By Paul Scicluna, 4 February 2015
A lot has to be said for processed sugar - unfortunately most of it is not good news. Sugar is addictive. I’d say that there aren’t many people out there who are on a no sugar diet or at least consume minimal sugar. Good news is, there are healthier alternatives.
The cycle of sugar addiction has resulted in billions of people globally suffering obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, being overweight and more. Yet millions of dollars is still being invested by some companies to promote products, which contain this seemingly simple, yet unhealthy ingredient to induce a food addiction resulting in more sales, which is what they want.
It’s even got to the stage where sugar is produced in many forms via laboratories such as sorbitol, maltose, fructose corn syrup and dextran to name a few. Confusing? Yes. So this makes it even more difficult for you to determine what foods you should avoid if you’re trying to have a low sugar diet.
How many times have you been craving sweets, and then eaten a piece of chocolate and then stopped? In most cases you keep going back for more. So not only are you ingesting processed sugar and other chemicals flavors and additives, you’re also putting on the calories which can lead to you contracting the diseases I mentioned earlier.
It’s not only the foods that contain sugar either that are bad for you. Some soft drinks and sodas can have up to 12 teaspoons of sugar, not to mention the damaging preservatives. The sugar-free ones are even worse.
Research now shows that artificial sweeteners make you gain just as much if not more weight than normal sugar. The research has actually shown that artificial sweeteners worsen insulin sensitivity to a greater degree than sugar. Plus, they may actually double your risk of obesity.
Sugar addition is a vicious cycle and here’s how it works:
1. You consume sugar – Sugar has addictive properties making you crave it. The more you have the more you want.
2. Blood sugar spikes – Your brain releases dopamine helping to create the addiction. Your body releases insulin to drop blood sugar levels.
3. Your blood sugar levels fall rapidly – The increased insulin levels cause fat storage. Your body craves the sugar high.
4. Hunger and cravings – Your low blood sugar levels will cause increased appetite resulting in more cravings. This is where we go back to point 1 and the sugar addiction cycle begins again.
For example, if you are stressed you could start to have those sugar cravings. When an emotional situation such as this occurs, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which in turn can make you crave sugar. Then once you’ve had your fix of sugar the “feel-good” hormones are released. So your body and mind has been tricked into associating consuming sugar as a stress-reliever.
If you have sugar cravings then there are healthier alternatives for giving up sugar, including raw cacao beans, nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, sweet potato and spinach. Have a sugar detox by ditching the processed sugar and choose a healthier alternative. Let’s stop the sugar addiction - your body and health will be thankful for it.