Curb Your (Sugar) Enthusiasm
America’s sugar addiction is real, and it is having a major impact on our health! On average, Americans consume 22 to 30 teaspoons of sugar per day. One 12-ounce soda contains 8 to 12 teaspoons. This adds up to be 80 to 150 pounds of sugar per year! It’s not surprising that the amount of sugar in our diets is so high. First, sugar tastes good. It may be toxic to our bodies, but it triggers the same reward center in the brain that many drugs do and drives us to crave more. Actually, there was a study that showed that Oreos were more addictive than both heroin and cocaine in mice, so don’t beat yourself up too badly the next time you want to eat the whole bag. No one said kicking the sugar habit was going to be easy! Another reason why we consume so much sugar is due to bad information from the past. The sugar industry unfortunately helped pin the heart disease issue in our country on fats. Since then, many people have vilified fats, including cholesterol and saturated fat, and promoted low-fat diets. Low-fat diets are often supplemented with increased carbohydrate intake. Many of the low-fat variety foods also substitute in sugar after removing fat to improve taste, leading to even higher sugar intakes. Thankfully, this trend has reversed recently, and people are embracing fats again.
In our bodies, sugar consumption (especially fructose) has many negative effects. Sugar is very inflammatory. It has been shown to trigger low-grade chronic inflammation. The inflammation is systemic, or present throughout the whole body too. Chronic inflammation is associated with every degenerative disorder. Through many different pathways, sugar causes our immune system to overwork and increases the production of immune mediator and free radical molecules. These chronic inflammatory reactions increase the chances for conditions such as:
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Cognitive Impairment
- Muscle Aches
As you can see, sugar intake can lead to many aches, pains and dysfunctions that we don’t want. Cutting out sugar and other refined carbohydrates from your diet is definitely not easy, but it is worthwhile. Start small if you need to so that it can become a lasting change. One patient started by simply not eating dessert after dinner anymore. In a week, he had lost 7 pounds and felt noticeably better! Avoiding soda and juice is a good idea too. They have tons of added sugar and spike your blood sugar quickly. Maintaining hydration and eating more quality protein, fat, and fiber will also help by keeping you feeling full.
The foods that we put into our bodies have a major impact on how well we feel and function. Sugar is toxic and causes nervous system inflammation, so take a step today to get it out of your diet. Try eliminating sugar for a week to see what changes you notice. If you have any questions, call us at 215-259-5100 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!