A conversation last night led me to the need to share this info today. We all love sweet treats right? The problem that I think most of us know, is that sugar is very addictive…we want more and more. Are you addicted?
I’ve shared before that it’s like crack cocaine…that’s how addictive it can be for some. If you’ve ever been addicted to something and try to leave it, what happens?
We become cranky, we crave it more, we obsess about it, often times to the point where we cave and feed the need.
This then follows by a feeling of bliss, then feelings of being ashamed to have failed at our resolve and then if you had the high of the chocolate or treat, you crash and the cycle starts all over again.
Just me writing this, has me thinking about dark chocolate and my love/hate relationship with it. Can you relate?
You might be asking…what’s wrong with sugar anyway?
For one, it’s empty food that replaces the nutrient-dense foods that our bodies crave and need for optimal health.
- In 1700 the average sugar consumption of sugar was only four pounds per person per year.
- In 1800 consumption was eighteen pounds per year.
- In 1900 consumption was ninety pounds per year.
- Today consumption is around one hundred eighty pounds per person per year or about one-half pound (one cup) per day.
- Most of the increase since 1975 has been in the form of high fructose corn syrup.
Ironically, the increase in sugar consumption has also shown a dramatic increase in chronic diseases and the obesity rate is out of control.
- 1890 the US Obesity rate for white males was 3.4 percent
- 1975 the rate of the entire population was 15 percent
- Today the rate is 32 percent and climbing
Let’s focus on our children for a minute. A sugar-diet is particularly harmful for children as it is often replacing nutrient-dense foods like meat, butter, eggs and cheese, which children need for optimum growth. High sugar consumption during childhood sets children up for serious diseases in adulthood, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and depression.
In addition to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and diabetes, many other diseases and adverse health effects are caused by sugar, such as:
- ADHD, Hyperactivity
- Adrenal gland fatigue
- Allergies, asthma
- Alterations of “feel good” neurotransmitters (dopamine, GABA, endorphins, serotonin)
- Brain fog
- Cardiovascular disease
- Candida overgrowth
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Compromised wound healing
- Dental cavities
- Erectile dysfunction
- Fatty liver disease (NASH)
- High blood pressure
- High insulin levels
- High triglyceride levels
- High uric acid levels (an independent risk factor for heart disease)
- Increased stomach acidity
- Kidney disease
- Metabolic syndrome (a group of symptoms, obesity, high HTL, hypertension, low HDL and high fasting blood sugar)
- Obesity and rubber tire syndrome
- Pancreatic stress
- Poor sleep
- Premature aging
- Reduced immunity, frequent infections
Industrial sweeteners to avoid and are identified as the following:
High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) (worse than sugar – rats on high-fructose diets end up with livers like those of alcoholics and do not reproduce).
Agave (made in the same way as HFCS, contains up to 90% manufactured fructose)
Processed Fruit Juices
Aspartame (Nutra-Sweet and Equal)
Others: Corn syrup, fructose, dextrose, glucose, brown rice syrup, imitation syrups, heated honey, stevia extract, maltodextrin and sugar alcohols (xylitol, mannitol, erythritol, sorbitol)
Some natural sweeteners, used in strict moderation are much healthier choices and when making sweet treats, made with healthy fats like butter, coconut oil, lard, egg yolks, cream and nuts.
- Maple syrup
- Maple sugar
- Raw honey, unfiltered
- Green stevia leaves and powder
- Dehydrated sugar cane juice (Rapadura or Sucanat)
- Coconut, palm or date sugar
- Sorghum syrup
- Malt syrups (barley) – may contain gluten
As I mentioned above, sugar cravings are very real and with sugar being addictive, hard to give up. Some suggested tips that have worked for many are:
- Eating 3 meals a day with animal protein and plenty of healthy natural fats, like butter, eggs yolks, cream and meat fats.
- Not skipping breakfast and having animal protein and fats
- If you have in between meal hunger, snack on something fatty and salty, like nuts, cheese or salami
- Don’t shop when hungry as this leads to unwanted purchases and don’t keep sweets at home or the office.
- Drinking kombucha (fermented tea) is a great alternative to pop or soda
- For the occasional sweet treat, make homemade treats with the natural sweeteners recommended above and include natural healthy fats like butter, cream, coconut oil, egg yolks and nuts.
- A homeopathic remedy called Argentum nitricum can be really helpful for people with strong sugar cravings.
Sugar is a very real problem and hopefully this information can be taken with a grain of salt and lead to life changes. I know the journey might be a little bumpy, but with some real desire for positive change, it can be accomplished and celebrated.
Just think how much better you are going to feel, how much more energy and if you are suffering from chronic illness, how many meds you may get off of.
What’s been your experience with sugar addictions and how have you slayed the dragon?
To your health,
Holistic Wellness Mentor