It’s hard to believe that until recently sugar was practically nonexistent in our diet. And that was how nature intended it to be!
Scientists now believe that the sweet receptors on the tongue evolved in ancestral times when the caveman’s diet was low in sugar. The problem? We have not adapted to the modern world’s need for the high consumption of sugar.
So how did sugar become such an integral part of our diet? The Arabs introduced sugar to the Europeans, and Britain introduced it to the American colonies in 1619.
England, France and Portugal were already in full sugar production mode by this time. However, America might have been late to the party, but we sure made up for lost time. Sugar became the cure all for many health conditions with medical practitioners claiming that it cleansed the blood.
By 1790, Americans consumed 8 pounds of the white stuff a year. That pales in comparison to today’s consumption of 130 pounds per person.
Sugar and Addiction
A recent research study on sugar and addiction found that rats actually preferred sugar over cocaine 94% of the time. Even the cocaine addicted rats quickly switched their addiction preference to sugar. If that doesn’t scare you I don’t know what will!
Instead of filling our tanks with clean burning fuel that makes our bodies energetic and slim, we feed it junk and call it food. The result? An increase in insulin levels, which can lead to:
- Weight gain/Obesity
- Heart Disease
- Premature Aging
- High Blood Pressure
- High levels of bad cholesterol
The Chemistry of Sugar Addiction
You might find this hard to believe but sugar addiction is a biological disorder, not an emotional one. Your addiction is driven by hormones and neurotransmitters that fuel carb and sugar cravings.
The result is an uncontrolled desire to overeat. If you don’t believe it, take a look around you. Obesity is everywhere. Sadly, 70% of adults and 40% of kids in this country are overweight.
Harvard’s study on sugar found that a high sugar milkshake spiked blood sugar and insulin, which caused sugar cravings. Worse, sugar causes huge changes in the brain, lighting up its addiction center. The more you eat, the more you need to satisfy your craving.
The Problem With Cutting Back On Sugar
The problem with cutting back on sugar is that, like any other drug, it hijacks your brain making it incredibly difficult to stop. That’s bad enough. Then there’s the societal influence.
I grew up in a southern culture; sugar was the centerpiece for every meal. In fact, no meal was ever complete without a rich, sugary dessert. From breakfast to dinner to bedtime snack, sugar controlled my world. (And sugar was added to vegetables to “perk up the flavor.”)
When I learned how deadly sugar was I tried to share this revelation with my family, only to receive scorn. “Your body needs sugar,” my mother said. Why, yes it does, but it doesn’t need refined sugar.
“It’s just a piece of cake.” You can see the power of sugar’s grip in the eyes of Aunt Mary, Uncle Bob and your sister, who thinks you’re a health nut. To me, this is the very worst part of trying to kick the addiction.
It’s easy to feel like that Donald Sutherland character in the movie, Invasion of The Body Snatchers. You’re damn sure that all the good people you know have been replaced with aliens bent on the destruction of the human race.
Bottom line: It’s hard enough to get off the sugar train, but when you have little support for it, it’s worse!
So, is it hopeless? Nah! I’ll give you some tips in the next post to ease you through the jungle of sugar addiction.