Addiction is a very strong word and is linked to some pretty powerful substances. Some of those addictions end in tragedy, while others lead to a very poor quality of life. When someone is “addicted” to something, there brain chemistry is altered, and it is more compelled to go after the addiction at aggressive levels. In today’s world with addictions of alcohol and drugs getting noticed daily, we forget about the everyday foods we consume that are loaded with refined sugar? This powerful, yet savory substance has been known to be more addictive than cocaine. Yes, this is a true fact and what is scary is that we are feeding our children large amounts of sugar daily, which starts the addiction at a young age.
On the outside sugar seems harmless, but on the inside it’s killing us.” Cassie Bjork, RD, LD.
Unlike drugs and alcohol, sugar is socially accepted by almost everyone. No one will have an intervention meeting about someone who enjoys their sweets. But should they? I know many people who are literally addicted to sugar and have to consume it at every meal. Without it, they experience the typical withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, light-headedness, nausea, and headaches. Overtime they are unconsciously building up their tolerance to more and more sugar, which as we know wreaks havoc on the body in the long run.
Over 100 Million North American residents have type 2 diabetes, as a result of consuming way too much sugar. This is actually starting to become an epidemic throughout the continent, and much of the world. Sugar has been known to cause chronic diseases in the body, as well as bring on obesity, which in turn affects our hearts and overall well being.
“On average, sugar represents 15% of the total calories consumed by Americans.”
As we are all aware there are many forms of sugar we can ingest, but which one is the most toxic? Believe it or not, High Fructose Corn Syrup is more toxic than table sugar. In an article written by Dr. Mercola, he breaks down the differences between table sugar, and high fructose corn syrup so we can better understand it's impacts on the body.
“Table sugar consists of two molecules, which separate in your gut: fructose and glucose. Glucose travels throughout your body and fuels your muscles and brain. But fructose goes straight to your liver, where all sorts of problems result. Your liver turns this fructose into liver fat, which causes a slew of metabolic problems. For starters, excess fructose shuts down the part of your brain that tells you when you’re full, making overeating likely. The resulting insulin resistance is at the core of a long list of serious health problems, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and heart disease. And the list seems to grow longer by the day.”
How To Break The Addiction
It has been said that most Americans consume roughly 22 teaspoons worth of added sugars every single day, or more for that matter! It is no secret that this is one addiction that is extremely hard to break because sugary foods are everywhere we look. In an article written by Dr. David Ludwig who is a professor at Harvard Medical School, he says that gravitating to a high fat low-carb diet that eliminates sugars and refined carbs will help kick start the process but it won’t solve all of the problems right away as willpower can’t stay strong enough to have the upper hand on sugar forever.
The actual consumption of fat doesn’t make someone fat. Rather, it is the consumption of sugar and refined carbs that confuses the body and triggers and insulin spike which then stores more fat than we want it to. By consuming nuts and seeds with a higher fat content, you will notice your sugar cravings diminishing as well as your addictive behaviors subsiding for the time being. But remember not ALL fat is good for you, so stay away from trans-fats, which are more commonly found in fast foods, pastries, and cakes. This type of fat has a negative addictive trigger that will do more harm than good.
Along with avoiding trans-fats, you should also avoid artificial sweeteners because they keep your cravings for sweet things going rather than slowing. These have been linked to causing cancers as well as other chronic illnesses. Therefore, it is best to steer clear of them no matter what. Another key factor to kicking your sugar addiction is to steer clear from “low fat” items. These are laced with added sugars to offset the low-fat bland taste. Don’t be fooled by these foods thinking that they will be better for you in the long run, as all they are doing is feeding your sugar addiction which in turn causes weight gain.
There are hundreds if not thousands of articles talking about the dangers of consuming too much sugar. It is our job to control our own health, and we need to do a better job at reading labels and being aware of what we are consuming. Sugar is everywhere, there is no denying that, but with a little background knowledge about the dangers it will have you thinking twice before going in for seconds on those cookies. By eating larger amounts of healthy fats, you will slowly diminish your cravings for sugar. It is best to jump in with the knowledge that you will allow yourself to cheat here and there, but to be aware of your consumption levels when you are cheating. Instead of eating an entire sleeve of Oreos, simply have 2 or 3. If you cannot refrain from just eating 2 or three, take them out of your home all together. We can control our destinies and become triumphant over the dangerous sugar addiction with a little help, and self control along the way.
- Trans Fat. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from http://www.cspinet.org/transfat/
- 7 Tips for Breaking Your Addiction to Sugar. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/nutrition/7-tips-for-breaking-your-addiction-to-sugar/ar-BBpBYmi#page=2
- Dangers of Sugar: Secrets of Sugar Industry Exposed. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/07/25/sugar-industry-secrets.aspx
- Ask the Experts: Is Sugar an Addictive Drug? (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from http://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/experts-is-sugar-addictive-drug#1