Is sugar killing us?
This isn’t (really) a rant about sugar because let’s face it you’ve heard it all before. You are well aware that too much sugar makes you fat and has ominous links to type 2 diabetes. You know the facts, so I’m not going to patronise you with a concoction of sensationalist stats. There is one question I need to ask though, it’s nothing special, but it is important ‘are you addicted to sugar?’ Take a minute, think about it. Addiction is when you cannot control a behaviour or action, can you control how much sugar you eat?
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SUGAR ADDICTION?
Firstly you aren’t alone; sugar addiction is probably more common than alcoholism, drug addiction and gambling. Why? Simple, sugar is everywhere, not just in your cup of tea, cake, biscuit or can of coke. Sugar has sneaked its way into the most unlikely of foods such as soups, bread and even ketchup. Secondly sugar acts in the same way as certain illegal drugs.
At least if we are as closely related to our cousin the rat as scientists seem to believe. Researchers showed that a whopping 94% of rats preferred the taste of sugar and sweeteners to cocaine. Food addiction is plausible because brain pathways respond to sugar in the same way as addictive drugs act.
[hcshort id=”6″] Toxic Sugar?
Thirdly sugar is toxic; by now you are probably beginning to see the bigger picture. Sugar is addictive and like any addictive substance it is toxic. The reaction mightn’t be as obvious as what comes with a cocaine overdose, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of “it’s only sugar”, overtime excess sugar consumption is deadly. Teeth decay, diabetes, bad skin, nutrient deficiencies, obesity all come hand in hand with sugar addiction.
WHO ARE THE PUSHERS?
If sugar is addictive who are the pushers? Stop reading now if you are worried about the answer. It’s you, it’s your partner, it’s the kids, it’s the food industry – it’s anyone who feeds your sugar habit! Everyone who knows you, who knows that you are overweight or struggling with type 2 diabetes is responsible for helping you to keep away from sugar rather than feed your habit.
A drug addict is locked in a room, an alcoholic goes to a clinic, yet a sugar addict cannot avoid their addictive substance. This lack of industry support, lack of societal support is not to be underestimated. It takes a very strong reserve to kick a sugar habit. Having worked with many people who struggle with severe sugar cravings, I have come across some sure-fire ways of battling sugar addiction. Take every hour one step at a time.
[hcshort id=”6″] Is Sugar Toxic?
Feature from 60 Minutes news program, April 1, 2012
Start by giving up sugar today – just today. Focus on tomorrow when it comes. Give up sugar. This sounds harsh but like any other drug, you can’t just cut back if you are truly addicted, it’s all or nothing. Getting the taste is just a tease and will bring back all those feelings that come with a sugar hit. Ditch white bread. It has a high Gi which means it’s quickly broken down and digested. It won’t be long before you start getting cravings. Instead go for wholegrains, they are much more satisfying.
Beef up protein. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates so including a little protein in every meal will keep you feeling fuller and cravings at bay. Fulfil your life. It’s difficult to give up something you love without replacing it with something else.
Sugar is a crutch for many people, if you give it up, focus on something else that will cheer you up whether that is exercise or watching your favourite soap. Naturally sweeten up. Berries, and spices like cinnamon and nutmeg will sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.
Eat 3 meals per day. Eat little and often. 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 support. Tell your family and friends that you are off sugar, so when they call around they aren’t weighed down with cakes and biscuits.
By Catherine Matthews Catherine Matthews, Senior Nutritionist I am currently the senior nutritionist at Tesco Diets UK.
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