The Real Truth About Your Sugar Cravings
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
The Real Truth About Your Sugar CravingsThe Health Risks of Eating Too Much Sugar
During World War II, sugar and sweetened dairy products such as ice cream were rationed. Indeed, they were thought to be luxury items. Once the war ended, the restriction was lifted, and sugar consumption increased dramatically. Suddenly, highly sweetened foods—including refined, puffy, sweetened cereals and a number of brands of soda pop—began hitting America’s supermarket shelves. The switch from farm-grown foods to processed ones, where sugar was often used as a preservative and “flavor enhancer,” further shoved consumers down the high-sugar path, and coincided with a continual decline in our health.
Today it is well accepted that when we eat dietary sugar, it causes a yo-yo effect on our blood sugar. Dietary sugar creates a temporary spike in our glucose, followed by a dramatic drop in glucose, causing our energy to plummet. To regain energy, we crave and then eat another sweet-tasting food or drink that will send it soaring once again.
Overcoming Our Sugar Cravings
Most of us have been addicted to sugar since infancy, and now as we age, we are once again experiencing multiple epidemics of poor health, including obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and digestive diseases such as Crohn’s. Obviously, to reverse the aging process, we must stop the madness and avoid the large consumption of sugars in our diet. We must do so for our own well-being, but especially for the well-being of our children and grandchildren, because autism, obesity, diabetes, and cancer have now become their epidemics.
When you think about how much sugar is found in processed foods today, it’s pretty scary. Statistics say that more than 20 percent of the total calories we consume each day are from refined sugars. Sugar is hidden in our foods under the guise of sucrose, dextrose, maltose, sorbitol, turbinado—and more. In fact, each year the average person consumes his or her body weight in these empty, dangerous calories—plus more than 20 pounds of corn syrup.
The Health Risks of Eating Too Much Sugar
Dietary-sugar molecules bond to protein molecules and create “cross-linked proteins,” meaning that proteins start bonding to each other. This is called glycosylation (learn about the glycation theory of aging in my book, The Baby Boomer Diet. Basically, tissues stiffen and do not function efficiently. Cataracts are an example of stiffening of our eye lenses, and we lose our sight. Stiffening skin tissue becomes tough, yellow, and leathery. You can imagine what it looks like to see the results of cross-linked proteins accumulating in cartilage, lung tissue, arteries, and tendons.
Sugar hardens, weakens, and poisons every system in the body, including the endocrine system. As hormone production slowly fades away—especially in our adrenals and the pituitary, which produces growth hormone—our sex drive diminishes, men become impotent, and energy wanes, causing us to lose our ability to cleanse out toxins. We become more and more constipated, and our intestines fill with decaying fecal material. Signs that we are poisoning ourselves are gray hair, weak fingernails, bone loss, and sarcopenia (loss of lean muscle, replaced by fat). Perhaps worst of all is that our brains literally shrink and develop holes.
Because sugar is devoid of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, it creates an acidic body—and one day, a checkup at the doctor’s office reveals that we have cancer cells growing rapidly out of control. As powerful as any drug, sugar lifts us up, only to knock us right back down. It has long been known that sugar’s addictive properties and withdrawal symptoms are similar to narcotics. Are we shocked, then, that most of us are sugar addicts?
Sugar and the Principle of Balance
At Body Ecology, we are committed to helping you reduce your sugar consumption dramatically, and the Body Ecology way of eating is almost totally free of sugars. Yet, we also recognize the need that we humans have for the sweet taste. According to Ayurvedic medicine, we humans desire and even need six tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, pungent, and astringent. In a well-prepared meal, the Ayurvedic cook balances the sweet taste with the other tastes on the plate. With this balance, we feel satisfied, and our organs will be receiving what they need. In other words, the sweet taste is just as important as salty, bitter, sour, and so on, so we should not feel guilty when we desire it. It has a clear purpose along with all the other tastes and senses.
All foods have a positive and negative—a front and a back. In small amounts, sugar increases energy, especially in demanding situations such as physical labor or exercise. It also nourishes our sense organs and promotes strength. But it is well understood that sugar “increases tissue,” meaning it causes us to become larger, even obese. In addition, the character of this taste is cold, damp, and heavy on digestion. When there’s too much, we create an imbalance, experiencing lethargy, mucous conditions, constipation, and a general heaviness.
Overcoming Our Sugar Addiction
The first step in overcoming a serious sugar addiction is to quell our desire for it. The sour taste does just that. We can be satisfied by eating or drinking sour, fermented foods. Once you add fermented foods and beverages to your diet, you will begin to lose much of your desire for sweet foods. In fact, you will start to really be able to taste the natural sweetness in fruits and sweet vegetables and be perfectly satisfied with these. Candy bars, pastries, and colas will become overly sweet.
Have you ever noticed how, soon after a sugar binge, out of the blue you crave salty foods such as chips? Or you might suddenly begin to crave an animal-protein meal? These cravings are your body’s way of trying to maintain balance. Sea salt, an alkaline food, provides valuable minerals that are lost when acidic, mineral-leaching sugars are consumed. Animal proteins also contain salt and minerals in the blood.
Adrenal fatigue becomes the norm as we age, so to get a boost of temporary energy, many of us reach for sugar and/or salty foods. We seesaw back and forth, wanting both, but those sugary snacks that give us a short-lived boost of energy drain the adrenals even further, and a vicious cycle results. Fermented foods, on the other hand, help nourish the body so efficiently that our blood sugar stays stable, minerals are extracted and retained to build our adrenals, and sugar cravings disappear.
Dehydration – A Cause of Sugar Cravings
A major cause of cravings for sweets is that your body needs water. Before you succumb to a sugar craving, try this: Sit down for five or ten minutes and drink two glasses of mineral-rich water. You’ll be amazed by how well this works. You can also add stevia and lemon juice to your water to satisfy your sweet tooth. Even better, add a few ounces of a probiotic liquid such as young coconut kefir or Body Ecology’s CocoBiotic.
Sugar and the Principle of Acid and Alkaline
When there is too much sugar in your body, an overly acidic condition results. An acidic body provides an ideal haven for pathogens such as viruses, fungi, and cancer cells. Viruses, for example, have been shown to create serious chronic inflammation, which is a major cause of aging. They have been linked to heart disease as well. For more information about how to get your health back in balance and to get anti-aging tips, refer to my book, The Baby Boomer Diet, Body Ecology’s Guide To Growing Younger.
Donna Gates, M.Ed., ABAAHP, is the international best-selling author, A fellow with the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine, she is on a mission to change the way the world eats.