There is no difference between sweet substances and cocaine when it comes to the brain. I’m just going to throw this out there like the first ball of the baseball season…SUGAR IS A DRUG.
I know, you will probably make up every excuse as to why this statement isn’t true for you or your unique situation. You may even stop reading right now because you believe your justifications for the sweet stuff have validity. To me, the excuses are more like the annoying buzzing sound of a mosquito in that they prevent me from hearing any words of truth.
Sugar, regardless of form, is NOT A NUTRIENT. Your body does not need sugar. Period. What it requires to function is CARBOHYDRATES, which can be found in abundance in foods that are not sweet such as quinoa, millet, wild rice, whole oats and a rainbow of fresh whole vegetables.
Sugar is the number one reason why nearly 40 MILLION Americans are diabetic and just over 85 MILLION are diagnosed pre-diabetic. A mere 5% of the diabetic population is the one you are born with, Type I, where your body does not produce insulin. That leaves 95% of all cases being labeled as SELF-INFLICTED SLOW SUICIDE.
I know that is harsh, but as a wise man once told me, you can sprinkle glitter on a turd and it’s still a turd. Diabetes, type II, is preventable, so sprinkling glitter on it doesn’t lessen its stink.
People with diabetes cost the country just under $300 BILLION each year in lost wages, medicines, procedures and health care.
People with diabetes have a 50% higher risk of DEATH than those who do not have this preventable disease.
It all comes down to SUGAR.
Sugar is hidden in EVERYTHING, especially prepackaged foods. Here is a list of some of the names of sugar in your food: Honey, turbinado, organic sugar, raw sugar, agave syrup, maple syrup, stevia, fruit juice, cane sugar, fruit sugar, anhydrous dextrose, brown sugar, cane crystals, corn syrup, corn syrup solids, crystal dextrose, evaporated cane juice, fructose sweetener, fruit juice concentrates, high-fructose corn syrup, liquid fructose, malt syrup, molasses, pancake syrup, sugar, syrup, white sugar, fructose, lactose, maltose, sugar alcohol, carbitol, concentrated fruit juice, corn sweetener, diglycerides, disaccharides, erythritol, Florida crystals, fructooligosaccharides, galactose, glucitol, glucoamine, hexitol, inversol, isomalt, maltodextrin, malted barley, malts, mannitol, nectars, pentose, raisin syrup, ribose rice syrup, rice malt, rice syrup solids, sorbitol, sorghum, sucanat, sucanet, xylitol and zylose.
It’s all sugar and all UNNECESSARY.
Sugar and sugar substitutes (artificial sweeteners) have a more serious NEGATIVE role in that they create an addiction response in our brain by creating an overwhelming dopamine response. There is no neurological difference between a tsp of honey and an equivalent amount of stevia or sucralose.
For those who aren’t sure what dopamine is:
The chemical in our body that makes us “feel good”. Dopamine is responsible for the positive feeling we get when we have positive experiences, have good sex, win a race or eat a good meal.
EXCESS of anything such as drugs, sex, gambling, gaming, alcohol and even sugar cause the dopamine receptors to fire out of control and lead to that “HIGH” feeling that addicts receive. The problem with addictive behaviors and substances is that you need more and more of it to feel good and that NEED overrides rationality and the understanding of consequences involved in the addiction.
Addiction to anything results in negative consequences. For alcoholics, this means losing their job, financial stability, health issues and even family structure and relationships. For gamblers/gamers, this may be loss of finances, family, home, car and even life. For drug addicts, this can mean serious health issues, loss of homes, committing additional crimes to obtain money to buy drugs and even federal criminal status. For the sugar addict, this means cravings, out of control eating patterns, issues in losing or maintaining a healthy weight and health issues.
The “excess” indulgence in these things changes the brain, the body and creates an adaptation that prevents healthy behavioral, psychological and biological responses. Basically, the more you do, the more you need to get your “HIGH” and less responsible and rational decisions you will make regarding life, health, relationships and other important things.
Even in brain scans, the brain stimulated by sugar looks exactly the same as the one stimulated by cocaine.
If you are looking to change your health, lose weight, lose body fat and rid yourself of disease, giving up your addiction to sugar is very important. For the general population, this means PAYING ATTENTION to the ingredients of your food labels, which is where sugar is often hidden and fiber is often non-existent.
For the SUGARHOLIC (the individual who is addicted to the sweet) who has no intention of tackling their addiction, there are maximum levels of sugar consumption deemed “safe” by the powers that be. This maximum applies to any sweet stuff, whether a sugar substitute, real sugar or artificial sweetener.
For WOMEN, the maximum sugar (or equivalent) you should consume each day is 6 teaspoons/24 grams (or 2 tablespoons).
For MEN, the maximum is 9 teaspoons/36 grams (or 3 tablespoons). This includes artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes as well.
To put this into real life situations:
Miniature candy bar has 3.5 g of sugar (approx. 1 tsp of sugar)
Sugar free candy contains artificial sweeteners and should not be consumed in greater amounts than the maximum for regular sugar.
A cup of pasta sauce has about 10 g of sugar ( 3 + tsp)
A snicker’s bar has about 27 g of sugar (6 + tsp)
Superfood drinks can have 32 g of sugar (8 tsp)
Instant flavored or fruit/nut added oatmeal can have 35 g of sugar (8 + tsp)
A muffin can have 40 g of sugar (10 tsp)
Yogurt can have 28 g of sugar (7 tsp)
Small size healthy smoothies can have 60 g of sugar (15 tsp)
IHOP whole wheat pancakes with bananas and no syrup have 32 g of sugar (8 tsp)
Just one post workout fitness smoothie from your favorite location has more than 10 times the MAXIMUM daily sugar intake and the list goes on and on.
One popular justification on sugar is ALCOHOL. Unsweet alcohol has smaller levels of sugar (alcohol sugar), which is still a sugar and has a double negative impact on the brain because the alcohol itself is a poison and it contains alcohol sugar, a sugar substitute. Whiskey, wine, beer and other alcohols all contain around .5-1.5g of alcohol sugar per serving (1oz for hard alcohol and wine and beer is around 5oz). Alcohol mixers, such as Pina Colada, margarita and fruit juices are seriously high in sugar.
Bottle of beer has the least amount of “sugar” and light beer has slightly more.
Gin and tonic has about 4 tsp of sugar
Small Pina Colada has about 8 tsp of sugar
Cranberry and vodka has about 7 tsp of sugar
Unsweet wine has less than ¼ tsp of sugar
Just remember alcohol is a poison for the body and puts high stress on the LIVER. For people with an already taxed liver, caused by eating poorly, medications, and unnecessary supplementation, alcohol can have significantly negative impacts on the body.
In short, you do not need sugar.
If you feel you need sweets, eat fresh whole fruits so that you have the necessary fiber to balance them out and obtain all the nutrients. Don’t assume sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners are any better for you. Don’t assume fruit juice, dried fruit, fruit concentrates or fruit sugars are healthy options. Don’t assume unsweetened alcohol is OK.
Given the fact that sugars are found in almost all foods that are carbohydrates, one good mathematical equation you can use is for every gram of FIBER in your food, whether natural or added, you can subtract one gram of sugar you consume.
There is a reason why the rate of obesity has significantly increased since the introduction of sugar-substitutes and sugar-free packaged foods.
The bottom line….if you desire optimal health or weight loss, GIVE UP THE SWEETS.