Word is slowly spreading about the link between high-sugar diets and poor gut health, inflammation, psychological issues and hormonal problems. And that’s just the beginning. However, we need to talk about it more and often. After all, sugar isn’t called the most dangerous drug of our time for nothing.
It’s not just rotting teeth and obesity you’re risking; the real toll of too much processed sugar ranges from dementia to liver damage, to depression to premature aging.
Research coming out of some of America’s most respected institutions now confirms that processed sugar is a primary dietary factor driving chronic disease development. So far, scientific studies have linked excessive sugar consumption to dozens of different diseases and health problems, including heart disease and cancer.
“The facts are in, the science is beyond question. Sugar in all its forms is the root cause of our obesity epidemic and most of the chronic diseases sucking the life out of our citizens, our economy, and, increasingly, the rest of the world. You name it, it’s caused by sugar: heart disease, cancer, dementia, type-2 diabetes, depression, and even acne, infertility, and impotence.” Mark Hyman, MD
This dangerous substance isn’t just found in your deserts and sugar shaker- sugar is in places you’ll never imagine, like your peanut-butter, bread, sauces and yogurt; in fact, the average American eats 152 pounds of sugar a year!
80% of food items in U.S. grocery stores are spiked with added sugar. Packaged, processed foods are usually not good for us. Eating real food is the way to health, and we should never believe health claims on packages. Real food does not come with ingredient lists.
Ditching dessert isn’t going to do the trick; restaurants sneak sugar into savory dishes to amplify taste, keeping you hooked.
We need to start talking about how our food supply is making many of us sick. We would all like to think that we have free choice about what we eat. We’d like to believe that by being a savvy shopper and having willpower—by counting calories, avoiding junk food, working out at the gym—we can control our weight and prevent disease. But we’ve got to start questioning that assumption.
Sugar can be addictive for a lot of people. Sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine. Like abusive drugs, sugar causes a release of dopamine in the reward center of the brain. The problem with sugar and many junk foods is that they can cause massive dopamine release… much more than we were ever exposed to from foods found in nature. For this reason, people who have a susceptibility to addiction can become strongly addicted to sugar and other junk foods. The “everything in moderation” message may be a bad idea for people who are addicted to junk food… because the only thing that works for true addiction is abstinence.
The #1 killer in the world is heart disease. For decades saturated fat was blamed for heart disease. New studies are showing that saturated fat is harmless. However… new studies are showing that saturated fat is harmless. The evidence is mounting that sugar, NOT fat, may be one of the leading drivers of heart disease. Studies show that large amounts of fructose can raise triglycerides, small, dense LDL and oxidized LDL (very, very bad), raise blood glucose and insulin levels and increase abdominal obesity… in as little as 10 weeks.
Multiple studies show that people who eat a lot of sugar with constantly high insulin levels are at higher risk of inflammation and cancer. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
Cancer cells are glucose metabolizers. Their only source of fuel for survival is SUGAR since their mitochondria are damaged. Based on continuous research, it is clear that sugar feeds cancer.
Sugar-rich and carb-laden foods can also mess with the neurotransmitters that help keep our moods stable. Consuming sugar stimulates the release of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter serotonin. Constantly over-activating these serotonin pathways can deplete our limited supplies of the neurotransmitter, which can contribute to symptoms of depression.
Chronically high blood sugar levels have also been linked to inflammation in the brain. And as some research has suggested, neuroinflammation may be one possible cause of depression.
A lifetime of overdoing it on sugar may eventually show up on your face in the form of early wrinkles. Translation? A sugar-rich diet, day in and day out, causes accelerated aging.
The culprit is the natural process called glycation, where sugar in your bloodstream attaches to proteins to form harmful new molecules called advanced glycation end products, known in short, ironically, as AGEs.
