If I could pinpoint one thing to be the biggest obstacle my clients face when trying to eat healthier, it’d be sugar. Even with the best intentions, a specific meal plan and a clean pantry, they often give into their sugar cravings. Filled with remorse and guilt, they often beat themselves up and feel defeated. But as you will soon see, sugar is highly addictive. You need to know the truth about your sweet tooth to be able to finally overcome it.
Let’s look back at the last century to see exactly why this has become a problem. Depending on what figures you look at, around 1900 the average American consumed 4 lbs of sugar per year. Today, we consume that amount every two weeks! Sugar makes up about 25% of our total calories and some Americans are closer to 40%. The big jump occurred in the 1970s when high fructose corn syrup (now it’s called corn sugar) was introduced into the food supply. Interestingly enough, diabetes began rapidly increasing the same exact month that HFCS became part of our diet. That’s pretty sad when we’re looking at projections of 1 out of 2 children will develop Type II Diabetes. In addition, one teaspoon suppresses our immune system for up to 4 hours. Hello, chronic inflammation!
In the 1990s, fat became nutrition enemy #1 and the fat-free industry exploded. What people didn’t realize is food manufacturers had to replace that missing fat with something we’d want and yes, you guessed it – it was sugar. As diabetes became more prevalent, America started looking for sugar free. So the next thing you know, the various artificial sweeteners (Splenda, Nutrasweet, etc.) popped up everywhere in upwards of 6,000 products! But you have to ask the question if it has zero sugar in it – how does it taste sweet? And how does your body know the difference?
Let’s look at how your body perceives it. Artificial sweeteners are over 200 times sweeter than real sugar, but because they are a chemical, your body doesn’t know the difference. So when you consume it, you produce a ton of insulin, but the sugar never arrives, so then your body triggers a response to store fat. This is why diet soda drinkers commonly weigh heavier than regular soda drinkers. In addition, artificial refined sugar affects the same area of the brain that heroine and cocaine do. Yep, you heard me right. This is why it is so addicting. Think about it – do you usually crave chicken or sweets? Why do people have withdrawal symptoms of headaches, irritability and intense cravings when they cut back on sugar? Hmmm… sounds pretty similar to me.
So if you’re reading to kick the sugar habit, I could recommend you reset your tastebuds and switch to only real sugar. Lick the sugar habit and only eat fruit as your source of sweet delicious goodness. Fruit contains fiber and amazing nutrients that our body knows just how to break down and utilize.
I know this is a lot to take in, so please do some research on your own of what ingredients are disguised as sugar. Also, remember that being free of an addiction like this is so vital to your long-term health. It didn’t happen overnight, so remember to be patient. Let me know if you need any help with this!
*The information on this site is designed for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any health problems or illnesses without consulting your pediatrician or family doctor. Thank you!
~by Kimberly Olson