Would you believe there is one food that affects your libido so pervasively that avoiding it can improve your energy level, your mood, your weight, your quality of sleep, and how well you handle stress?
Sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine. When cocaine-addicted mice are offered sugar and cocaine, they will choose sugar. What does this have to do with your libido? Plenty! In fact here are 6 ways sugar can affect your sex drive.
They are each followed by a “Keep it Simple Sweetie” (KISS) Tip.
- Sugar makes you fat. Sugar messes with leptin, the hormone that tells you to stop eating because you are full. If your leptin is imbalanced, you will feel hungry even though you are over-eating. Aspartame and other chemical sweeteners also affect leptin and create insulin resistance and over-eating.
KISS TIP: Be wary of agave and artificial sweeteners. Instead choose Luo Han Guo, Stevia, Truvia, or Xylitol for your sweetener options.
- Sugar causes liver disease and hormone imbalances: A diet high in sugar can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a disease that was rare before 1980. Table sugar and high fructose corn syrup trigger your liver to store fat faster than you would ordinarily. Nonalcoholic fatty liver affects hormone balance in the body, which is necessary for sexual desire.
KISS TIP: If your libido is low, have your entire endocrine system checked, not just your estrogen and testosterone levels. This includes a full thyroid panel (TPO, TSH, Free T3, Free T4, RT3), adrenal testing, pancreatic testing (Hgb A1c, fasting insulin, and fasting blood sugar), a sex hormone binding level, free and total testosterone, DHEAs, all 3 estrogens, and pregnenolone and progesterone.
- Sugar makes you tired. It can take less than 30 minutes to go from a sugar high to a sugar crash. This is especially true of sugary drinks and fruit juices. If you remove the fiber from your fruit, it creates a faster sugar spike and subsequently, a faster sugar dive. What do most people reach for after they dive? Sugar of course; keeping the roller coaster going and going and going.
KISS TIP: Try to get 30 gms of fiber per day. That extra fiber helps combat insulin resistance and therefore hormone imbalances.
- Sugar makes you depressed. People who eat a high carbohydrate diet are 40% more likely to develop depression than those who do not eat junk food. Dopamine, a chemical in the brain that is necessary for feeling desire, is released at lower levels in people who are insulin resistant. People who are depressed rarely have a healthy libido.
KISS TIP: Do a quick math exercise when you are making your food choices: Every 4 gms of carbohydrate = 1 tsp of table sugar. Read your labels and don’t be fooled by a low sugar but high carb label. Visualize yourself pouring white table sugar into your bowl by the spoon full.
- Sugar makes you anxious. As noted earlier, sugar being absorbed in the blood stream rapidly causes a surge of energy or a high. During that high many people can experience a wired or anxious feeling. When the sugar spike wears off, fatigue and depression can set in. Anxiety is experienced by the body as a danger signal, which triggers a series of hormones that gear it up for fighting or fleeing. This fight or flight state is not conducive to sexual desire—or for sleep. Lack of sleep is yet another libido killer.
KISS TIP: Choose nuts and a piece of fruit if you are wanting something sweet, and don’t have sugar before bedtime.
- Sugar is a poor stress coping mechanism. If you find yourself reaching for a cold beer, a glass of wine, or your favorite carbohydrate-rich food when you are stressed, you are not alone. These are known as comfort foods. Unfortunately, as outlined above, there is little comfort to be had when you are left feeling anxious, depressed, and completely lacking in mojo. Stress is one of the primary reasons for low libido.
KISS TIP: Better options for stress relief are to go for a brisk walk, eat a healthy meal with protein and vegetables, talk to a friend, go to a yoga class, or meditate.
Comment below to let me know your biggest struggle with Sugar.