Updated: Feb 2, 2020
Anyone here ever been addicted to sugar? ME (raising hand!).
I was a sweet-tooth-girl. Lover of brownies and ice cream and everything in between. I didn't over-eat sweets, but I certainly was addicted. Have you ever had the feeling like you HAD to have that ice cream? Or HAD to head to your favorite ice cream shop? It's the power of refined sugar + what is happening in the brain.
It's not hard to see how much our nation is impacted by sugar. America is approaching 10% of people that have diabetes, which today is over 30 million people. Wow. I heard recently at a conference that the drug companies won't even be able to make enough insulin (made from modified versions from pigs) for all of these people. And 1/3 of the population has pre-diabetes, which is about 84 million. That conditions means blood sugars are higher than normal, but conditions can be reversed (as well as T2 diabetes). The average American consumes 150 pounds of added sugars each year. Yikes!
(It's important to note, too, that T1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease and is different from T2 diabetes. In T1 diabetes the pancreas produces little or no insulin. In T2 diabetes - the body doesn't make enough insulin anymore or it doesn't use it well. This means the glucose stays in the blood stream rather than being used by insulin to convert glucose into energy.)
But the good news is that we have the power to HEAL ourselves! We have the power to choose nourishment and minimize sugar. We have the power to CREATE health.
We have the power to choose nourishment -- and minimize or eliminate sugar -- which really can behave like cocaine and even be MORE addictive. You have the power to reverse where you are today and CREATE health. But you might be thinking -- well sugar isn't killing people like cocaine does. I might say that it IS. Think about the impact of diabetes - its staggering.
According to Dr. DiNicolantonio -- refined sugar is similar to cocaine -- a white crystal extracted from sugar cane rather than coca leaves -- and studies show it can be more addictive than the recreational drug. "When you look at animal studies comparing sugar to cocaine -- even when you get the rats hooked on IV cocaine, once you introduce sugar -- almost all of them switch to the sugar. Unfortunately, the neurological reward is working against us because we are ingesting much higher potency and dose than we used to.
Even when you get the rats hooked on IV cocaine, once you introduce sugar -- almost all of them switch to the sugar.
One has to eat a certain consumption threshold over a certain period of time to alter the brain's neurochemistry. Subsequently, people then have the dopamine depletion and sugar withdrawals.
When you eat sugar, your brain "lights up like a Christmas tree" due to the intense release of dopamine after acute ingestion. And then if injected chronically - the dopamine receptors down regulate -- less of them and less responsive -- which can lead to ADHD like symptoms or even a mild state of depression -- since dopamine is a reward neurotransmitter.
It's not that we all should never consume sugar -- but how can we limit our intake and greatly minimize it? Maybe rather than a blizzard or three cookies - we enjoy a piece of dark chocolate and get the benefits of cacao with minimal sugar. How do you minimize sugar? Are you reading labels and seeing how it sneaks into so many non-real-food items?
How do you FEEL when you eat sugar?
Oh and of course high fructose corn syrup is cheaper than sugar, which is why it is everywhere. Why is it cheaper to eat a candy bar full of chemicals than an organic apple? Why are we drawn to that quick hit of sugar? Because our brains are addicted. We have to re-wire our brains by our food choices.
Additionally, there are approximately 600,00 different food items sold in a typical grocery store of which approximately 80% of them have added sugar. This means we have to be very intentional when we shop at the Farmacy (the grocery store). Are you shopping real, whole foods that will leave you feeling great? Sugar hides in so many names -- be thoughtful of what you are reading on the labels.
Why do you choose to minimize sugar?
I do it to FEEL better and focus on super foods rather than a food that makes my brain only seek it out more. I do it to have a STRONG immune system that isn't tampered with effects of sugar. I do it since I know cancer lives on sugar - I want to prevent cancer. I do it because I love having a stable and joyful MOOD around food - one that doesn't swing or have strong cravings for sweets or chemicals. But there are SO many reasons one might opt out of sugar or greatly minimize it:
Sugar feeds nearly every disease process.
Consumption of sugar is linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, obesity, inflammation and dementia. It feeds nearly every disease process, particularly cancer and candida. Cancer cells love sugar, as do parasites. Yeast, and thus candida, as well as other detrimental bacteria thrive on sugar and acidity (which sugar also creates).
Sugar impacts your mood, sleep, complexion and fat storage.
If you are looking for ONE way to improve your health this year -- start with REAL foods! Because real foods aren't packed with refined sugar. And if you aren't ready for that full switch yet -- start reading those labels! Sugar hides in so many things and impacts our brain and bodies SO very much. It can greatly impact your day -- hellooooo sugar crash.
Empower yourself to break free from sugar, one step at a time. One choice at a time.
Remember that food is medicine, or it can cause disease. Empower yourself to break free from sugar -- one step at a time. Give yourself grace and right down what foods make you feel GOOD and which ones do not. See where sugar lands. And remember breaking free from something doesn't mean that you have to completely avoid it! In my daily routine and in my life - I've found that absolute rules may not work best for all. So for me, I just choose to minimize it!
Listen to your body. What are you feeling? Start there.