If you’re like me and many of my clients in Brentwood, One of the hardest things to give up when starting to eat healthier was eating sugar. Sugary foods have always been a special treat in my home and one that’s been associated with holidays and rewards. When you go into any store, at the checkout there’s always candy near the checkout. Who can resist putting those delicious looking pastries in your cart when you see them so prominently displayed in the bakery area? Even stopping for a soft drink means overloading with sugar. However, there’s no doubt about it, eating too much sugar is one of the worse things you can do for your health.
There’s a theory that man has a built in desire for sugar.
Some anthropologists hypothesize that the love of sugar is built into man. Fruits and some vegetables that are ripe and perfect for eating are sweet. Sugary tasting plants that were sweet were safe to eat in early times. Times have changed and in an effort to appeal to that primal desire for sugar, it’s now in almost every processed food. There are even altered types of sugars that have a dramatic negative effect on overall health.
While eating whole foods and natural foods is promoted, sugary foods aren’t on that list.
Even if it’s natural, like honey, sugar causes health issues. In the animal world, humans, domesticated animals and bears are the only ones that get cavities. Why? It’s because of sugar. Domesticated animals eat processed foods that contain sugar, just as humans do. Wild bears are drawn to the natural sweetness of honey. While it’s directly from the hive, it also promotes tooth decay. Not only does sugar cause dental problems, sugar, of any type, contributes to obesity, increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes, damages the immune system and accelerates aging.
There are several types of sugar, so just reading the label may be deceiving.
You may have heard of high fructose corn syrup—HFCS, dextrose, sucrose, beet sugar, cane sugar, maltose, fructose, dextrose and cane sugar, but there are many, many other words used for sugar content, well over fifty of them. When manufacturers put sugar on the label, they often break them down to several types of sugar, so it doesn’t appear at the top of the list of ingredients. That trickery could mean even if you’re careful, you might be getting more sugar than you’d ever expect.
- One of the most promoted types of sugar, HFCS, is found in almost every processed food. It reacts differently in your body and actually increases your appetite, which may account for the increased rise in obesity. It increases the potential for dementia, heart disease and damage to the stomach lining.
- Fat was once thought to be the villain in heart disease, but the major study pointing to fat was paid for by the sugar industry and flawed. It turns out that except for trans fats, sugar is the prime culprit.
- Sugar activates the same brain areas as cocaine. Many scientists think it may be as addictive as that drug. It interferes with our sense of taste, making normally sweet foods taste less sweet.
- If your blood pressure is high, cutting out salt helps, but so does cutting out extra sugar. Some studies show sugar may be a worse offender than salt to make the numbers rise.