Sweet poison, Sugar, the Bitter Truth…
All these names relate to sugar and it’s addictive qualities.
Many people report the feeling of ‘addiction to sugar’ when relaying the experience of “never enough”. The side effects of eating too much sugar are well known these days, but we often surprise ourselves by readily giving in to our sugar cravings. We indulge in sugary goodies that feel good in the short term, but not so good for our health in the long term.
Sugar consumption around the world has reached epic proportions and has skyrocketed in the last 30 years, with Australians consuming an average of 28.5 teaspoons per day.
Compare this with the World Health Organisation’s recommended 6 teaspoons per day of added sugar, and it’s clear we are over-consuming.
Soft drink is the biggest culprit, but let us not forget that found in cereals, baked goods, bottled sauces and takeaways.
Sugar is in almost everything.
Why are we addicted to sugar?
The move toward “low fat” as a “healthy” alternative has meant we are eating way more sugar than ever before. Yet sugar has absolutely no nutritional value and is considered by some to be “empty calories”. Perhaps, if we ate the unrefined, unprocessed cane sugar in it’s raw form we might gain some benefit from a few vitamin B’s.
We would not fuel our cars with ‘useless’ fuel, so why not fuel our bodies with highly nutritious food that provide more ‘bang for our buck’.
What about fat?
Why not replace some of the unhealthy sugar sources with more healthy fats? These could be in the form of:
- olive oil
- coconut oil
Good fats slow down the release of glucose into your blood stream and help you to stay satisfied for longer.
How much fat? Read more here..
David Gillespie, author of ‘Sweet Poison’, explains why we are addicted to sugar. He explains that the active ingredient in sugar, fructose, is harder to give up than nicotine. This is because it is in almost everything found on the supermarket shelves.
We eat it everyday. And Gillespie believes it is sugar, which is made up of glucose and fructose, that is responsible for Australia’s growing rate of obesity.
He says that when we eat the fructose component of sugar, our bodies do not release the three major appetite hormones that tell us we are full: insulin, leptin and cholecystokinin (CCK). Instead it goes straight to the liver where it is often converted to fat.
Professor Kerin O’Dea, from the University of South Australia, also believes sugar intake is driving up the rates of obesity. She also believes that ‘low fat’ eating is causing us to eat more sugar.
She attributes the increasing cases of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to sugar, saying that this potentially fatal liver damage could be avoided by reducing calories. It is the fructose in sugar, being converted to fat in the liver that is the problem.
In 2005, a group of Princeton University Researches in the Psychology and Neurosciences Departments, found that eating sugar triggers the release of opioids – neurotransmitters that activate the brain’s pleasure receptors.
This is similar to the effects of many addictive drugs, including morphine. “Sugar stimulates receptors to activate the same pathways that are stimulated directly by drugs, such as heroin”, they say.
That explains why so many people may be addicted to sugar.
It may take a long time before the evidence becomes mainstream, but, for now, many studies show that sugar is addictive, provides empty calories and leaves you feeling hungrier after you eat it.
By Sharlene Crage