Tag: sugar

Junkies, Addicted to that Sugar

Addiction, what a wonderfully glorious, life ruining malady to suffer from. It is ever so easy to get used to that feel good rush that comes from hitting that glass pipe of methamphetamine. It makes you feel as if you can conquer the world while destroying everything about your life with a swiftness. Or, you might love the instant euphoria that comes when pushing heroin through a needle into your vein, that peaceful easy feeling is tough to beat even when you know the great harm which comes with the territory. The most common feel good substance you can find yourself addicted to as well, might be found in your kitchen cabinet for you and your family’s enjoyment. That addictive substance is sugar!

Many signs of addiction are easy to recognize, people neglect personal responsibilities, exhaust financial resources, and sometimes engage in criminal conduct to support their habits. But then, there are many addicts among us each day that may not show any signs at all. I had a brother in law years ago who was addicted to amphetamines and cocaine. He was successful in the banking industry despite  his addiction leading him to preloading two syringes each morning before work in order to have a mid-morning and afternoon hit before going home in the early evening. You would have never guessed that despite the super clean cut appearance, he had illegal drugs tucked away in his suit pocket.

We might think that addiction will never happen to us, we like to believe we are too smart to allow this to ever happen. I never saw myself as an opiate addict until I found myself trying to get off prescription pain meds following my spinal injury ten years ago. You might be thinking none of this has anything to do with you since you might not indulge in any of the obvious addictive vices life has to offer. If you are overweight and out of shape, you need to reconsider. Chances are, you are addicted to simple carbs and sugar and are as much a junkie as any drug addict or alcoholic. If this offends you then consider these questions:

  • Do you ever find yourself craving sugary foods?
  • Has your appetite for sugary foods caused problems for yourself and your family? Problems which have come from the impact sugar has had on your health? Metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and more?
  • Do you dress to highlight features of your body? Or do you wear clothing that distracts from unwanted bulges and rolls that embarrass you?
  • Have you ever hid how much you actually eat from family and friends?
  • Have you ever been ashamed of how your appetite has impacted your health and appearance?
  • Do you know that you need to lose weight and improve your health but feel unable to give up your junk foods?
  • Are you embarrassed by the number that appears when you stand on your bathroom scale?

Face it, it is highly unlikely you ever craved brussel sprouts or lettuce like you have simple carbohydrates and sugar. Sugar is often used to make foods more appealing, which leads to habituation and even in some cases addiction, thereby uniquely contributing to the obesity epidemic our society is experiencing. As with street drugs, the dopaminergic system gets involved in reward with the consumption of highly palatable foods. Recent research suggests that highly processed foods are addictive and the hedonic mechanisms (pleasure-seeking pathways) plays a critical role in obesity.

Have you ever noticed that decadent pleasure which comes from biting into a sweet treat?

Of course you have, who are you kidding…

Are you a junkie addicted to sugar?

The American Psychiatric Association has defined addiction as “a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence.”

In today’s world, there is nowhere you can turn without the sight of people with a variety of weight problems ranging from minor to severe. Because sugar is in so many foods we eat, and on the shelves of every grocery store across the nation, we think of it as a harmless substance even though common sense says otherwise.  Cocaine used to be in Coca Cola and was thought of as harmless. At one time, even heroin was easily obtained for cold symptoms. Most recently, synthetic THC products could be found for sale in gas stations and convenience shops. Because it was legal, many young people thought it was harmless. Many learned the hard way that just because a product is legal, this does not mean it will not cause your body harm. Sugar has been linked to an increased risk of a number of medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Sugar also zaps your energy, increases your risk of depression, and contributes to poor dental health — just to name a few.

By cutting sugar, you can reduce your health risks and may feel better than you ever thought was possible. Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and Fitness. We have over 750 articles and healthy recipes to help you kick your sugar addiction. Subscription is free and easy. By subscribing you can receive each new article straight to your email inbox.

Be well!

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Sugar and Disease

Almost all of the chronically ill people that I have ever known ate a lot of sugar. I noticed this when I was a child. I remember the diabetic ladies with the ulcers on their legs setting the cakes out on the dessert table at the dinners at church. As an adult I developed high blood pressure that stayed with me until I started living David’s Way and quit eating sugar. I was taking medication for high blood pressure, insomnia and depression. I take no medication now and don’t have those health problems. For me, sugar is a death wish.

