The Youthful Body

Sugar: When Our Society Needs Rehab

Many of us love sugar. Why not when it’s sweet, good for the taste buds and it lifts our mood? However, nutritionists’ advice against using too much refined sugar. In fact, if it can be avoided at all, it is safer not to consume processed sugar. What many of us are unaware of is that […]

Sugar is poison.

Many of us love sugar. Why not when it’s sweet, good for the taste buds and it lifts our mood? However, nutritionists’ advice against using too much refined sugar. In fact, if it can be avoided at all, it is safer not to consume processed sugar.

What many of us are unaware of is that sugar is actually a drug and is considered to be the most dangerous and addictive substance in this modern time, according to Paul Van der Velpen – the Netherland’s head of Amsterdam’s health service. Furthermore, the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs said in their 2010 publication, “sugar releases euphoric endorphins in some people’s brains in a manner very similar to that of certain drugs which are commonly abused.”

Just how dangerous sugar is?

In Bordeaux, French scientists conducted animal trials to study and determine how addicting sugar could be. Using cocaine-buffed lab mice in the study, the subjects were exposed to both cocaine and sugar to find out which among the two substances will be chosen. The result was shocking! The lab mice that already developed addiction to cocaine chose sugar over the latter.

On the other hand, Nancy Appleton, PhD, a clinical nutritionist, has gathered a list of reasons as to why sugar is dangerous for the health. Aside from the high risk of developing diabetes and osteoporosis, sugar can also:

  • Cause ageing as it decreases the growth hormone,
  • Complement cancer,
  • Raise cholesterol levels,
  • Cause eyesight to deteriorate,
  • Lessen activity in children and can also cause drowsiness,
  • Obstruct protein absorption,
  • Cause food allergies,
  • Cause eczema in children,
  • Damage DNA structure,
  • Cause cardiovascular diseases,
  • Increase anxiety, crankiness, hyperactivity and difficulty in concentration in children
  • Reduce the body’s defences against bacterial infections, and
  • Aid the growth of Candida Albicans or yeast infections

Would eradicating sugar from the kitchen solve the problem?

Unfortunately, sugar is deeply entrenched in our regular food supply. The ready-to-eat cereals we buy for ourselves and our children, which we thought are safe and healthy, may contain high amounts of fructose and added sugar. Andy Burnham, the Shadow Secretary of State for Health, has called in and asked the politicians to ban children’s foods with high sugar content like Sugar Puffs and Frosties. Consumers are advised to do conscious buying and eating to avoid consuming too much refined sugar. In fact, cooking or baking at home is better because they can control the amount of sugar they put into the food, or they can substitute sugar with other natural sweeteners.

Fruits do contain fructose, more commonly called, fruit sugar. However, even if fructose makes the fruits taste sweet, there isn’t enough sugar content in fruits; although you have to regulate eating very sweet ones like grapes and melon. The real problem lies with sweeteners like honey, maple and corn syrup that contain more fructose than fruits. Processed sweeteners have more fructose added in them.

Raising Global Awareness On The Bad Effects of Sugar

Sugar addiction became an alarming condition worldwide as it is organically consumed by people from all walks of life. Dependency on sugar is as dangerous as dependency on alcohol, tobacco and drugs. But unlike these three, sugar is being consumed by everyone, including children, elderly and ill patients; thus health experts are trying to raise the awareness of consumers about the bad effects of sugar all throughout the world!

Public figures like Robert Lustig, the author of Fat Chance: The Bitter Truth About Sugar, also a paediatric endocrinology professor at the University of California, San Francisco; David Gillespie, a Brisbane-based attorney and the author of Sweet Poison and the new Sweet Poison Quit Plan; and actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who authors her own cookbook, talk about how damaging refined sugar is. Lustig warns that not all mosaccharides (simple sugar) are equal. In the light of developing Type 2 Diabetes, he explains that the total number of consumed calories is irrelevant. Rather, “it’s the specific calories that count.” When you consume 150 calories every day, your rate of diabetes will only increase to 0.1 per cent. However, if those calories come from a can or bottle of fizzy drink, your rate of diabetes will go up by 1.1 per cent. This shows that “sugar is 11 times more potent at causing diabetes than general calories.” At a microscopic level, it can be seen that the culprit is the fructose molecule in sugar.

Gillespie on the other hand has lost 6 stone – without dieting – just by stopping from consuming sugar. “You are breaking an addiction, so you need to stop consuming all sources of the addictive substance. They are all hard to give up because they are addictive – but they are all easy to give up once you understand what you are doing and why, according to Gillespie.” This is actually a good model and example, especially for those who are trying to lose weight.

Finally, Paltrow talks about the mood-altering effect of sugar, which in her blog she wrote, “Sugar gives you an initial high, then you crash, then you crave more, so you consume more sugar. It’s this series of highs and lows that provoke unnecessary stress on your adrenals. You get anxious, moody and eventually you feel exhausted.”

Breaking Sugar Addiction: What Are The Best Alternative To Sugar?

Fortunately, unlike drug addiction, sugar addiction can be easily remedied with a healthier lifestyle. However, the recovery still varies from one person to another. It takes time to train the taste buds and the whole body system to curtail, if not totally eradicate sugar in the diet. That being said, it is also important to understand that refined sugar isn’t the only sugar available as sweetener. There are natural sources of sugar, which is healthy for consumption.

  • Eat organic, raw fruits and vegetables. This is the first step in breaking sugar addiction. Fruits and vegetables are packed with natural sugars that can satisfy your cravings for sweets. Organic fruits and vegetables, aside from being safe to eat, they also taste sweeter. The complex carbohydrates that are found in fruits and vegetables break down slower than simple carbs; hence cravings are curtailed.
  • Eat whole grain bread instead of pastries. Pastries are truly sweet and delectable, but they contain tons of processed sugar that’s bad for the health. Eating pastries encourage sugar addiction; therefore must be avoided when trying to break free from sugar addiction. People who are transitioning from the standard diet that contains unnatural sugar can radically decrease cravings by eating a slice of homemade whole grain bread. You can drizzle use raw honey over bread.
  • Snack with trail mixes and raw nuts. If you don’t want to snack on fruits, raw nuts and seeds are great alternatives without compromising your sugar fasting. You can add trail mixes in your list of healthy snacks along with unsweetened dried fruits.

Other Healthy Alternative To Sugar

  • Coconut Sugar – this tastes like brown sugar, but somewhat richer.
  • Stevia – a herb which is amazingly 300 times sweeter than sugar.
  • Date Sugar – made from dried date fruits, grounded to produce the sugar.
  • Fruit Juices – not for coffee, but for baking (instead of using sugar).
  • Xylitol – five-carbon sugar extracted from fibrous fruits and vegetables, hardwood tress, and corn cobs.

As a final note, it is vital to understand that embarking on a sugar-free diet may not be very easy in the beginning. However, as you continue living with minimal sugar intake, your palate will adjust and become accustomed to the natural taste of food. After 2 or 3 weeks with less sugar, you will be able to break your addiction and can live without any craving for chocolates and other sweet foods.

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Aude Seynt Martin

Written by Aude Seynt Martin

Aude is an ex corporate Lawyer with a passion for health, self development and independence which lead her to give up her former career to help others through health.

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