Don’t think you eat much sugar? Think again. Americans consumes almost 160 pounds of refined sugar each year – it’s in everything from ketchup to lunch meat. One can of soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar, which is the maximum recommended daily allowance.
Sugar activates the brain’s pleasure center, which releases opioids that fuel a craving for more sugar or in another words helps create a sugar addiction. Even the sight of ice cream generates the same feelings of pleasure in the brain as images of crack pipes did for crack addicts.
What’s wrong with sugar?
Eating excess sugar can lead to weight gain, tooth decay, and blood-sugar spikes, followed by sharp declines, a pattern that exacerbates irritability, anxiety and light headiness. Even worse, eating too mush sugar causes insulin resistance, which leads directly to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Most sugary food is high in saturated fat as well.
Why do we do it?
Who hasn’t curled up with a bowl of ice cream on a lonely Friday night? Downing a spoonful (or twelve) of sugar can be comforting or it could just be a bad habit. When the cravings get bad, they can also be a message from your body letting you know its signals are mixed up. When we are exhausted or blue, we have low blood sugar and/or low serotonin, and the body signals the brain that it needs a pick-me-up. This signal causes a sugar craving.
I can’t quit!
You can stop your addiction to sugar. Just like giving up caffeine, there are ways to wean yourself off processed sugar that will not only make you healthier, but increase your chances at a long life.
- Eat more foods rich in protein, fiber and healthy fats, all of which slow the digestive process and help keep your blood sugar in balance.
- Add a multivitamin/mineral supplement because nutrients such as chromium, magnesium and vitamin [B.sub.6] help stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Banish packaged products full of hidden sugar.