Sugar has been consumed since immemorial times but it has remained a luxurious good for most of human history. The reason being that the processes of extracting it from beets were very expensive so only the very rich could afford.
Then various circumstances occured and reduced its cost : The industrial revolution in europe which led to the invention of machinery that could refine the syrup into the white powder we all know, the discovery of carribean islands where the weather and soil were ideal for growing sugar cane, and the slave trade made the exploitation of sugar cane cheap.
The effects of sugar on our minds and bodies
Sugar has various nasty effects on our bodies it is a well known fact that sugar is a primary cause of obesity in both children and adults. Scientists have established a connection between sugar and high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver disease, insulin resistance. But even more pernicious are its effects on the mind : Sugar has subtle but REAL Effects on the quality of our consciousness. We get a high from sugar. It gets our minds less alert and focussed. You can simply experience it by shaking your head left and right for 10 seconds. Do you feel a little dizzy afterwards ? Do you think that’s normal ? Truth is our bodies simply were NOT designed to process such high quantities of sugar.
Studies showed that sugar affects the brain chemistry and thus might cause addictive behavior, i.e. It makes you do things without knowing why you do them. Simply put you live less consciously.
The behavioral effects are similar to the neurochemical changes in the brain that also occur with addictive drugs. One finding of that study is seldom discussed — both sugar and the taste of sweet activate beta endorphin receptor sites in the brain, the same receptor sites that are activated by heroin and morphine.
Why is sugar so addictive
The short answer is that sugar is addictive because it tastes sweet. Then why is sugar so sweet you may ask ? This is much like asking why are sexy people so sexy ? Or why are babies so cute ? Not so dumb questions to ask and they have the same answer.
We are probably having it backwards: Sugar tastes sweet because we are evolutionary encouraged to feed calorific foods to our bodies (just like we are evolutionary to mate and to take care of our infants).
In this fascinating TED talk philosopher philosopher and scientist Dan Dennett addresses these questions. I invite you to watch it and share your thought about it. BUT Please don’t go all weird about evolution vs creation or I’ll get my friends from the sugar drug cartels to kick your a**. It’s not our subject here.
How to overcome sugar addiction
Sugar addicts unite! The time has come for overcoming sugar addiction and exposing the sneaky sugar supplier’s seductive tactics.
How does the sugar industry create sugar addicts? First of all, by denying that “sugar addiction” even exists. And secondly, by hiding sugar’s increasing existence in just about everything we eat. Why else would they call sugar names like “evaporated cane juice” or “Florida Crystals”?
Sugar, by any other name, still addicts the same.
And even though overcoming sugar addiction can be as difficult as giving up smoking or even cocaine, it’s essential to your health and fitness!
1. Admit that you’re a sugar addict. Just like with any addiction, the first step in overcoming sugar addiction is to accept that you’re an addict and understand the consequences.
2. Know the benefits of a sugar-free life. Besides reversing all the drawbacks listed above, overcoming sugar addiction helps you lose weight, greatly improve your health, energy and endurance – both now and in the future – and makes you look and feel younger and healthier.
3. Become a “hidden sugar” detective. Sugar is hiding everywhere. Don’t stick your head in the sugar bowl or get blind-sided by sweet temptation. Know all the different sugar names and choose healthy low glycemic foods.
4. Extract your sweet tooth – cold turkey. Sugar is too addictive to wean yourself slowly. Plan ahead, clean out your pantry and take some time off for withdrawal symptoms to pass. Look for new ways to comfort yourself – like a warm bath and good book.
5. Learn to love nature’s natural sweeteners. Once you get through the first few days, fruits and other natural foods will start tasting sweeter. Stevia, a naturally sweet herb, can help sweeten food and drinks, but don’t go overboard. Your objective is to reduce your taste for super sweet foods and excess use of artificial sweeteners only keeps mental cravings alive.
6. Make friends with naturally sweet people. If you were a recovering alcoholic, you wouldn’t hang out in bars with drunks. So make friends who support your sugar-free lifestyle. When eating out, break whole grain bread with wholesome people and choose tasty sugar-free foods.
7. Clean sugar out of your body and mind. It takes 3 to 7 days to overcome the physical addiction. But overcoming emotional attachments to sweet comfort foods could take longer. Here are some guidelines.
The bottom line – sugar is addictive, and it’s dangerous to one’s health. Because of its addictive qualities, it is very difficult to give up sugar, but the benefits in improved physical and emotional health make it worth the work.