Some people believe that they can eat “a little sugar”. I can’t. My mom seldom had sweets in the home but she did make a cake most weeks on Friday during my early childhood. I looked forward to that cake and ate as much as I could get away with under my mother’s watchful eye. During those years, I was sick almost all Winter with tonsillitis and that tonsillitis almost always worked it’s way down and I had pneumonia twice before the age of six. I had bronchitis every Winter until about the time that my mom decided that mine and my dad’s weight problem did not need cake. When she quit making those cakes, my bronchitis mysteriously disappeared. Although my mom was not overweight, she did eat “a little sugar”. She was plagued with chronic health problems that ranged from rheumatoid arthritis to malignant hypertension and took multiple medications. My dad also ate sugar and he developed chronic cardiovascular disease in his thirties that has remained with him to this day at age 83. Various medications have been necessary for him to sustain life. Both of my grandmothers ate sugar and one was diabetic and both of them had chronic cardiovascular disease and died with heart attacks. They both needed multiple medications. In contrast, one of my grandfathers who quit eating sugar as an adult had no health problems whatsoever and took no medication.

Ingesting too much sugar curbs the immune system cells that attack invading bacteria in your body. (1) When bacteria invade the body and set up an inflammatory response, there is a perfect environment for almost all diseases, including auto-immune disease. (2) The question is how much is “too much”? A study of 29 healthy people found that consuming only 40 grams of added sugar from just one 375 ml. can of soda per day led to an increase in inflammatory markers, insulin resistance and LDL cholesterol. These people tended to gain more weight too. (3) That being said, imagine what the typical day’s menu on the Standard American Diet, (SAD, rightfully named…) must inflict on the human body. A day that begins with sugary cereal or doughnuts followed by a burger and fries with a milkshake at lunch, a candy bar in the afternoon and pizza and brownies for supper can easily pack as much as 200+ grams of added sugars. The destruction caused by day after day of this debauchery is almost impossible to deduce.

More than 80 autoimmune diseases have been identified, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that 23.5 million Americans are affected. The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) estimates that number is closer to 50 million Americans, citing incomplete data contributing to the NIH estimate. Anything that causes chronic inflammation in the body can eventually lead to the development of an autoimmune disease. (4) I recently had the chance to reconnect with an old friend who is undergoing extensive allergy testing to determine the cause of her multiplicity of new health woes. After testing, the doctor refilled her steroids and told her to come back in a year. As long as I’ve known this woman she has been determined to eat sugar, and plenty of it. She is unable to control her weight despite a disciplined exercise routine and consistently monitoring her food intake, but she has made the statement that she cannot resist sugar. I dare to say that she doesn’t want to abandon the sweet stuff and like so many, is determined to find a way to “have her cake and eat it to.” While I understand the attractiveness of a chocolate cake, I do not understand choosing to spend your time and money going from doctor to doctor and living with chronic low self-esteem. It’s all a choice.

Added sugars contribute to inflammation and inflammation is associated with many diseases including but not limited to: (5)

1-Coronary Artery Disease

2-Diabetes

3-Insulin Resistance

4-Cancer

5-Alzheimer’s Disease

6-Psychiatric Disorders-It is also now established that inflammation plays a significant role in psychiatric disorders. (6) Levels of inflammatory cytokines, tiny SOS signals in the brain, are higher in people with mood and psychotic disorders. Those same people are more prone to infection and autoimmune disease. Refined carbohydrates and refined vegetable oils are the two most powerful causative dietary agents for inflammation. Refined carbohydrates include added sugars of all kinds. Refined carbs cause high spikes in blood sugar which causes inflammation by initiating the spill of free radicals from glucose overloading. As the free radicals damage cells, cytokines rush to the area to repair damage. This is inflammation.

Considering this list of diseases caused by inflammation and knowing that sugar contributes to inflammation, are you willing to sacrifice good health for the thrill of a dainty pastry?

I challenge you to quit eating added sugars. What do you have to lose, maybe a few extra pounds, maybe other health problems? What do you have to gain, possibly increased self-esteem, more energy and maybe more money in your pocket if you are able to stay out of the doctors office for a trip or two? The decision is yours alone. Always consult with your physician concerning decisions that affect your health. This is one that he just might be thrilled that you have made.

(1) https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/10-immune-system-busters-boosters

(2) https://medlineplus.gov/autoimmunediseases.html

(3) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sugar-and-inflammation#section2

(4) https://www.healthline.com/health/autoimmune-disorder#causes

(5) https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Inflammation_A_unifying_theory_of_disease

(6) https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/diagnosis-diet/201712/cooling-brain-inflammation-naturally-food%3famp

How to Stop Eating Sugar

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The average American eats approximately 17 teaspoons of added sugar per day. This is a tragedy because added sugars in processed foods are known to increase inflammation in the body and are associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and tooth decay. This single so-called food is largely responsible for much of the sickness and misery that our society is experiencing today. Here are ways to reduce your consumption of added sugars.

1-Don’t drink your calories! So many of the drinks that most people consume in a day are full of added sugars. Liquids don’t satisfy hunger like solid foods so these empty calories are just added calories with little to no satiety factor. Instead of sugar-laden liquids drink water, flavored water, herbal or fruit teas, coffee or other unsweetened teas. Alcohol is a sugar based drink.

