Dr Weston talks today about sugar. It’s addictive, damaging, and one of the biggest culprits behind obesity, high cholesterol, and plenty of other health issues. Doesn’t matter if it is high fructose corn syrup or table sugar, either one is bad.
A very concerned patient called into the hospital and said, “I’m diabetic and I’m afraid I’ve had too much sugar today.” The nurse asked, “Are you light headed?” “No,” the caller answered, “I’m a brunette.” I think we’ll all agree she’s had too much sugar. Ralph Nader stated, “If God hadn’t intended for us to eat sugar, he wouldn’t have invented dentists.”
Clearly sugar is on our minds and even craved by many of us. One person asked a nutritional expert, “What’s the difference between white sugar and brown sugar?” The expert quickly said, “White sugar is white and brown sugar is brown.” A classic song from a beloved Walt Disney Movie makes the claim that “a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” There may be some truth to that in dealing with nasty tasting medicine, but my design is to try to keep you from having to take either. Contrary to what many food commercials may lead us to think, sugar is not a vitamin or a mineral.
Because of recent nutritional warnings, it seems that everyone is a bit paranoid about the negative effects of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in our foods, but table sugar is broken down by the body in the same way. Both have a large amount of fructose. In other words, fructose is fructose and the body can’t tell the difference between sources. It’s universally accepted that fructose is one of the major culprits behind the current epidemic of obesity.
Fructose can only be metabolized by the liver. When we consume too much, it takes a toll on that important organ in much the same way as alcohol. Chronic exposure to fructose leads to the same problems and diseases associated with too much alcohol. There’s tremendous negativity concerning alcoholism, but in reality there are many more sugaraholics, who are ultimately causing some of the same damage to their health and their body.
Multiple studies have shown that for many the sugar habit goes beyond just being a habit, and with some it approaches dependence and even addiction. It was found that it stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain, causing a release of dopamine just like drugs such as cocaine, alcohol, and tobacco. Thus it can cause the same vicious cycle that requires more and more consumption to experience the same feeling of pleasure. Then, if you stop consuming that sweet drug, you experience some ugly withdrawals.
Part of the problem is that it is so difficult to avoid consuming sugar because over 80% of processed foods contain fructose in some form and amount. It’s virtually everywhere, often hidden to avoid detection. To add to the dilemma, most of those who are addicted are also in denial. If you dare, ask yourself these questions:
- Do you crave sweets?
- When you take in some sugar, do you feel better for a while?
- Do you experience the craving at around the same time each day?
- Do you try to resist the temptation?
- When you do resist, how do you feel?
If you are completely honest with yourself, you may realize that you might have a sugar problem. Nobody is going to require that you go to a SA group meeting and stand up to admit, “Hi, I’m Steve and I’m a sugaraholic.” Here are some suggestions to help get your life back:
- Don’t buy processed foods, especially sweets. What you buy, you eat.
- Have lots of healthy snacks, like fruits and nuts, ready to reach for all the time.
- When you experience cravings, change your activity. Get busy, go for a walk, go jog, work in the garden, wash the car, or have an apple.
I know this doesn’t apply to you, you don’t have a problem. Well statistically speaking you do! But okay, then help a friend or family member get the sugar monkey off their back. Here’s the message. If you’re taking cocaine, stop! If you taking meth, stop! If you’re using alcohol, stop! If you’re using sugar, stop! You can do it, and your liver will thank you.