As you eat more sugar like the tablespoons you dump into your coffee every morning, or secret sugars hiding out in “healthy” salad dressing and sweeter-than-candy-bar yogurt—AGEs build up and beat up nearby proteins. “Most vulnerable to damage are the protein fibers collagen and elastin, which keep skin firm and elastic,” Alexander writes in The Sugar Smart Diet. “Once they’re damaged, these fibers go from springy and resilient to dry and brittle, leading to wrinkles and sagging. These age-related changes to the skin start at about age 35 and increase rapidly after that”, according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.”
According to the American Dietetic and Diabetic Association increased sugar consumption is the leading cause of degenerative disease —aging, getting old before your time!
Detox From Sugar
Go cold turkey. There is no way to handle a true physiological addiction except to stop it completely. Addicts can’t have just one line of cocaine or just one drink. You must stop for your brain to reset. Eliminate refined sugars, sodas, fruit juices, and artificial sweeteners from your diet. These are all drugs that will fuel cravings.
Make fruit your dessert. To satisfy your sweet tooth, opt for fresh fruit for dessert instead of sugary indulgences. If you buy canned fruit, choose fruit packed in its own juice or water, instead of syrup.
Sip smarter. Avoid sodas and sweetened drinks. One 12 ounce can of soda equals 10 teaspoons of sugar. Choose water, sparkling water with fresh lemon or lime or unsweetened tea.
Spice it up! Try ginger, allspice, cinnamon or nutmeg to sweeten your food instead of sugar.
Read labels. When you read food labels remember 4G of sugar equals 1 teaspoon. Adults consume about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. Experts recommend women limit their sugar to 5 teaspoons a day and men 9 teaspoons a day. Children consume even more, 34 teaspoons a day and should have no more than 4 teaspoons a day.
Be sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Research shows that lack of sleep increases cravings.
Balance your blood sugar: Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. To keep your blood sugar stable eat a nutritious breakfast with some protein like eggs, protein shakes, or nut butters. Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss. You may also need to eat smaller meals throughout the day. Eat every 3-4 hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats).
Eat regularly. For many people, if they don’t eat regularly, their blood sugar levels drop, they feel hungry and are more likely to crave sweet sugary snacks.
Get it Out of Your House. Just take the temptation away. Clean out your pantry and fridge and throw away all sugary products, or give them to someone you dont like — just kidding! Replace the shelves with other quick and easy snacks to chew on: fresh fruit, raw almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and all natural fruit leather.
Take a good-quality multivitamin and mineral supplement, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D3. Nutrient deficiencies can make cravings worse and the fewer nutrient deficiencies, the fewer cravings. Certain nutrients seem to improve blood sugar control including chromium, vitamin B3 and magnesium.
Move your body. Exercise, dance or do some yoga. Whatever movement you enjoy will help reduce tension, boost your energy and decrease your need for a sugar lift.
Distract yourself. Go for a walk, if possible, in nature. Cravings usually last for 10-20 minutes maximum. If you can distract yourself with something else, it often passes. The more you do this, the easier it gets and the cravings get easier to deal with.
Drink lots of water. Sometimes drinking water or seltzer water can help with the sugar cravings. Also sometimes what we perceive as a food craving is really thirst.
Choose whole foods. The closer a food is to its original form, the less processed sugar it will contain. Food in its natural form, including fruits and vegetables, usually presents no metabolic problems for a normal body, especially when consumed in variety.
Don’t substitute artificial sweeteners for sugar. This will do little to alter your desire for sweets. If you do need a sweetener, try Stevia, it’s the healthiest. Even though it starts out as an herb with sweet green leaves, by the time you get it as an extract or white powder it is highly processed and resembles nothing of the original herb.
Learn to make homemade meals and snacks. Look for low-carb and sugar-free recipes. Make a week of menus and a grocery list. Shop once a week and have a food prep day to prepackage lunches and snacks. You will save time and money and be in control of the amount of sugar in your meals. Preparation and organization is the key for success in this life change.
Health Improvements You May See
Cut sugar out of your diet and you may also reduce; acid reflux, irritable bowel, fatigue, migraine headaches, anxiety and stress, joint pain and rashes.
You have the power to heal yourself, it is your birthright. And it is my mission to help you learn the many ways available to you.