Recent studies have found that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine or alcohol according to the US National Institute on Drug Abuse. For some people, eating foods high in sugar may produce chemical changes in the brain’s “reward” center causing addictive cravings. Sugar is sugar … don’t be fooled by replacing white table sugar with honey, agave, or brown sugar. Those may have some nutritional value, but they are still sugar with calories and addictive qualities. In fact, sugar overuse may sometimes lead to problems other than addiction like diabetes and liver disease.
SUGAR IN TWO FORMS
WHAT FREE SUGAR DOES TO OUR BODIES
Consuming excessive sugar over long periods of time stimulates our brain activity and hormone levels. This increases glucose levels which lead to the pancreas releasing insulin. This causes the body to retain calories as fat, causing weight gain. Carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, chips, and fries process slower than free sugar, however, still break down into sugar. The result: the excess weight puts strain on our joints and we crave more sugar.
Since these sugary foods stimulate the same areas of the brain as drugs of abuse, they may cause loss of control over consumption and cravings. Currently the average American consumes almost 20 teaspoons of sugar every day; that’s over 65 pounds of sugar a year, per person!
SO HOW DO WE WIN THIS WAR?
The good news is that when cutting back, no math or calorie counting is involved in eliminating sugar. Try replacing sugar with tempting flavors like ginger, lemon, vanilla bean, nutmeg, or cinnamon. Bottom line, the easiest way to cut back is to avoid processed sugar whenever possible and eat fresh fruits instead.
Taking care of our bodies through eating well and proper exercise is paramount to healthy bones and muscles. If you experience pain or discomfort in your joints or muscles, give us a call at 941-951-2663 for an appointment. At Sarasota Orthopedic Associates we have four locations and offer same day appointments when needed.
Sources: WebMD; Authority Nutrition; American Diabetes Association; US National Institute on Drug Abuse; World Health Organization