Sugar is 8 times as addictive as cocaine! The average Canadian consumes 26 teaspoons of sugar daily or 40 kilograms a year! Refined sugar leads to long-term malnutrition, deficiencies, obesity, digestive problems, PMS, recurrent infections, Candida, hyperactivity, fatigue, ADHD, anxiety, diabetes, heart disease and Cancer.
Sugar activates the brain’s reward system making it addictive. Research has shown higher sugar levels increase your chances of dementia even if you do not develop diabetes. Refined sugars are mostly converted into fat because they do not stimulate your hunger hormone, which leads to overeating since your full response is not activated.
As the weather gets warmer think twice before you reach for your favorite drinks. A 591ml bottle of Coca Cola has 70g of sugar; a 16oz can of Rockstar energy drink has 64 g of sugar. A medium iced coffee at McDonald’s has 22g of sugar and that “healthy” bottle of Minute Maid’s lemonade contains 52 g of sugar.
The “sugar-free” artificial sweeteners are worse for you than sugar itself. They promote hunger and increase your appetite so you end up eating more, which is counterproductive when you’re trying to lose weight. Research has found that these artificial sweeteners still cause high insulin levels in the blood, which in turn promotes the body to store body fat. Refined sugars also stimulate appetite as they lack nutrients. Headaches, weight gain, increased cravings, GI problems, liver and kidney toxicity are some other problems associated with these.
Refined sugars include corn syrup, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose and artificial sweeteners with sucralose, saccharine and aspartame.
Quitting sugar is not easy and requires a multi level approach through a combination of dietary changes, detoxifying and herbal support. Natural sugar options in moderation include honey, maple syrup, stevia and agave nectar. Healthy snack alternatives include fruit, brown rice cakes, mixed nuts, seeds, vegetables, hummus and protein smoothies. Rather than replacing one form of sugar with another, the goal is to decrease the amount of sugar you consume.
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine in Okotoks and Calgary.
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