sugar | addiction

My name is Melissa and I am addicted to sugar.

As part of my health overhaul I’m taking affirmative action on the white stuff; kicking my sweet-tooth’s arse to banish it once and for all from my diet.

Lately I’ve been reading a lot on sugar. Journo Sarah Wilson has recently written a book on her successful ousting of sugar. And not just the white stuff. She’s banished all forms of sugar from her life – the simple sugars (sucrose, fructose, malts & honey), hidden sugars (cereals, condiments & other everyday foods) & even the good sugars found in fruit.

My sugar addiction is mostly aimed at lollies. I crave lollies with an all-consuming madness. I can’t think of anything else until I satiate that fix. Give me gummy-anything & I’m your best friend. But it doesn’t stop there. I drink Pepsi-Max and fresh juice, eat blueberry muffins and fat-free yogurt flavoured by artificial sweetener. While I’m not willing to go as far as banishing natural sugars from my diet like those found in fresh fruit (and the occasional square of dark chocolate), I am committed to significantly reducing and in most cases completely eliminating refined sugar and chemical sweetners (like aspartame, splenda, saccharin, etc) from my diet & kitchen.

The effect of sugar on the human body is well documented. According to Australians consume a staggering average of 53kg of sugar per year! It’s not as much as Americans who consume on average 81kgs (180 lbs) per year. Health issues are a key concern. According to Brett Blumenthal’s Sheer Balance blog simple sugars can “contribute to and/or aggravate health problems, including: asthma, mood disorders, mental illness, nervous disorders, diabetes, heart disease, gallstones, hypertension, and arthritis.”

For me personally, sugar impacts my natural insulin levels in a bad way. It took me a while to realise what was occurring, but after I’ve had a lolly binge I get a huge headache, become grumpy & moody and then slump into lethargy.

If I don’t take hold of my sugar dependence I am at huge risk of developing Hyperglycemia that will eventually lead to Type2 Diabetes.

The various types of sugars and their composition can be a little overwhelming. As humans (and not robots) we need to realise that we will still want to enjoy the sweeter side of life on occasion, but it’s important to understand our options. Here is a table of natural sweeteners courtesy of Sheer Balance.

For me, the challenge isn’t just readjusting my choices, denying my cravings and physically cutting out the sugar. I will also need to stop associating activities with eating sugary food; like eating a bag of lollies at the movies, or getting a sugary snack from the petrol station when taking a road-trip up the freeway, or having an iced cupcake when taking Harley for a play-date at the dog park cafe.

I found this beautifully designed and interactive website called SugarCoated which lists a bunch of facts on sugar. Reminding myself of these facts helps keep my cravings in check.

  • fructose in high fructose corn syrup keeps you feeling hungry after you’ve eaten
  • refined carbs & starches = sugar. both are rapidly broken down in your body and cause a dramatic rise in your blood sugar level
  • sugar can weaken eyesight
  • studies have found a strong link between high sugar consumption and risk of both depression and schizophrenia 
  • by the year 2015, 75% of adults and 24% of children/adolescents will be overweight or obese
  • sugar can impair the structure of your DNA
  • 98% of adult diabetes is considered to be purely diet-related
  • refined sugar is more addictive than cocaine 
  • sugar consumption has increased more than 1500% in the last 200 years
  • people who consume 2 or more carbonated drinks or diluted sweetened fruit drinks a day have almost double the risk of developing pancreatic cancer
  • 335ml or 12 oz of apple/grape/orange juice has the same amount of sugar as same qty of soda
  • there are 40 kinds of caloric sweeteners on the market today
  • any food that contains more that 15g of sugar should be considered dessert
  • sugar can cause an increase in delta, alpha & theta brain waves which can alter your mind’s ability to think clearly (sugar high anyone???)
  • sugar can cause toxemia in pregnancy
  • artificial sweeteners increase caloric intake, causing a loss in our bodies’ natural ability to ‘count’ calories
  • sugar causes tooth decay and periodontal disease 
Makes you think about drinking that Diet Coke huh? 

5 thoughts on “sugar | addiction

  1. I try to stick to organic cane sugar in my hot tea, etc. In the U.S. (I don’t know about Australia) high fructose corn syrup is subsidized by the government, so it’s in everything! Cereal, bread, ketchup, jam, soda. So it’s hard to avoid, but I try my best and end up paying more, natch. Imported Mexican Coke is made of sugar, btw, which is funny–I know refined sugar is bad, too, but I’d rather it than HFCS. Not that I’m a big soda drinker (any more). I hear one’s body reacts to HFCS like a foreign substance and it causes inflammation, which of course makes one sluggish, sick…and fatter! And no-calorie artificial sweeteners (e.g., aspartame) are even worse as you pointed out. I’m told that they’re sheer hell on one’s digestive system. They go through you like a rock, hence the zero calories. I have digestive issues, so my doctor has sworn me off artificial sweeteners for life…and milk…and coffee…and–for Pete’s sake–ice cream! 😦 Good, well-researched post.

    1. that is amazing. but when you start to look into it all, it’s like a Morgan Spurlock documentary waiting to happen. sweeteners and additives that are created in labs to create mass consumer addiction.
      I feel sad for you about the ice-cream. Like is so much better with ice-cream! maybe you could make your own!

      1. I’m learning all about sorbet. There are some wild ones like blackberry Cabernet. There are also desserts made from soy and almond milks, but they’re not that good, really. Silk is good in cereal. I’ve heard awful things about they soy industry, though! Gasoline-like chemicals used to process soy beans. Oh, it never ends! If I had a yard, I’d grow a garden–maybe I’d grow some sugarcane!

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