I’m often somewhat perplexed by the rage that my body goes through when it comes to it’s craving for sugar. I mean, it’s usually around the 3pm “witching hour” of my daily job grind that I start to feel it coming on.

Strong, that is.

I’ve pretty my wrapped up my day at work and I’m getting ready to head out within the next hour or so to the weight room. My body can sense it. It desires to have a little fuel injection of some sort to get ready for the energy explosion that will no doubt ensue once I hit the gym.

Unfortunately, nothing provides a quick jolt of energy to the system faster than sugar. On the flip side, it comes with a cost:  the negative effect of crashing and unwanted calories. Sweeteners have side effects, and along with that, the only thing that seems to satisfy sugar cravings after you’ve started to eat something sweet, is only more and more sugar. The initial dump of sugar into the blood stream sends your body into a reflexive arc that tries to create a homeostatic environment of balance. Not too much, not too little. The human body is a complex machine that is very efficient. But, I’ve learned over time, that the body does struggle in the balancing department when it comes to two things: sugar and salt. No matter how much you try, once your body develops the taste for it, you will continues to go through turmoil until you pretty much deprive yourself and beat your mind and body into submission.

On the sugar side of things, its best to use natural and refined sugars as much as possible because they have two benefits. For one: they release into the blood stream a lot slowly that packaged sugars. Things like honey and Stevia (common name for extracts from the plant Stevia rebaudiana;  a purified component form of the plant — called rebaudioside A (rebiana) — “generally recognized as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provide gradual sugar releases, allowing you to get the energy you need at a low risk of crashing and craving more. Also, these guys do a great job of cutting your appetite and making you feel full faster because of the length of time the sugar stays in your blood stream, telling your joy center of the brain (hypothalamus) that it can shut off for a while and focus on other things than eating.

My pre and post workout regimen starts and ends with supplements I can trust. Wrapping a piece of meat like chicken or turkey, in wheat bread, with a shot of honey gives me a jolt of energy  when I arrive and my protein shake within the next 30 minutes of working out afterwards, gives me the amino acid building blocks I need to rebuild muscles. I use protein shakes that to offer Stevia and a hybrid blends of different proteins. That way, I know my body is getting only what it needs following workouts and I feel energized at night when I go to sleep, and wake up feeling replenished the next day for another bout.

So remember, it’s best to pick the right sugar the next time you have a craving. Otherwise, you’ll just be setting yourself up for failure on the balancing homeostatic cycle of blood sugar fluxing that can destroy any healthy goals you have.