A Guide to Sugar #1: Why Quit Sugar?
If you told me over a year ago I would quit eating sugar I would have laughed. What a joke. I was a full fledged sugar addict. Not a day would go by without some sort of chocolate bar, ice cream, gummy candy, or sugary drink. But with years of nutritional education and knowledge of holistic health, it was time that I practiced what I preached. In May of 2017 I decided to give up all processed and added sugar cold turkey. It was more of an experiment I assumed would be temporary but it has now officially been over a year and I’m still going strong. The more I abstained the more I realized the disastrous effects of sugar on the body. Hence the inspiration to write this blog series “Guide to Sugar” to spread the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years and hopefully inspire a few more to go sugar-free.
Sugar is everywhere and in the largest amounts in history. In the 1800’s, the average person consumed 10 pounds of sugar per year. And now in the 21st century, the average American eats 150-180 pounds of sugar per year, an extraordinary increase catalyzing a horrendous epidemic of insulin resistance resulting in diabetes and affiliated chronic disease. Nearly all people who are overweight have “pre-diabetes”, meaning your blood sugar is higher than it should be, putting one at risk for full fledged type 2 diabetes and predisposed to a host of other health concerns such as heart disease, cancer, dementia, stroke, kidney, and nerve damage. The CDC estimates that one in three children born today will have diabetes in their lifetime.
Brain imaging shows that foods high in sugar work just like heroin, opium, or morphine in the brain. Sugar stimulates the brain’s pleasure or reward centers through the neurotransmitter dopamine exactly like other addictive drugs. Basically, when we eat foods abnormally high in processed sugar, neurotransmitters like dopamine and opioids are released which trigger the “reward centers” in the brain initiating the cycle of a pleasurable high, inclination to re-experience that high, compulsive behavior, and a necessity to need increasing amounts due to body tolerance.
It’s not necessary sugar itself that is the most harmful thing ever, but high blood sugar and consequential high levels of insulin in the blood stream that are the cause of concern. When you eat foods high in sugars or carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, pasta, etc.), it stimulates the release of insulin to carry the glucose into your cells for use. The more glucose that is in the blood stream, the more insulin is needed to release. The extra glucose not needed by cells is stored as fat or translated into glycogen and stored in the liver where it can cause fatty liver disease.
Sugar is an epidemic and its excessive consumption is causing a contemporary health crisis like no other. In this blog series I will explore the different effects sugar has on the body such as:
Insulin Resistance and Inflammation
Sugar and the Digestive System
How to Eat to Stabilize your Blood Sugar
I will conclude with a comprehensive guide on how to quit sugar with easy to follow tips and tricks on how I removed all processed and added sugars from my diet.
Interested in making some health changes? Call Acubalance at 604-678-8600 to schedule a free 15 minute consultation to see how our nutritional advice, vast array of tools (such as laser therapy and acupuncture), and knowledge and expertise can help you achieve your health goals.
Sources of information in this blog series come from the works of Dr. Mark Hyman’s “The Blood Sugar Solution” and “8 Steps to Reverse your PCOS” by Dr. McCulloch, both wonderful books I highly recommend. These books are available through Acubalance’s lending library.