Sugar is the most serious food addiction in the United States and most industrialized countries in the world. It has been an addiction of mine for most of my life. I eat no more than 10 grams of sugar a day currently, however, like alcohol addiction, crave it from time to time. Sugar consumption has increased over 25% from 1967 to 2003. Americans in 1967 consumed 114 grams per day compared to 142 grams per year in 2003.
Sugar comes in many forms on labels including cane sugar, beet sugar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, sucrose, fructose, and dextrose. High fructose corn syrup has become the most common additive for sweetener in processed foods because it is inexpensive compared to other sweeteners. If you ever wondered why childhood obesity is an epidemic, look at the ingredients in the foods your children eat. High fructose corn syrup is probably high on the list.
Sugar has been found to increase risk of many health issues including but not limited to diabetes, metabolic syndrome, gout, weight gain, heart disease, insomnia, brain fog, tooth decay, depression, and even cancer. Sugar is very acidic and cancer has been shown to thrive in an acidic environment.
When you first give eliminate sugar from your diet, you may feel tired during the first week since you have been artificially energized for many years. Don't give up. If you must have a something sweet, use honey, molasses, fruit sweetened jams, and brown rice syrup for better alternatives in small amounts. You may have one serving (two to three teaspoons) of per day. Why are you limited in these natural sweeteners? Because any concentrated sweetener in large amounts not only keeps the addiction to sweets alive but can also may negatively affect your blood sugar. Read labels carefully because sugar is hidden in many products, especially those that are processed. The less processed foods you eat, the better anyway. Most processed foods not only have sugar but salt, artificial coloring, msg, and a host of other ingredients most of us cannot pronounce. Do not substitute sugar with artificial sweeteners such as saccharin (Sweet'N Low and Sugar Twin) and aspartame (NutraSweet or Equal). Artificial sweeteners not only keep your addiction to sweeteners going but are detrimental to your health. These sweeteners, along with msg, have been shown to destroy brain neurons, therefore increasing your risk of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, ALS, and Lou Gehrig's.
If you need more inspiration, please read Sugar Blues by William Duffy. (You can find it in the Health and Fitness Cafe Store link.) I read this book when I was very young. Not only was the history of sugar interesting but how destructive sugar is to your body.
In health always :)