Sugar. It’s the Bain of my existence. The Alpha to my Omega, Jelly to my peanut butter, my better-half, and my evil twin. I hate it, I love it, I wish it never existed and yet I cannot live without it. It’s taken me over a decade to realize that sugar was the cause of most of my health problems and even worse, my biggest addiction. Most Americans share this addiction, some don’t know it, others don’t want to admit it. It is so addictive primarily because it affects neurological sensors like opium and research in rats linked the effects of sugar withdrawals to those of amphetamine, nicotine, and alcohol. You ever eat something and instantly feel better? It’s like a little hug for your brain that turns into a big hug. Most of us don’t realize the hold sugar has over us. In fact, we are still being taught in schools that we need to limit our fat intake, carbohydrates are necessary for life and sugar is okay, in moderation. Ever see an addict have anything in moderation? The truth about sugar is that we were lied to, and we have been repeating this lie, over and over for more than 50 years. It’s time we stop.
In 1965 we had two prominent studies: John Yudkin believed added sugars increased serum triglyceride levels and heart attack rates; And Ancel Keys theorized that total fat, saturated fat, and dietary cholesterol caused the problem. John was an attack on the sugar industry and had to be stopped.
Also In 1965, the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) published its review of these studies. They subsequently spent $600 000 ($5.3 million in 2016 dollars) to teach “people who had never had a course in biochemistry… that sugar is what keeps every human being alive and with energy to face our daily problems.”
Industry has a habit of manipulating or burying data that goes against its theories and that could lead to unfavorable (to their profits) regulations. While most people are aware of industry wars denying links between cigarette smoking and cancer, psychiatric medications and suicide, pharmaceutical drugs and death or birth defects, we’re still under the belief that sugar is a healthy treat and we need it to fuel our cells, especially our brain. Until we become aware of truth, we will always remain a dollar figure to those above.
By 1977, the Dietary Guidelines for America committee made it official: Get the fat out of food. Since “everyone knows” fat is bad—food labels prominently in BIG BOLD FONT mark items “low-fat,” “reduced fat” or “fat-free. Fast forward to today, we are in an obesity crisis. We are in the midst of an epidemic of diabetes, metabolic syndrome and the likes. Instead of learning the truth about fats and sugar, we have been forced fed a narrative for so long and continue to be led down this path. Not only are saturated fats essential for proper cellular and hormonal function, but they also provide a concentrated source of energy in your diet that does not cause a surge in blood sugar or insulin, which means they help you lose excess pounds and maintain a healthy weight.
The problem came in when we removed the healthy fats from our treats and replaced it with zero fat sugars like corn syrup. For decades we fed our children “healthy fruit juices”. I remember a lady at the WIC office telling me how important juice was for my 2-year-old. I wanted to scream. I realize it’s a narrative that we have been repeating for 50 years now but please realize: liquid calories whether it’s orange juice, apple juice, celery juice, it is still sugar. And it works differently than solid foods since there is no fiber: The sugar is absorbed immediately. Blood sugars rise quickly.
As a child raised in the 80s, I often wonder how different things might have been if we were given the truth, or better yet, allowed to have all the information and come to our own conclusions. I struggled throughout my adult life with obesity, with proper nutrition and like so many other Americans, felt I was doing what was correct. How many of us laughed at the quack doctor by the name of Atkins?! The idea that we could in theory eat all the bacon we wanted and lose weight! I remember doctors who told me when I weighed over 300 pounds to eat a balanced meal of oatmeal with brown sugar and a glass of juice. One can’t help but wonder “What If” What If I was told to limit, if not eliminate all sugar in my diet? That yes, a caloric deficit is key, however it is not the only tool for weight loss. I urge any of you who are in the beginning stages of your journey to read, watch, and research all you can so you can draw your own conclusions and do what is best for your body. If you believe you are addicted to sugar and you are struggling to find help, we are here for you. Reach out anytime.
Strange, E. (2010). 13 facts about sugar addiction. Stress Explained – How to Manage, Prevent, Reduce & Cope with Stress. Retrieved February 12, 2022, from https://www.stress-explained.com/facts-sugar-addiction.html
Marie, M. (2010). Sugar industry lies: Why fat is not the enemy. https://synergynutrition.info/2018/02/24/weight-loss-sugar-lies/. Retrieved February 12, 2022, from https://synergynutrition.info/2018/02/24/weight-loss-sugar-lies/