I can tell you sugar addiction is real because studies have shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
But I can also tell you that it is real because my father is diabetic and I have seen the effects of this first hand all the way to his eye site fading consistently and the cane he had to use just to walk because of his diabetes along with many other side effects.
My father has also seen improvement when he eats correctly including regaining his vision which I didn’t know was possible. However my father is addicted to sugar. He knows whats good for him yet I still find diet coke and candy wrappers all over his house. When he was living with me he would hide soda and cookies.
He has told me, “Nicole I can’t stop eating sugar, I am addicted to sugar help me stop.” He also told me that if I could help people fight this addiction I would save lives. I can say it a million times I believe the secret to curing disease is in what we eat and educating our children on eating real, quality food. This will absolutely save lives and I’ll start with sugar because it is the little substance causing the most havoc on the human body.
How do we know sugar is addictive?
There are 5 things when look for in addictive substances and sugar meets all 5.
- Despite negative consequences or the desire to give it up, the consumer eats it compulsively
- Neurotransmitters in the brain, like dopamine and serotonin, are impacted in the same manner as alcohol and hard drugs like cocaine.
- With continued use, tolerance occurs and sugar consumption must be increased to achieve the same experience
- Over time, sugar is required for normal functioning
- Withdrawal occurs when sugar consumption ceases
WHAT IS SUGAR?
Here’s a quick science lesson on sugar
Sugars are carbohydrates, composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Sugars come in a variety of forms which can be confusing at times, however their chemical structure is easily distinguished. The main structures are monosaccharides, disaccharides, and polysaccharides.
Monosaccahrides: simple sugars and include glucose (also known as dextrose), fructose, and galactose. As the simplest form of sugar they are basically the building blocks for disaccharides and polysaccharides. You’ll find them in molasses as glucose, cherries as fructose and yogurt as galactose.
Disaccharides: also simple sugars and occur as a result of two monosaccharides combining. They include sucrose, lactose, and maltose. An easy example is cane (granulated) sugar.
Polysaccharides: commonly known as complex carbohydrates (complex sugars). They are a combination of several monosaccharides and include starch and glycogen. An easy example would be bread or starch.
Your body will breakdown sugars into fructose and glucose.
Fructose: Naturally occurs in many plants like fruits and vegetables. It can also be found in natural forms of added sugars such as honey, molasses, and maple syrup. In more processed forms, it can be consumed as agave nectar and crystalline fructose.
Glucose: The bodies primary source of energy. The body breaks down carbohydrates to glucose and uses it for energy. Glucose can also be created from protein or fat by the liver and kidneys.
WHEN FRUCTOSE IS COMBINED WITH GLUCOSE, IT CREATES SUCROSE AND HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP.
The body metabolizes Fructose and Glucose very differently.
Glucose triggers the release of leptin and insulin, (key hormones that control appetite and satiation) signaling to the brain that you are full. Fructose DOES NOT trigger leptin and insulin so you continue to crave more.
80% of Glucose is used by cells and only 20% is stored as glycogen for later use.
Fructose is converted into glycerol. the main component of triglycerides, promoting fat formation.
80% of Glucose is absorbed by the intestines and 20% is processed by the liver.
100% of Fructose is immediately metabolized and processed by the liver creating the “SUGAR HIGH”, increasing the toxic load. The increased storage of fat in the liver can result in non-alcoholic liver disease, digestive upset and atherosclerosis.
Let’s talk sugar and cancer and I’m not just talking artificial sweeteners and cancer but real sugar.
So we all are pretty aware that sugar is linked to diabetes and obesity. But how many of use think sugar and cancer.
We know too much sugar increases insulin and in time destroys insulin receptor sites causing type 2 diabetes. “In time” no longer means when you become an adult either. We consume so much sugar that this is already happening to our children along with many other diseases that children shouldn’t be worrying about.
So how does sugar cause cancer? Well too much sugar in the intestine causes the release of a hormone called GIP that enhances insulin release by the pancreas. The secretion of GIP is controlled by a protein called S-Catenin which is strictly dependent on sugar levels. S-Catenin causes cells to replicate and become immortal which essentially turns them into cancerous cells.
The scariest part of this is that people with diabetes have a much higher chance of also getting cancer.
Should We Avoid Sugar?
Sugar in moderation including fruits and some vegetables are not the problem. They can actually contribute to our well being since they do provide us with energy. It’s the added sugars especially the chemically altered sugars that are still labeled as natural.
In fact one of the easiest ways to cut back on sugar is to cut back on processed foods.
Some of the side effects to over use of sugars can include tooth decay, diabetes, obesity, certain types of cancer and heart disease to name a few.
What are the best sweeteners?
My favorites are stevia and coconut sugar, but have used and love all the options Dr. Axe lists in his top 10 natural sweeteners article. You can click the picture to go directly to the article.
I also have a tendency to just eat foods that are naturally sweet. I’ll add blueberries to my oatmeal instead of sugar, or strawberries to a smoothie for added flavor not to mention the antioxidants theses berries provide.
You’ll find that I refer to Dr. Axe quite often so let me quickly mention how I heard of him and why I trust the information he provides.
I was doing research on essential oils for skin care and stumbled upon a video of his on you tube. I also saw him doing the heal your gut summit with Donna Gates who happened to do one of my lectures in school. Dr. Axe is a chiropractor, (which I have 8 of in my family including my mother and grandfather) he also believes food is medicine which I have been saying for a very long time and grew up understanding. All the information he provides is done so in a way to make it simple to understand.
Sugar molecules end in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
Juice concentrates are sugar.
Sugar-Free – less than 0.5 g of sugar per serving
Reduced Sugar or Less Sugar – at least 25 percent less sugars per serving compared to a standard serving size of the traditional variety
No Added Sugars or Without Added Sugars – no sugars or sugar-containing ingredient such as juice or dry fruit is added during processing
Low Sugar – not defined or allowed as a claim on food labels
ALWAYS REMEMBER! Sweeteners are not real sugar they are a chemical creation made to substitute sugar.
They can be added to products so that they can still label them SUGAR-FREE, REDUCED SUGAR, etc. Yet are more dangerous than eating the product with full natural sugar.
Artificial Sweetener Talk
I mentioned leptin when discussing Fructose and Glucose and the importance of satiation so that your body knows its full and stops eating.
Well artificial sweeteners provide NO satiation so you will eat more and of course gain weight which only leads to other health risks.
Artificial sweeteners are also much sweeter than natural sugars causing an addiction to overly sweet foods!
Most people gravitate towards artificial sweeteners because they are calorie free which of course sounds great on paper. However I can assure you that the side effects are far worst than the low calories.
So lets name a few side effects of artificial sweeteners (if you do a small amount of research I’m sure you’ll find this is a very small list):
Hyperactivity in Children
Impairment of liver and kidney functions
Shrunken Thymus gland
Just to mention a few….
I can’t talk sugar with out talking about Candida
One of the most common infections people have is a fungus called candida also known as a yeast infection. This is when unfriendly yeast bacteria take over our intestinal track, producing toxins that gradually make us sicker and sicker. Candida eats sugar.