By JoAnne Romanelli, CHHC, AADP
Board Certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach
Who doesn’t like the sweet taste of sugar? Some find the act of eating sugar almost euphoric while others find it absolutely addicting. It’s no wonder some researchers believe white refined sugar is more addicting than cocaine. In fact, a lab experiment showed 94% of rats choosing sugar over cocaine. Even the rats addicted to cocaine preferred sugar! That’s some powerful stuff.
As Americans, we eat approximately 20 teaspoons of sugar each day and consume 90-180 lbs of sugar each year with numbers climbing each year.
But why, in this age of diets, low sugar foods and diabetes awareness are the obesity and diabetes rates climbing.
It’s simple. We’re eating more processed foods and less natural foods.
Refined sugar is a highly processed food. In its natural state, sugar is high in nutrients. During processing though, it is stripped of all nutrients and minerals. The end result is a nutrient deficient food with a high glycemic index. This means sugar is rapidly absorbed into your system which stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin to drop sugar levels. A sudden drop in sugar makes you crave more sugar. That’s why many of us reach for desserts after a high carbohydrate meal.
These constant sugar fluctuations create stress on your body as you ride this sugar roller coaster. In time, these ups and downs can cause problems such as a suppressed immune system, rise in triglycerides, elevation of LDL and lowered HDL, risk of heart disease, and weight gain to name a few.
So how does one stop this roller coaster effect?
- Know your sugar. Anything ending in an ‘ose’ is a sugar; sucrose, glucose, fructose, dextrose. Juice, syrup, and high fructose corn syrup are also sugar.
- Read Your Labels. Sugar in is hidden foods like crackers, yogurt, ketchup, peanut butter, jams and sauces.
- Stay away from artificial sweeteners. Numerous studies have shown sweeteners like aspartame and Splenda to contain many toxic chemicals that cause an array of problems.
- Adapt a diet that is high in unrefined carbohydrates. Foods like vegetables, fruits, brown rice, quinoa, steel cut oats, beans and whole grains contain more vitamins, minerals and fiber which create a slow and steady rise of sugar in your system.
- Try natural sweeteners. Popular and great tasting natural sweeteners are stevia, pure maple syrup, raw blue agave nectar, honey, sucanat, rapadura and coconut sugar.
- Eat your Protein. Lean protein will keep you full as well as help reduce sugar cravings.
- Consume less added sugars. Slowly decrease the amount of processed foods in your diet and you will see a decrease in cravings as well as a dramatic increase in energy and overall health!
JoAnne Romanelli, Getting Real Health, and Nicole Zaybak Drepaniotis and the AFRP are not acting in the capacity of a doctor, licensed dietician-nutritionist, psychologist, other licensed or registered professional, personal trainer or any other certified exercise specialist/health exercise adviser. Our purpose is advising and recommendations.
The information received should not be seen as medical or nursing advice and is certainly not meant to take the place of your seeing licensed health professionals.
The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.