Sugar is one of the leading addictive substances available today. Most of us are not even aware of how much sugar we consume on a daily basis. Many of us are addicted to sugar, and we don’t even know it.
One of the most eye-opening facts that I have learned recently is how closely sugar resembles drugs like cocaine and heroin.
The process of making sugar is very similar to the production of these two drugs.
Susan Pierce Thompson details the production of these drugs in her book, Bright Line Eating.
Cocaine comes from the coca leaf. By itself, it is not harmful. You can chew on the leaf and get a little stimulation similar to drinking a cup of coffee. Coca leaves are not addictive. But if you take the inner essence of the leaf, refine it and purify it into a fine powder…you have a drug. And it is highly addictive.
The process of producing heroin is similar. It comes from the poppy plant. What happens if you eat poppy plants all day? Nothing. It is not addictive. But when you take the inner essence of the plant, refine it, purify it into a fine powder…you have a drug. And it is highly addictive.
Now, let’s look at sugar. Most of our sugar comes from sugar cane, sugar beets or corn. I remember, when I was young, nibbling on sugar cane. It wasn’t really all that sweet, but kind of fun to chew. I eat beets in my salad sometimes, and I love corn. However, I never find myself craving any these foods.
But if you take the inner essence of sugar cane and beets, refine them and purify them into a fine powder, you have turned healthy foods into drugs. Corn turns into a thick syrup known as high-fructose corn syrup. And it is used to sweeten a myriad of products.
So, sugar is processed in a similar way to highly addictive drugs and it is easy to eat too much of it!
What Can We Do About This?
First of all, we have to become aware of what sugar is doing to our bodies and our brains. The first step is taking inventory of how much sugar you eat every day.
When I first started looking at my sugar consumption, I realized that by the time breakfast was over I had exceeded my recommended sugar for the day.
And I thought I was eating a healthy breakfast. I would start my day with Greek yogurt topped with granola and blueberries. Not bad, right? I would wash all that down with a cup of coffee sweetened with honey and hazelnut creamer.
By tracking what I ate (using an app called My Fitness Pal), I could immediately see that I was eating way too much sugar. And I had not even faced the temptation of walking by a bakery, seeing sweet treats in the grocery store or giving in to my afternoon desire for a cookie.
If you track your sugar intake you can see the reality of what you are consuming, and then choose to change it.
So first, choose the way you want to track how much sugar you eat. You can do like I did and use My Fitness Pal to scan in products as you buy them, or the good old-fashioned way of keeping a food journal. I like the app better because all of the calculations are done for you and it can be hard to remember and record every morsel you put in your mouth and then guesstimate how much sugar is in each food. I’m sure there are other applications on the market that work just as well.
Addicted to Sugar
Sugar changes the dopamine levels in our brains. That’s why we want sugar and need more and more to be satisfied.
But it is not a lost cause. Even though we feel like life is not worth living without sugar, that feeling will go away.
As you wean yourself off sugar, the dopamine levels in your brain will return to normal, and you will feel fine again. Actually, you will feel better than fine. You will feel awesome.
You will be on track to meet your weight loss goals, have more energy, better focus, be in a better mood, and you will be a happier person.
Sugar is sabotaging our health and weight loss effort.
It’s more than just a lack of willpower. Sugar has hijacked our brains. Our brains are telling us that we need sugar to be okay. But that’s not true.
It’s up to each one of us to take back control of our brains and our lives by first becoming aware of how much added sugar we are consuming.
It’s a crucial first step in learning to be happy, healthy and thin!