SUGAR: Say hello to my little…Friend?

//SUGAR: Say hello to my little…Friend?

SUGAR: Say hello to my little…Friend?

Most of us have a relationship with sugar and for many of us it’s a love/hate relationship. We love the taste and how it makes us feel. We look forward to our next “treat” and reward ourselves with sugary desserts and snacks. We crave our breads, cereals, cakes and pastas or look forward to that refreshing soda, juice or soft drink. They make us feel so good, they satisfy us … for a little while at least.

What we don’t like is that we are often left feeling unsatisfied or wanting more so we might overeat. This often leaves us feeling sluggish or fatigued. Perhaps we’ve added unwanted weight and have become frustrated because we can’t lose it, in fact we’re gaining more. And what about the guilt? “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing!” And we beat ourselves up over it, swearing that we will never let that happen again. But it happens again. We try to control our portions and we worry about cutting down. We might make excuses for it or justify our eating. “I’ll exercise harder tomorrow,” or perhaps you’ve rewarded yourself for a workout that day.

So often we eat these foods when we’re not even all that hungry.

Some of us downplay our consumption whereas others use the “Well ya know, I do like my sweets, but the rest of my diet is pretty healthy” justification. And then there are those who will simply confess “I’M ADDICTED TO SUGAR.”

The fact of the matter is sugar is highly addictive. And all of the physiological and mental / emotional conflicts it presents as mentioned previously, are features of addiction. Period.
Some food for thought:

  • First off sugar is not a food. Food is defined as any nutritious substance that people eat or drink, in order to maintain life and growth. Sugar is NOT A NUTRIENT. It delivers calories but NO vitamins, minerals, fiber or any other ingredient necessary to “maintain life and growth.” If we eat too much it gets stored for later use (as fat), yet we are still hungry because the body is in need of nutrients and it hasn’t gotten any!
  • A recent study showed that sugar is 8x more addictive than cocaine
  • Sugar stimulates a repeated dopamine release in the reward center of the brain.
  • Rats fed sugar water continued to ingest it despite being shocked with electricity
  • Another study showed that rats preferred sugar over cocaine 94% of the time!
  • Interestingly both cocaine and sugar are measured in grams.

There are people in lab coats at food companies who study dopamine release and how best to stimulate bliss-like emotions through food so that you will continue to buy. And if you eat food made by men in white coats, you will end up being treated by people in white coats. Is it all that different from big tobacco’s nicotine delivery model? We think not. The food companies are predominantly in the sugar delivery business. They are your “dealers” so to speak.

What about fruit, it has sugar? Fruit, like the processed franken-foods that comprise 80% of the non-produce portion of our supermarkets contain sugar as a means to encourage future consumption. Fruits want you to eat them. They advertise themselves with magnificent colors of red, blue, yellow, green, purple and orange. The manufactured, chemical laden “foods” that are advertised to us and our children are also designed to get us to consume.

The difference is that fruits also contain enzymes, minerals, and vitamins necessary for bodily nourishment. They are mostly comprised of water that delivers these nutrients throughout the body and helps transport waste and toxins out which is critical to health and longevity. They have been designed by nature over tens of thousands of years to nourish the human body. That’s quite a difference.

So, is sugar your friend? No. It’s empty calories that spike our blood sugar levels, frequently causing insulin imbalances and resistance which ultimately can lead to diabetes and obesity, two chronic diseases that is at epidemic proportions in this country. It’s that serious. With friends like that….well you know!

You can substitute some of your go-to processed, sugary foods with healthy fruits, so many of which are now in season. A bowl of cherries, a juicy nectarine, a bowl of fresh organic berries. Try it. What do you have to lose other than the damaging impact of processed food which is the leading contributor to substantially all chronic disease in this country. The time to make changes is NOW.
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