The Science Behind Sugar

We all know that excess sugar is bad for us, but does this actually stop you from eating it? The answer is likely no and you are not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from chronic diseases that can linked back to poor nutrition and the overconsumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. It is an epidemic that needs to be addressed through education about how the food we eat affects our bodies now, and in the long run. Chronic diseases, like diabetes and heart disease, are largely preventable through nutrition and lifestyle improvements which is great news for those us willing to make some small but highly effective changes! Let’s take a deep dive into exactly WHY sugar is bad for you and what you can do to stay healthy for the rest of your life!

When you consume sugar your pancreas releases insulin to lower your blood sugar by storing it in your cells for short term energy or in your liver and muscles for long term energy in the form of glycogen. If you over-consume sugar throughout the day, and insulin is always high, your cells begin to ignore its signal leading to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is a condition characterized by a cellular resistance to insulin that leads to chronically elevated blood sugar levels. Simply put, insulin resistance occurs when insulin production is continuously triggered by increased blood sugar. This leads to an increased production of insulin in an attempt to lower blood sugar levels. Therefore, chronic ingestion of sugar and other high glycemic foods like refined carbohydrates leads to insulin resistance (Bowden and Sinatra 2015). This type of unmanaged blood sugar can of course lead to diabetes. That being said, what many people do not know is one of the first steps towards diabetes is insulin resistance and it is estimated that up to 80% of the population have this condition.

Diabetes isn’t the only chronic disease that is partially caused simply by the over consumption of sugar and insulin resistance. It can also lead to the number one killer in America, heart disease. One of the first signs of heart disease is atherosclerosis – an inflammatory condition, which starts in the arterial endothelium that results in the hardening and narrowing of the arteries by a buildup of plaque. This plaque is an amalgam of triglycerides, oxidized LDL cholesterol, immune cells, cellular debris and calcium. This condition can lead to coronary heart disease, heart arrhythmias, peripheral artery disease, hypertension, stroke, transient ischemic attack, and heart failure (Bauman and Friedlander 2017; Bowden and Sinatra 2015). According to Bowden and Sinatra (2015) “the number one dietary contributor to heart disease is sugar, which is a far greater danger to your heart than fat”.


Insulin resistance can lead to atherosclerosis in several different ways:

•   Chronically high levels of sugar and insulin in the blood is inflammatory and damaging to the arteries (Bauman and Friedlander 2017).

•   High blood insulin raises blood pressure by narrowing the arterial wall and by signaling the kidneys to retain sodium. Increased sodium leads to increased water retention and therefore higher blood volume and pressure.

•   High blood insulin also leads to increased cholesterol by activating the enzyme that controls the production of cholesterol (Bowden and Sinatra 2015).

•   When blood sugar is high, glucose molecules can ‘stick’ to proteins creating toxic molecules called advanced glycation end products, which are inflammatory and damaging (Bowden and Sinatra 2015).

•   Increased visceral body fat: Produces pro-inflammatory cytokines leading to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation (Bauman and Friedlander 2017).

•   High sugar and refined carbs raise triglycerides a major risk factor for heart disease (Bowden and Sinatra 2015).

So what can you do to prevent these problems caused by sugar?

•   First off DITCH THE SUGAR! and refined carbohydrates.

•   Eat whole unprocessed foods. Mostly plants!

•   Lower the glycemic load of your diet.

•   Increase fiber and balance out meals with healthy fats to decrease the insulin response of that meal.

•   Take care of your good gut bugs by cutting out inflammatory foods and increasing probiotic containing foods.

•   Aid digestion using apple cider vinegar, digestive bitters, digestive enzymes if necessary and chew your food 20+ times.

•   Exercise! Regular exercise helps to increase insulin sensitivity.




Bauman, E. & Friedlander, J. (2017). Therapeutic Nutrition Textbook Part 2. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College.

Bowden, J. & Sinatra, S. (2015). The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why lowering your cholesterol won’t prevent heart disease and the statin-free plan that will. Beverly, MA: Fair Winds Press.



Lacey Kalber, Certified Nutrition Consultant

Kaia FIT Santa Rosa

7 Day Reset

We’ve incorporated inspiration and motivation to help you rock all 7 days. In the next 7 days you will make shifts in your mind and body that will boost your metabolism, improve sleep and increase energy.


This is a self paced reset, so you can start when you are ready but we recommend to continue with the reset each day once you begin to see the maximum results.

All it takes is 7 DAYS. What are you waiting for?

Kaia Tri is a ten-week triathlon training program with workouts three times a week, which is an optional extra during our spring and summer CORE sessions. We swim, bike, and run, with some cross-training classes too. By being able to set a personal pace, our triathlon training program is suited to beginners tackling their first race and intermediate athletes looking to improve their finish time.

Our mock triathlons run several times to familiarize women with the course route. We finish the season with a Triathlon Training Camp which includes paddle boarding and power workouts. The next day is our exhilarating and fun Triathlon race day for all Kaia Tri women to enjoy working out in a beautiful location. Friends are welcome too!


Kaia Sandbag combines traditional fitness with unconventional training methods. With sandbags, the weight shifts and moves in an unpredictable fashion. This piece of equipment is integrated into our conditioning & strength building workouts to simultaneously develop strength, power, endurance, mobility, and balance – with an additional emphasis on developing overall core strength and stability.

