Sweet Tooth, Bitter Harvest

Sweetie, Sugar-pie, Honey……there’s no end to these sugar-related terms of endearment. To say that someone is “sweet” is always a positive, unless it’s a potential girlfriend describing you, which translates as “No way!”

Despite our love of sugary terms, we are beginning to understand that our sweet old friend is plotting our bitter end!

Added Sugar, that’s sugar that we consume on top of the natural sugars found in fruits, vegetables, grains etc, is responsible for a whole host of health problems. The word “Added” is key here, our bodies need sugar to survive and this is derived from blood glucose, which is a result of the digestion of complex carbohydrates in our diets. Today we consume about 70 Kg of added sugar per year! In 1900 it was 40Kg; in 1800 it was 10Kg; in 1700 it was 1.5Kg! so our consumption has risen to astronomical levels. This is why the western world is now suffering an epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer etc. If you try to kick the Sugar habit you’ll find it an up hill struggle. Because of the biochemical pathways in the brain that sugar activates, it has been shown that sugar can be as addictive as Cocaine!

One of the biggest culprits for this rapid rise in sugar consumption is the advent of the ubiquitous High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)  which is present in many sweet things especially fizzy drinks. This refined form of fructose cannot be metabolized by any cells other than the liver. This is why HFCS is the 2nd biggest cause of fatty liver after alcohol. In fact HFCS programs our bodies to produce more fat!

With all of this information one would think that the best thing to do is to switch to the diet drinks with “zero sugar”. Well if there’s one thing worse than drinking sugary drinks, it’s having drinks with artificial sweeteners. These chemicals such as Aspartame are responsible for minor problems such as palpitations, headaches, abdominal pains etc. More seriously they are implicated in conditions such as brain cancers, seizures, strokes, depression & anxiety. A recent Harvard study showed a link between Aspartame and Leukemia in Men! Artificial sweeteners are especially toxic for children as their brains are developing and are able to absorb the toxin a lot easier than adult brains.

The craziest thing about artificial sweeteners is that all the research studies show that they cause even MORE WEIGHT GAIN than sugary drinks! They increase our appetite for sweet things, so we end up consuming more! So you go through all of those health risks thinking that you’ll lose weight only to find that you put more weight on!

So what’s the answer for those with a sweet tooth? 
  1. If you must have something sweet, try increasing your fruit intake.
  2. Stevia is a natural, non-toxic sweet ingredient.
  3. Try to avoid drinking fizzy drinks of any kind; it’s one of the quickest ways to lose that gut.

As a “Sweet tooth” myself I know how difficult it can be to kick the habit, but by cutting down our sugar intake gradually our taste buds start to adapt and eventually you no longer have that craving. So if you want a Sweet Life, get rid of the Sweet Tooth.