Believe it or not you are a culprit of actively promoting an addictive substance in your home, without even realizing it. Baked into your favorite sweets, stirred into you morning coffee, and enjoyed in some places you wouldn’t even think to look for it, refined white sugar is much more serious than previously thought. It’s something so simple and innocent looking from afar and yet when you see what it can do to your mind and body it doesn’t seem so innocent anymore. Worst of all the addiction level of this food item borders on grotesque and has been slipping under the radar for years. Now, you may be thinking to yourself that a little bit of this substance here and there won’t hurt you, but when you look at the effects on a long term scale, it’s not a pretty picture to imagine.
More Addictive Than Cocaine
If you’re looking for sources to back this fact up, brace yourself for some disturbing news because newspapers, scientific magazines, and many different online resources all tend to claim that this seemingly harmless food additive is, in fact, more addictive than cocaine. It seems too surprising to be true, and yet if you made the attempt to cut it out of your diet at a moment’s notice you might find yourself struggling a little bit more than previously anticipated. Mark Hyman, M.D. of The New York Daily News says: “Unlike cigarettes, the warnings about sugar are mere whispers at best. Yet sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine, and Americans are consuming 152 pounds of sugar a year — double what the Spanish eat!”
It isn’t just Americans that need to watch how much of the white stuff they’re emptying into their mouths, but North America does seem to be one of the guiltiest continents when facing the facts about sugar consumption. And although taking the sudden initiative to kick the habit can seem like a good idea straight away, you’re going to find yourself facing a few symptoms of withdrawal due to the high level of addictiveness. Headaches, nausea, irritability, insomnia, an inability to properly focus, and lower levels of alertness can all come along with quitting cold turkey.
Sad Side Effects
The symptoms of withdrawal aren’t the only side effects that you’ll face in this battle against simple carbohydrates either. Obvious health issues such as obesity, especially in children, is one of the most obvious and disheartening troubles of all, but it plagues adults and can lead to diabetes and many other problem areas as well. Cycling Weekly reports: “A growing body of research has found links between high sugar intake and an increased risk of health problems including obesity, heart disease, cancer and even Alzheimer’s.”
It’s a lot of information to take in all at once, but if you really sit down and consider how sugar levels effect insulin production, as well as neurological chemicals such as dopamine in the body, it’s not too difficult to discern that there could be many different physical and mental disruptions to overcome.
Where It Hides
It’s one of the easiest additives to spot when you’re buying it in big white bags, but it’s not so clear when you’re trying to find it on a food label. You’ll be shocked at the number of prepackaged meals, non-dessert foods, and even beverages that are jam packed full of simple sugars. Cereal, sauces, crackers, bread, muffins, yogurt, and even different milk products. You’ve got to train your eye to pick out words like sucrose, dextrose, syrup, cane juice, and many other sneaky terms that creep onto packaging unnoticed.
Making A Permanent Change
As mentioned above, there’s a drastic chance that trying to remove sugar from your diet will result in a few less than positive withdrawal symptoms, but the good news is that once it’s out of your system you’re free of these bad feelings and can live your life feeling much more healthy and full of vigor. One of the biggest mistakes many people make globally when trying to change eating habits or falling into bad diet trends is kicking this sugary habit for a short time period. Roller coaster activities with the sweet stuff is almost as bad as ingesting it in the first place because it can have some pretty bad side effects on your body and health. Eliza Barclay of NPR writes: “Eliminating sugar from the diet forever may sound draconian to some, given just how prevalent desserts and sweet treats are in our environment and our culture. But Gearhardt agrees with Avena that for some, it’s better to make a consistent lifestyle change than to flip-flop.”
You’ve more than likely heard before that when you’re trying to lose weight it’s better to make a life change that will last then to try something for a short time and quit it. Flip flopping about sugar can actually cause you to gain weight and play havoc with your insulin levels, leaving you biologically confused about how much fats to burn and which to hang onto, as well as how much energy your body needs and what should be stored away for later. Think about the addictive nature of alcohol and how alcoholics are deterred from entering bars or socializing with drinkers while they’re trying to get clean. Alcoholism never goes away and is constantly waiting in the background to be reactivated by a small sip of something that shouldn’t be imbibed. Sugar is similar and needs to be taken seriously, because having a little bit now and then if you’re already addicted could land you back on the train to obesity.