Sugar: the overlooked addiction, wrecking havoc on health in America

In the US sugary candy is a typical Halloween treat

It’s Halloween week, so what do we think about? Scary movies, costumes, jack-o-lanterns, trick-or-treating and of course candy! Well you are doing your little ones (and actually yourself, cause I’m sure you never sneak in and munch on some of their treats) a huge disservice. We look down on drug addicts and alcoholics, yet we laugh at the idea of sugar addiction, it’s a joke right. People are always joking about their sweet tooths, but since obesity is the biggest health problem (and causes other health problems and chronic diseases) in America, I don’t think that it is something to joke about. Eating sugary foods releases natural opioids in the your brain, causing a feeling of pleasure and making you crave more (kind of like when drug addicts get high, than they’ll do anything to get that feeling coming back). What happens when you consume sugar? Your body releases insulin, which is converted into instant energy, which provides you with that high or jolt that you get after eating things like candies and cakes. After these high levels are released then blood sugar levels decrease rapidly, leaving you with the crash you get shortly afterward. What’s worse is it activates areas in the brain that reinforces the behavior. Like heroin your body learns to want and need more of the substance that makes it feel good.

Ice cream produces same pleasure feelings as a crack pipe does for crack addicts

Brain scans have shown that normal patients shown pictures of ice cream generate the same feelings of pleasure, as crack addicts that were shown crack pipes (is that not scary, shouldn’t you be appalled at the idea of eating sugar then?).  You can tell that it’s addictive too! Ever tried giving up pop and had those crashing headaches and withdrawals (just like recovering alcoholics going through detox).  It over stimulates neurotransmitters until lose proper function, develop a tolerance, and your mind becomes dependent on sugar to function. It leads to a myriad of health problems:

  • tooth decay
  • gum disease
  • type 2 Diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • heart disease
  • depression
  • mood swings
  • irritability
  • depletion of mineral levels
  • hyperactivity (think of all those sugared up kids)
  • anxiety
  • depletion of adrenal glands
  • obesity
  • high cholesterol
  • hyperglcemia
  • insomnia
  • aggression
  • neurotransmitter deficiencies
  • asthma
  • alcoholism
  • fibromyalgia
  • hormone imbalance

If all this isn’t bad enough it is one of the major causes of degenerative diseases, and affects the function of:

  • nervous system
  • endocrine system
  • metabolic system
  • cardiovascular system
  • gastrointestinal system
  • immune system
  • liver
  • kidneys
  • colon
  • pancreas

Sugar isn’t even a food, it’s a chemical, providing your body with absolutely no nutritional value (it just hooks you and makes you fat). Obviously sugar is addictive to most of the population since most are overweight or obese; and the average American consumes 160 teaspoons of sugar a year! Kids get an extra 23 teaspoons of sugar a day and for some 1/4 of their calories in a day come from sugar. Most don’t realize how much sugar they’re consuming, because they’re unaware that it’s hidden in most processed foods that are sold. Sugar can be found in: ketchup, cereal (terrible, one of the worst things to eat), deli meats, spaghetti sauce, soup, salad dressing, peanut butter, pancake syrup, bread, yogurt, and even salt. Those ‘treats’ that your kids will be scarfing down this weekend are packed with sugar! Is this really what you should be allowing them? If you’re still not convinced here are the numbers for some popular candy items:

Grab a plum instead, it's got 1/10 the calories, 1 tsp of natural sugars, and actual health benefits like antioxidants

  • MMMs (1 package)= 240 calories, 34 g  carbs and 7.4 tsp sugar
  • Dots (1 box)= 220 calories, 33 g carbs, and 13 tsp sugar
  • Snicker (1 bar)= 296 calories, 26 g carbs, and 6 tsp sugar
  • Butterfinger (1 fun size)- 100 calories, 13.5 g carbs and 2.5 tsp sugar
  • Reese (1 cup)= 110 calories, 11 carbs, and 2.15 tsp sugar
  • Skittles (1.5 oz)= 170 calories, 39 g carbs, and 7.6 tsp sugar
  • Spree (15 pieces)= 60 calories, 13 g carbs and 2.6 tsp sugar
  • Candy Corn (26 pieces)= 150 calories, 38 g carbs, and 6.7 tsp sugar
  • licorice (4 sticks)= 160 calories, 36 g carbs, and 4.5 tsp sugar
  • Runts (12 pieces)= 60 calories, 14 g carbs, and 3 tsp sugar

This is ridiculous, not just the sugar, but look at all the empty calories you’re consuming. Plus the carbohydrates! I try to eat under 50 grams of carbohydrates a day, and 4 strands of licorice alone contain 36 grams (that’s 72% of what I eat in a day) and most aren’t likely to stop at 4 licorice, just like they’re not going to count out 12 tiny runts. Seriously, this is disgusting! Tomorrow we’ll have tips for overcoming sugar addiction, but I would reconsider the candy binge this weekend (that in reality will probably lead to more sugar eating).

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