“Like heroin, cocaine and caffeine, sugar is an addictive, destructive drug, yet we consume it daily in everything from cigarettes to bread” -William Duffy, author of “Sugar Blues”
Have you ever wondered why you crave sweets, or why we all have a “sweet tooth”? Americans are consuming 100 pounds of sugar a year! Of course we all know where to find all the foods that contain sugar right? Cookies, cakes, candy? How about cigarettes, bread, tomato sauce, packaged oatmeal, protein bars, salad dressing, ketchup, granola, dried fruit and sports drinks all contain sugar! It’s everywhere! Don’t feel too bad about not knowing, the companies that are producing this stuff use other names for sugar. Be aware of what you are putting into your body, and read the labels. Often disguised in fancy language, sugar is also called fructose, glucose, maltose, dextrose, and corn syrup. The USDA recommends that we get no more than 10 teaspoons of sugar per day, and most Americans are consuming 30 teaspoons a day.
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that naturally occurs in grains, veggies, fruit, and beans. When unprocessed, foods that contain sugar also contain good things for your body like vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein! These natural carbohydrates will break down into separate glucose molecules and enter the bloodstream, where the body burns them, allowing your system to absorb all the nutrients. That is what your stomach and intestines were meant to do! When you eat foods that contain refined sugar (also known as white sugar), they are lacking all the vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein your body needs, and it creates a deficiency. This is an empty calorie. Your body depletes its own store of minerals and enzymes to absorb sucrose properly.
Sugar enters the bloodstream fast, spiking your blood sugar sky high, causing nervous tension, excitability and hyperactivity, then dropping it extremely low, causing depression, anxiety, fatigue and depression. Refined sugar causes your blood sugar to spike, putting you in the front seat of an emotional roller coaster. You feel energized, happy for a while and then, suddenly you’re having an argument with someone you love. Sugar is an addictive substance, and here’s why. Eating even small amounts causes you crave more, and removing sugar from your diet suddenly causes withdrawal symptoms like mood swings, headaches, cravings and fatigue.
It is very important that you don’t assume something is healthy for you, especially if it is processed foods. A lemon poppy seed Cliff Bar has 21 grams of sugar, or 5 teaspoons. Compare that to a chocolate glazed donut from Dunkin’ Donuts, which has 14 grams of sugar, or 3 teaspoons. The over consumption of refined sugar, found in everyday foods has caused an explosion of type 2 diabetes, hypoglycemia, and has it’s hand in obesity.
Being your own advocate and knowing what is in your food can help you steer clear of a sugar addiction. If you already suffer with the sugar blues, start getting the refined sugars out of your diet, and if you are having difficulty you can always enlist the help of your Doctor, Nutritionist, or Heath Coach.
Sources of information:
“Sugar Blues”, Joshua Rosenthal