New to sandbag training? No problem! Beginners are always welcome.


TRX® Suspension Training® body-weight exercise simultaneously develops strength, power, endurance, mobility, durability, balance, flexibility, and core stability. Whether you’re younger or older, out of shape or a pro athlete, injured or at the top of your game, TRX Suspension Training meets you where you are and takes you where you want to go. TRX Suspension Training leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to enable hundreds of exercises that can be instantly scaled for any user to reach any fitness or training goal. The easily-scalable nature of TRX Suspension Training makes it a practical solution wherever you are on the fitness continuum.

Need a little extra boost to keep your body guessing? Our TRX/Cardio class is an excellent complement to any Kaia FIT session. TRX workouts, which can be used by anyone at any level, builds true functional strength and improves flexibility, balance and core stability all at once. Mixed with cardio, the classes give every member the perfect balance of challenge and success.

*TRX classes not available in all areas. Please contact us your local studio.


Our trademark Kaia Cross-Training™ classes are a unique mix of cardio, functional movement, and both weighted and non-weighted exercises.

Cross-Training benefits:

Each day brings a new workout. We have an elite group of advanced coaches who infuse each workout with their own flair and focus, meaning you’re never going to repeat a workout, avoid burn-out, and fitness plateaus.

Keeping the body guessing is key to sculpting lean muscle mass. We also have a 3-part modification foundation: Balance (non-impact); Strength (mid-impact) and Kaia (high impact). Each exercise has its own progression so that everyone can feel successful.

As a part of our program, we also offer nutritional guidance to help you make healthy food choices and keep your fitness on track.

What are you waiting for? Join us today!


Our barre-based class is a unique combination of postures inspired by ballet, yoga, Pilates and Kaia. Using the barre as a prop to balance, you’ll complete a series of isometric holds combined with high reps of small range movements to elongate and tone your major muscle groups.

In addition to the barre, classes incorporate pilates balls, yoga blocks, and/or resistance bands for increased endurance, challenge and focus. Following each set of holds, you’ll rest and recovery with a short series of stretches and poses to increase flexibility prior to advancing.
Kaia Barre is a low-impact class that perfectly complements our program offerings. Meet us at the barre and try your first class for free!

Participating locations may vary. See the schedule page for more details.


Our dance fitness class is rooted in traditional dance. We use those foundational moves and offer a class that is easy enough for beginners yet challenging enough for the more seasoned dancer. The simplicity of the routines allows you to keep moving with ease. Although this is a workout, it feels more like a dance party with your girlfriends.


Improve your speed, skill, endurance, stamina, and strength with our Kaia running program. The program works on developing running skills that can increase speed, endurance, and overall fitness. The program is designed for you to run at your pace and and help you see improvements every step of the way.

The Kaia training is a simple, progressive program designed for women of all ages and all fitness levels. Whether you are a walker, jogger, or runner, you will be able to join this program and move at your own pace. Research has shown that even 20 to 30 minutes of running (two to three times per week) is enough to help you lose or maintain weight and improve many other important health markers, i.e. your cholesterol, blood pressure and insulin response.

Don’t be intimidated by the Kaia Run program name, each class will have walkers, joggers and runners. Keep in mind that the first mile is the hardest mile you will ever run. Once you get off the starting block, things only get easier. All you have to do is be patient and disciplined in your training, and that is where Kaia


Kaia Yoga combines mind and body with a power yoga and core-strengthening weekly workout with Pilates-style techniques. We focus on balance, strength, and cardiovascular fitness through stretching, strength training and dynamic movement to improve overall fitness levels.

By creating long, lean muscles, Yoga promotes improved coordination, greater flexibility and a fuller range of motion, with a strong body that’s less prone to injury. Yoga keeps the mind centered and reduces stress through positive thoughts and a sense of mindfulness, which also inspires mental strength and confidence.

Yin Yoga, or restorative yoga, is a quiet contemplative practice. It targets the deepest tissues of the body, our connective tissues – ligaments, joints, bones, and the deep fascia networks of the body. Poses are held for 1 minute or more and transitions between poses are gentle and slow. This class is an excellent compliment to our other classes, provides dedicated stretching, and is known to reduce stress and anxiety.


Our BRIK Bootcamp sessions are offered three times a year and are designed to help you reach your health and fitness potential, and you’re welcome to start anytime!

Our BRIK Bootcamps are six weeks long and feature classes daily.* This programming fits in seamlessly with our regularly scheduled classes, and it’s as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Register for BRIK Bootcamp HERE (included for Platinum & Gold Memberships)
  2. Book your classes through our branded app and Show Up
  3. Let our expert coaches do the rest!

These sessions offer great results in weight and body fat loss and an increase in strength and cardiovascular endurance. Our nutritional support will boost energy, help you de-bloat, increase sleep quality, and enhance your overall glow.

BRIK Bootcamp includes:

In between BRIK Bootcamp, we offer a variety of classes to meet you at your level! We also have nutrition and fitness challenges, in addition to fun opportunities to spice up your routine. What are you waiting for? Join us today!


Cardio based, calorie torching workout with certified spin instructors. It’s a party on a bike!

Try a Week Free