Sugar, we are drowning in it. It’s in the foods we eat, most everything we drink, and if something tastes bad, we add more sugar to it. Good thing it’s packed with Vitamin … oh, wait, there are no vitamins in sugar, no minerals, no nutrients whatsoever – only calories.
So why do we need it? At some point in your past, someone you love introduced you to sugar. Maybe it was a cookie, a chocolate bunny or a cupcake, but you tasted sweet sugar and it made your mouth happy, and you wanted more.
But sugar also made your brain happy. Sugar is quickly digested and moves rapidly into your bloodstream and travels to your brain where it causes a release of dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Sugar stimulates your brain the same way that sex, drugs and gambling stimulate your brain.
Is it addicting? Yes, the more sugar you eat, the more you need. The constant supply of sugar in the modern diet overstimulates your dopamine receptors and over time, you need more sugar to maintain your dopamine “high”. What is the first sweet thing you eat each morning? Donuts? Pastry? Sugar coated cereal? How long can you go without your morning sugar? When you experience the tremors and cravings and similar withdrawal symptoms you’ll realize how addicting sugar truly is.
Are you ready to reduce the sugar in your diet? Here are 3 steps to get you started.
- Know The Enemy! Sugar goes by many names, most end in “-ose”. Glucose, fructose, lactose, galactose, sucrose, maltose, dextrose, and high-fructose corn syrup are all sugars used in packaged foods. There are many more: cane juice, beet juice, corn syrup, date sugar, caramel, brown sugar, carob syrup, malt syrup, fruit juice and fruit juice concentrate, turbinado, sorghum syrup, dextrin, maltodextrin, ethyl maltol and simple maple syrup.
- Stop Drinking Sugar! Many of bottled beverages that we consume every day are loaded with sugar. Carbonated sodas and colas, the juice box or carton of chocolate milk your children drank with lunch, and those expensive and high-calorie frappuccino concoctions you picked up on the drive to work. The simplest way to reduce your unhealthy sugar intake is to replace these liquid sugar drinks with water!
- Stop Eating Garbage! Do you really NEED that donut? Of course not. You may feel that you need those sugary snacks, but you now know that you “need” the donut because the sugar it contains releases dopamine. It’s not your mouth or stomach that craves the sugar, but your brain. Recognize the cause of the addictive sugar cycle, find healthier food choices to replace the sugary junk you crave.