How Eating Too Much Sugar Damages Your Health (And Your Life)
Few people realize that sugar is directly responsible for many of their health problems and chronic disorders. Sugar contributes to obesity, Type 2 diabetes, dental caries and gum decay, metabolic syndrome and increases your risk of heart disease. There is also growing evidence that sugar “feeds” cancer cells.
Even fewer people realize that sugar is addicting, as addicting as cocaine, until they try to eliminate sugar from their diet. When your blood sugar is low, your brain releases hormones that cause sugar cravings, you are convinced that you MUST have something sweet. So you grab a cookie, candy or a sweet drink and the sugar it contains is rapidly absorbed from your stomach into your bloodstream. This sugar rush releases dopamine in your brain that triggers euphoria, the very same process you experience from drug and alcohol use.
During the time your brain is enjoying the dopamine rush, your body is pouring insulin into your bloodstream to combat the flood of sugar. This overproduction of insulin causes an immediate crash of blood sugar and a release of hormones that force your cells to store fat. But more importantly, your brain loses that sugar high and to get it back, it creates the sugar cravings and the cycle repeats, over and over again.
Where did our love of sweets originate? Our relationship with sugar goes beyond our addiction and dates back to our cave dwelling ancestors. Imagine the life of an ancient hunter and gatherer, eating what you find and experiencing either feast or famine. You come upon brightly colored berries or fruit beneath a tree, is it safe to eat? Through experience and a lot of trial and error, you know that sweet fruits and berries are safe to eat, and your love of sweets is born.
Unfortunately, sweets and sugar are not your friend and sugar in one form or another has been added to virtually every processed or packaged food you eat. The typical American consumes approximately 150 pounds of refined sugars every year, more than any other country, but followed closely by Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and the UK.
Sugar goes by many names, there are at least 56 different names for sugar listed on food labels, it’s easy to hide. Learn to recognize them and eliminate them from your diet. The most common is high fructose corn syrup, then sucrose, barley malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup, mannitol and many others. Once you know what to look for you will learn to spot sugar in everything from condiments to spaghetti sauce.
Why should you break the sugar cycle? These 50+ sugars contain NO nutrients, no vitamins or minerals, only empty calories. Sugar promotes fat storage, decreases insulin sensitivity (your body becomes resistant to insulin) increasing your risk for diabetes, increases bad cholesterol and your risk for heart disease and sugar is physically addicting.