2-Avoid the traditional grain and dairy based desserts that are so common in the United States. They have little to no nutritional value and make you feel tired and hungry. You just want more and more when you consume these concoctions. If you want something sweet at the end of a meal opt for fruit in it’s own juice or Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and some cinnamon. I use Saigon Cinnamon for a sweeter, more pungent cinnamon taste. You can also bake apples and pears for a truly sweet treat. Skip the extra calories and add the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber that you will get when you sub fruit for pastry.

3-You know, we are condiment crazy! A single Tablespoon of ketchup can contain a teaspoon of sugar! I use Heinz No Sugar Added Ketchup. It has a great taste and my son has eaten this product since it hit the shelves and he won’t eat anything else. Now, he’s 26 but ever since his first taste of this product he has insisted on this ketchup. You might say that he’s a “Ketchup Connoisseur”. The boy knows his ketchup. It’s really good. Avoid sugar-filled condiments and try herbs, mustard, vinegar, pesto and a sugar-free mayonnaise instead. Dukes Mayonnaise has always been sugar-free and it’s delicious. If you don’t see it on the shelf, you can order it online. I think that almost all Dollar General’s and Walmart’s carry it though. Barbecue sauce is sugar-filled. I use Sugar Free G Hughes brand that is available at Walmart. It comes in three varieties and they’re all good!

4-Eat full-fat foods. Low fat versions of your favorite foods abound! The problem is, almost every time that a company reduces the fat in a product, they add sugar to make the product more palatable. Sometimes the low-fat version will even have more calories. Read labels and you will find this to be true.

5-Eat whole foods that you cook at home. Whole foods are foods that have not been processed or refined. They don’t have any additives whatsoever. A lot of Americans eat a diet that consists mainly of ultra-processed foods such as cereals, pizza, pies and soft drinks. 90% of the added sugars in American’s diets come from these ultra-processed foods. You can make an Italian red sauce at home with no added sugar but if you buy it in a jar, it may contain as much as 3 teaspoons of sugar per serving. If you eat canned fruits and vegetables always read the label and seek out a product with no added sugars.

6-Be mindful of so-called “healthy snacks”. I tried to work granola into my diet for years. If I make my own, I’m okay but it is nearly impossible to find a commercial granola that doesn’t contain added sugar in some form. Dried fruit is a nutritional landmine if you’re cutting sugar out of your diet. While it may not be added sugar, it is so sweet that it will cause an insulin spike and give you terrible cravings. I sometimes make my own granola with my favorite nuts and Saigon cinnamon and raw oats. A boiled egg makes a nutritious snack that will give you a pick-me-up in the afternoon. I always keep an apple in my bag. Paired with a handful of nuts, it will get me through until dinner. If you try to eat protein bars tread cautiously! Most are full of sugar. I like One Bars, they contain only 1 gram. Be very mindful of the pitfalls of “healthy” marketing. Quite often it is an illusion.

7- Breakfast is a minefield. Prepared cereals are loaded with sugars. Pancakes, waffles and muffins are sticky sweet. Opt instead for oatmeal, Greek yogurt and eggs with the meat of your choice. You can swap all that sugar for a good dose of protein if you’re mindful.

8-Read labels and watch for these words:

High fructose corn syrup

Cane sugar or juice

Maltose

Dextrose

Invert sugar

Rice syrup

Molasses

Caramel

Always remember that if an ingredient is closer to the beginning of the ingredient list, the greater percentage there is of it in the food. Read carefully!

9-Most people are not getting enough protein. Protein helps curb food cravings and has been proven to reduce appetite and hunger. Eat protein at every meal and snack.

10-Consider trying the natural sweetener, erythritol. It’s found in “Swerve” products. They have granulated, confectioner’s and brown sugar replacements. It doesn’t create cravings and has no calories. Most of our dessert recipes use this natural sweetener.

11-Don’t buy it. How many times have you lied to yourself or others and said that you were buying that bakery sheet cake “for the kids”? Don’t believe for a minute that anyone except you believes that. The “kids” don’t need it either. Leave the desserts in the store.

12- Catch some zzz’s. Sleep deprivation causes cravings. A tired brain craves energy and sugar is a source of concentrated energy.

13-Read about “glycation”, the way that sugar damages your skin. That in itself should be enough to make you stop.

Abandoning sugar was one of the best things that I have done for my health. I rarely go to the doctor and take absolutely no medication. I lift heavy weights and work full-time at a very stressful job. I am a nurse and it’s a demanding field. I don’t ever remember missing work due to sickness. While I make my health my number 1 priority in every way, abandoning sugar has made a difference in my life. If you have considered cutting it out of your diet, talk to your doctor and get started today. You’ll be glad that you did!

(1) https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/14-ways-to-eat-less-sugar