Sugar…Who’s addicted???


There have been some recent scientific studies conducted with mounting evidence suggesting sugar is actually MORE addicting than cocaine.  Who knew???  According to many nutrition experts, sugar is the most addicting legal substance available today.  Similar to cocaine, sugar triggers the release of dopamine in the brain, which plays a key role in regulating reward, locomotion, behavior, learning and emotion.  The sad part is…sugar is in almost every processed food there is.  In 2007, the average American consumed approximately 152 pounds of sugar in one year.  That is nearly 266,760 calories consumed just in sugar alone!!

I am not referring to the natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables (fructose) or in milk (lactose).  I’m referring to the white stuff that is an ingredient found in so many recipes and processed foods.  The problem is you may not really think you are consuming sugar even when you are.  There are so many different names that sugar can be labeled as.  According to, the following list are alternative names for sugar found on our food labels, and this list is not complete:

    • barley malt
    • beet sugar
    • brown sugar
    • buttered syrup
    • cane-juice crystals
    • cane sugar
    • caramel
    • carob syrup
    • corn syrup
    • corn syrup solids
    • date sugar
    • dextran
    • dextrose
    • diatase
    • diastatic malt
    • ethyl maltol
    • fruit juice
    • fruit juice concentrate
    • glucose
    • glucose solids
    • golden sugar
    • golden syrup
    • grape sugar
    • high-fructose corn syrup
    • honey
    • invert sugar
    • malt syrup
    • maltodextrin
    • maltose
    • mannitol
    • molasses
    • raw sugar
    • refiner’s syrup
    • sorbitol
    • sorghum syrup
    • sucrose
    • sugar
    • turbinado sugar
    • yellow sugar

 I enjoy sugar laden foods just like the next person, but I also know that I feel much better physically, mentally and emotionally if I limit the sugar I consume.  I have gone 3 weeks really monitoring the foods I eat, trying to eat very few processed foods and eating as clean as possible.  After having completed this 3 week experiment, I came to realize that my body really does respond negatively to sugar laden foods (among other things).  The results of my experiment have lead me to really monitor my sugar intake in the future.

Does this mean you need to completely avoid sugar all of the time???  No, it will be a challenge to completely avoid sugar since it is in nearly everything we eat.  If you are mindful of what you are eating and look at food labels to avoid sugar as much as possible,  you too will notice a definite difference in how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally.  Think about the POUNDS of sugar you WON’T consume by being more mindful and the vast number of calories you will avoid adding to your body!!

I challenge you to avoid sugar (and all of the discretely labeled sugar products) for one week and see how you feel (for you to REALLY notice a change, 21 days is the ideal amount of time to make a change stick).  Do you notice a difference?  If so, how do you feel?  After that week, choose a sugary treat…a large piece of chocolate cake, a piece of pie or a sugar laden soda.  How do you feel now?  I bet you’ll notice a HUGE difference and avoid sugar as much as you can in the future. 🙂

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