Understanding Sugar Sensitivity
Glossary of Key Terms and Concepts



Sugar sensitivity: A biochemical condition creating puzzling physical and emotional ups and downs. It includes volatile blood sugar responses, a low level of serotonin, a low level of beta-endorphin and a heightened response to the pain-numbing effects of sugars. It is profoundly affected by diet.

Low blood sugar: A physical state in which the amount of glucose in the blood drops and creates symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, loss of concentration and emotional vulnerability.

Serotonin: A brain chemical responsible for mood and impulsivity.

Beta-endorphin: A brain chemical responsible for modulating emotional and physical pain. It contributes to feelings of self-esteem, euphoria and confidence.

Impulse control: The ability to “just say no”; the gap between intention and action. It is affected by the level of serotonin in the brain. Low serotonin results in low impulse control.

Covert sugars: Sugars hidden in processed foods. Includes things like high-fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin and raisin paste.

Complex carbohydrates: Carbohydrates having more than three simple sugars strung together. Includes all green, yellow, white, purple and red vegetables; whole-grain breads, cereals and pasta; brown rice and other grains; nuts and seeds; lentils and beans; and potatoes.

From POTATOES NOT PROZAC by Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D.