Sugar is a name given to a class of edible crystalline carbohydrates, mainly sucrose, lactose, and fructose, characterized by a sweet flavour. In food sugar almost exclusively refers to sucrose, which in its fully refined form primarily comes from sugar cane and sugar beet, though is present in natural form in many carbohydrates.
Other refined sugars used in industrial food preparation are glucose, fructose or fruit sugar, high fructose corn syrup, dextrose, maple syrup, malt syrup, honey, etc.
Man has enjoyed sugar for a long time. Originally, even before 350 A.D., people chewed sugarcane raw to extract its sweetness. Later known as “the reed which gives honey without bees”, sugar has evolved throughout history at a rapid pace and turned into a billion making industry.
But, have we become addicted to the monster that is slowly killing us?
The American Dietetic Association and American Diabetic Association agree that sugar consumption is one of the three major causes of degenerative disease.
Cardiovascular disease and cancer were virtually unknown in the early 1900′s. In the last 20 years, we have increased sugar consumption from an average of 5 lbs. per person per year to about 135lbs per person per year!
But why do we find it so hard to give sugar up?
In a recent scientific study rats were induced to binge on sugar and found that they exhibited telltale signs of addiction withdrawal, including “the shakes” and changes in brain chemistry when the effects of the sweets were blocked. These signs are similar to those produced by drug withdrawal.
Sugar triggers production of the brain’s natural opioids. This is a key to the addiction process. The brain gets addicted to its own opioids as it would to morphine or heroin.
It is a proven fact that sugar increases our insulin levels, which can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain, and premature aging.
Sugar is also known to aggravate asthma, promote mental illness, anxiety, hyperactivity, mood swings, provoke personality changes, nourish nervous disorders, grow gallstones, cause arthritis, and all forms of cellular cancer.
– Sugar is more addictive than cocaine?
Did you know that refined sugar is far more addictive than cocaine? Research shows that an astonishing 94% of rats who were allowed to choose between sugar, water and cocaine, chose sugar.
Researchers speculate that the sweet receptors (two protein receptors located on our tongue), which evolved in ancestral times when our diets were very low in sugar, have not adapted to modern times’ high sugar consumption.
The abnormally high stimulation of these receptors by our sugar rich diets generates excessive reward signals in our brain, which have the potential to override normal self-control mechanisms, and lead to addiction.
– A diet high in sugar is shown to increase anti-social behaviour
Dr. Russell Blaylock (Neurosurgeon, author and lecturer) explains that high sugar content and starchy carbohydrates lead to excessive insulin release, which leads to falling blood sugar levels, or hypoglycaemia. This would cause our brain to secrete glutamate in levels that can cause agitation, depression, anger, anxiety, panic attacks and an increase in suicide risk.
A 1985 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that reducing sugar intake had a positive impact on emotions:
“… Subjects reported many symptoms and/or presented a distressed profile during baseline assessment. However, following a 2 week dietary change symptoms declined, and the MMPI or POMS profiles reflected a more stable and less distressed individual. Results suggest that a dietary change can remediate the emotional distress exhibited by some individuals…”
The dietary change consisted of a high protein, low carbohydrate diet void of sugar and caffeine.
– Our genes remember when we eat sugar
When we eat sugar, not only do our genes turn off controls designed to protect us from heart disease and diabetes, but the impact lasts for up to two weeks!
If we eat poorly for a long time our DNA may become permanently altered and the effects could be passed on to our children and grandchildren.
We are born with a set of genes, but the expression of those genes is not set in stone. Our genes can be either activated or silenced by various factors including our diet, and even our mind!
Emotions play a major role too.
So, whenever you feel the desire to binge on sugary or junk foods, it’s necessary that you have a system in place to help curb those cravings. Now you know why will power and self-control simply don’t work for most people! You need to start by consciously putting certain strategies in place.
Mind technologies such as NLP (Neuro-linguistic Programming), Hypnosis and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) have proven extremely successful in helping curb sugar cravings and in building up healthier eating habits.
When you eat the foods that are right for your biochemistry, it will push your body toward its ideal weight, and you’ll notice that food cravings largely subside. This is because you’re giving your body the fuel it needs, so you’ll feel satiated throughout the day and be far less tempted by sugary or greasy foods.
Remember that sugar is not only found in sweets, but also fruit, some salts, peanut butter, canned vegetables, bouillon cubes, medicines, toothpaste, vitamins… and almost all processed low fat or fat free products!
Ditch it and improve your physical and mental health.