For the love of all things sweet.
Why give up sugar? Sometimes it’s hard to reconcile with the idea that something you love is nothing more than an addiction.
Why is it that those things we enjoy become addictive? Is it just that we lack self-control or when it comes to something as sweet and delicious as sugar it’s actually addictive? If you’re hooked on that candy jar on your desk, then you probably already know the answer. Right?
It all starts in the pleasure centre of our brain and a chemical called dopamine. But hey, I’m certainly no expert on addictions and not about to preach on that subject here.
But give up sugar? Okay, yeah, I’m gonna preach.
For some of us, sugar is addictive. Beyond the pleasure sugar provides, it’s a food source and provides our brain with a source of glucose, which of course, your brain needs to function and probably why that jar of candy helps you get over your afternoon slump. It’s your brain, and the truth is, you won’t get too far without a slow, steady, controlled stream of glucose entering your brain cells.
So, if your brain needs glucose, why the need to give it up?
Well, it’s not so much glucose that’s the problem. It’s the simplified nature of the molecules that make up things like table sugar or white bread and pasta or sugary ice cream. So expertly refined they digest and turn to glucose at a speed none of us can handle.
But it gets even more complicated.
Sugar is made up of two molecules. One glucose and the other fructose. Fructose is a real problem. It doesn’t enter the bloodstream the way glucose does and usually ends up going straight to the liver and later stored as fat. This might be okay if you only consume small amounts or you’re an exercise fiend, but even so, when you’re in overload, this can become a real problem.
The hidden story behind the quest to give up sugar?
When you give up sugar, apart from the obvious restrictions, like cake, ice cream, and desserts, comes the shocking realisation. Our modern diet is loaded with unnecessary sugar!! You are unknowingly consuming a huge amount of sugar. Even if you said no to the 12th office birthday cake this month. You’re getting a dose of added sugar in almost all packaged or processed foods.
The hidden sugar in packaged and processed foods is phenomenal. In fact, there are very few processed and packaged foods without added sugar.
It makes me mad, but it also makes me determined.
I object to it! Sure, I know I have a choice, I can check the labels, and I do. But, the mere fact it’s added in the first place just reinforces the fact that we’re so addicted to sugar, so-much-so, manufacturers just keep adding more and more. Our sweet sugary palette has become immune to the amount of sugar we consume. So like any addiction, we crave it more and more and don’t even notice how sweet packaged and processed food as become.
But it’s hard to give up the sweeter things of life.
Oh yeah, don’t I know it. I gave up sugar about four years ago. Influenced by a history of diabetes and dementia in my immediate family, it seemed a natural and necessary decision. I did it, supported by the inspirational story of Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar fame as well as a very resolved buddy. My sister, who I might add has, over the last four years showed more control than I have. But, despite the occasional lapse, I still consider myself sugar-free.
It’s not until you give it up, you realise how sweet everything is. Not just the plain old sugar and candy you’ve become accustomed to, but the packaged and processed foods that contain so much added sugar and you’ll very quickly realise how sweet your tooth had become.
Finding a sugar-free buddy.
I couldn’t have given up sugar without the support of my sister. We did it together. At the time, we were both living under the same roof and most mealtimes were a shared experience. The weekly shopping expedition to the supermarket found us comparing labels. Okay, maybe we became a bit fanatical, zealots even, wanting to lead others to the sugar-free light. A life without the unnecessary sugar. We still do. I’ve written about it many times over the last few years.
Are you going to give up sugar?
Sometimes it’ll be easy but other times you’ll struggle. But, when you succeed you’ll feel proud of yourself. You’ll feel mentally clearer and you will have a sense of achievement. Giving up sugar is not necessarily about losing weight, although many do. For me, it’s about my health and it’s about choice. I choose how much sugar I consume not a manufacturer of packaged food.
Oh, and if you thought Sugar didn’t damage your skin? Well, you better read this article, where I talk about the trouble with Advanced Glycation End Products, AGE for short.
See you next time,