Sometimes even a nice breakfast with bacon, egg and coffee seems to be insufficient. You somehow seem to be discontent and still have a longing or shall I say ‘craving’ to eat something else. This is because your breakfast lacked in a very important ingredient i.e sugar. After your last night’s dinner, there’s nothing else that you ate and hence your blood levels of sugar have fallen. And it will do whatever is necessary to convince you to eat sugar as often as possible.
Your brain needs sugar, in the form of glucose to function normally. The neurons in your brain require a constant supply of sugar to maintain their ability to produce energy and communicate with other neurons. Your neurons can only tolerate a total deprivation of sugar for a few minutes before they begin to die. This absence of sugar leads to craving something sweet.
The Scientific/Chemical approach
Sugar is used to produce a very important neurotransmitter chemical called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine allows you to learn and remember, to regulate your attention and mood, and to also control how well you can move. Your brain makes acetylcholine from choline, which is obtained from the diet which contains sugar. We often obtain choline in our diet by eating lecithin(Lecithin is a fat that is essential in the cells of the body) which is present in baked goods such as donuts, cupcakes and even in chocolate. Therefore, chocolate-covered, caramel or sugar glazed doughnut on your crave list first thing in the morning will provide your brain with everything it wants and needs to pay attention and learn new things. No wonder, on the way to work, you grab those delicious doughnuts to fulfill your craving.
As the day progresses, your acetylcholine neurons consume choline and sugar as you think and learn. While you think and learn, another neurotransmitter increases in concentration and slowly but powerfully turns off your acetylcholine neurons. This chemical is called adenosine, and it inhibits the function of acetylcholine neurons. The longer you are awake, the more persuasive its influence.
The caffeine in your coffee is able to prevent the actions of adenosine and release your acetylcholine neurons from their chemical confinement. Your attentiveness improves and you will be ready for anything, at least until the caffeine effect wears off.(Recent research suggests that eating too much sugar places your acetylcholine neurons at risk of death leading to the symptoms of dementia).Always remember, what the brain wants is not always good for our bodies.
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