Drugs are bad. The idea is pounded into our heads beginning at a very young age from government-funded agencies to elementary schools. What we are not being taught is that these same organizations are feeding us something arguably worse than drugs every day – sugar. It’s in our chocolate milk, it’s in our pizza, it’s in our fruit juice – oh – and it’s eight times more addicting than cocaine.
But how? Check this out:
As shown in this brain scan, sugar and cocaine not only light up the same part of your brain, but sugar lights it up even brighter. This is why we feel “happy” after ingesting either of these substances and why we crave it more and more.
Now, let’s throw some lab rats in the mix. Princeton University got the poor little guys hooked on coke. Over a few weeks, they began giving them the choice between sugar water and cocaine, and 40 out of the 43 rats chose the sugar water. When it was taken away, they all showed withdrawal symptoms similar to a recovering drug addict…
So what does this mean for us humans? Turns out we aren’t so different from those rats. That’s right, we’re addicted to sugar – and we start young too. Most baby formulas sold in stores, especially those without lactose, have sugar in them. So, the American population is developing a “sweet tooth” earlier than ever before, and the big food companies like Coca Cola and Nestle are loving it.
As the kids grow up, these companies help develop kids’ addiction that make them more likely to buy sugary products (Cha-Ching!). The worse news – the more sugar, the more weight gain…and it’s all downhill from there.
But can you escape all of this? Of course you can.
We all know that it’s impossible to eat no sugar at all. It’s pretty inescapable, and who doesn’t love a good gelato here and there? The point is to reduce your overall sugar intake to a reasonable level.
The first step is to get your sugar naturally. Got a craving for sweets? Grab a piece of fruit. Yes, there’s sugar in it, but it’s natural and unrefined. That way, you’re getting nutrients out of it as well.
The second step is to eat as little packaged food as possible and load up on produce. But when you do buy prepared food or canned products, read the nutrition label. If you are picking up a jar of tomato sauce and it has 50g of sugar, you know there’s something wrong.
*Note: Sugar hides behind many different words such as fructose, sucrose, [high fructose] corn syrup, dextran, diatase, evaporated cane juice, fruit juice concentrates, and glucose, just to name a few.
The trick is to be educated so you can make smart choices. Don’t let your pasta become dessert.
Sources: Fed Up Documentary and Dr. Robert Lustig, UC San Francisco, Princeton Study