamins, it is still essentially a ‘dead’ product, and by that I mean the powdered and processed vitamins and added minerals have all be cooked in the dough and are often no that bioavailable to us.
And surprisingly, bread isn’t the best source of fibre to eat.
A carrot or apple when grated into small bits will still have a lot of volume, even in its grated state. A lot of that is mostly water, but it still brings a feeling of fullness into the belly as it is literally volume – it has a mass. Carrots, along with lentils, apples, pears and celery, for example, have soluble fibre, which is a type of fibre that gels with water, staying in the stomach for longer and helping to control blood sugar! The second type of fibre – insoluble fibre, passes through the gut, bulking up our stools, and making our bowel all happy! Good sources of insoluble fibre come from dark leafy veg, beans, onions and root vegetables.
A full stomach, full of food with volume, is literally stretched and the amazing stomach lining has stretch receptors which tell the brain to turn off hunger signals. The gut also takes note of the nourishment coming into it, and often a meal with raw vegetables will satisfy very well because it has satisfied a hunger for nourishment too.
When you squeeze a slice of bread it turns into a very small ball of dough in your palm. If you soaked bread and squeezed it into a ball, it would be smaller still. So bread has three things going against it – low volume, low nutrition, affects blood sugar wildly.
These three things are going to cause us to be hungry shortly after eating processed grains, like bread, pizza, pasta or pastry.
When you feel hungry, you want to just eat anything – quickly! It’s easy to reach for sugar in times like these.
I think that eating bread set my body up for craving sugar and chocolate, and I’ve experienced first-hand, that stable blood sugar works wonders for calming cravings, without the need for iron will.
For this reason. I’ve switched to dark chocolate – so I know something good is going on as I didn’t usually like dark chocolate during my milk chocolate eating, but I’m actually enjoying it just as it is, which is 85% organic. I choose organic now because cocoa is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world. Plus, it’s not that much more expensive, and it feels like even more of a treat to get it organic.
Eating dark chocolate is more of a way to satisfy my mental habits. I do like something sweet after a meal. 1 – to calm a palette that still tastes of herbs, spices and garlic and 2 – to satisfy myself without denying or restricting myself unduly, which would set up cravings based in restriction.
This is in line with the mind-set I’ve had the whole time. I have been very open to eating milk chocolate whenever I want, and I have taken advantage of that fact quite heavily and eaten a lot in the past – but that has built up inner trust. I know that if I wanted to eat it, I could, and that’s taken away all restriction, banning, forbidden pleasures etc. that make sugar all the more alluring!
But a thing about sweet stuff – including bread – is that when you take them away completely, that’s when the craving for them really stops.
If you’re not that fussed on bread, then stopping eating it for a while can have some really positive effects on your blood sugar – and your overall cravings for other sweet stuff.
Plus, when you take bread and grain products away, you simply HAVE to fill that void with good stuff! Veggies, fruit, healthy fats like olives and seeds. Win.
I’m going to write more soon on keeping the gut healthy in terms of gluten and bacteria, which can influence our mood, clarity of thought and happiness!
Keep your gut happy folks!