Did you ever stop to think that maybe your sweet tooth is giving you more than just cavities? Addiction to sugar is a huge problem in the United States. In the past 30 years, the adult consumption rate of sugar has increased by 30 percent. It is everywhere and Americans can’t seem to get enough of it.
Sugar stimulates the nucleus accumbens area of our brain and is flooded with large amounts of the feel good neurohormone dopamine. Just like a drug addiction, we start to chase that good feeling we experienced the very first time we had a sugary treat, but over time that sensation is dulled. The reason is that the overuse of sugar or any other drug that stimulates dopamine production causes dopamine receptors to downregulate. This means you have to eat more and more sugar to get that same feeling or “high.”
Just like quitting smoking and cutting off the feel-good supply to your brain of nicotine, when you remove sugar from your diet, your body will react like you are taking candy from a baby— you will experience a full blown meltdown. You will experience withdrawal symptoms similar to detoxing from a drug addiction like headaches, nausea and exhaustion.
The American Heart Association recommends that adult women should not consume more than six teaspoons of added sugars a day. For men, they suggest limiting it to nine. This amount refers to added sugar, not naturally occurring sugars found in fruit and vegetables.
The average American will consume about 100 pounds of added sugar per year, or around 30 teaspoons a day! A single can of Coca-Cola contains a little over nine teaspoons of sugar. It is found in salad dressings, pickled foods, soup, and even peanut butter and sometimes tuna. Reading the labels of prepackaged foods is an essential part of avoiding added sugar in your diet.
Sugar hides in many different forms and is in the list of ingredients under many different names in prepackaged foods:
- High fructose corn syrup
- Natural Sweetener
Added sugar has no nutritional value. It does nothing for you besides filling your head with fake good feelings. Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to breast cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity. It can have less noticeable negative effects such as inflammation, slowed metabolism and a higher risk of chronic illness and disease.
White sugar is the absolute worst type of sugar. Replace it with natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup or coconut sugar. Remember, naturally occurring sweeteners are still forms of sugar, so be careful to not go overboard.
Artificial sweeteners are something to be completely avoided to protect your health. They come in many different varieties but the most common is a aspartame. Aspartame is a major toxin, and is found in many foods and drinks on the market. Aspartame breaks down readily into its components upon ingestion. These are the amino acids aspartic acid, phenylalanine and menthol. The proportions of these chemicals break down into the toxic carcinogenic formaldehyde and the pro-inflammatory chemical formic acid. When aspartate comes into contact with glutamate, neuron killing excitotoxins are formed.
Some of the other names of aspartame include:
- ACESULFAME POTASSIUM
- Ace K
- Equal Spoonful
- Sweet One
- Equal Classic
- NatraTaste Blue
- Aspartyl-phenylalanine-1-methyl ester
- AminoSweet (not found in the US)
- Canderel (not in found in the US)
Sugar affects our state of mind, mood, and energy. While it gives you a spike in energy immediately after it is consumed, overuse of sugar and the toxic ingredients in artificial sweeteners will rob you of your health. Dr. Nuzum advises you to eliminate processed sugar from your diet. While it might seem challenging at first, once your body has detoxified itself from it, you will have fewer cravings and it will get easier everyday.