We all love a bit of sugar, whether it be natural or added. This blog post looks at the risks of having too much sugar and the ‘addictive’ qualities it possesses.
In toxicology, there is a guiding principle that says, “the dose makes the poison”. Even sugar is unlikely to be toxic in small and occasional doses.
The general rule of thumb is that less than 5% of your daily calories should come from added sugars.
Unfortunately, for most Americans, that number is 3-4 times higher-hovering around 16-20%.
I would like to stress that the less than 5% rule does not apply to ‘intact’ sugars and starches that we find in a variety of whole plant-based foods including fruits, beans, peas, lentils, rice, and potatoes. The less than 5% rule applies to added sugars only.
Do Not Deny Your Sweet Tooth – Satisfy It
The problem is how we satisfy it.
We crave sugar because unprocessed, unrefined carbohydrates are the most efficient fuel and source of energy for our bodies. Several of our organs, like the brain, and nervous system, can run only on the glucose derived from fruits and/or starches. So the next time you feel that sweet tooth act up, why not just pass on the sugar substitute and instead satisfy this craving by reaching for an ‘intact’ sugar or carbohydrate?
Like fresh fruit, starchy veggies or legumes.
Whole foods high in starches and intact sugars are filling, naturally sweet, have zero negative health effects, and allow our body to process sugar the way it was meant to – naturally.
Are You Addicted to Sugar?
The addictive nature of sugar is the stuff of legend.
In fact, sugar is often compared to drugs.
And frankly, with good reason.
That is because eating sugar causes immediate changes in the brain’s chemistry (similar to what is seen with narcotics use) which produces heightened pleasure.
How to Kick the Sugar Habit
At the end of the day, the best way out of the sugar cycle is to retrain our taste buds by eating only whole foods (fruits, veggies and starches) that contain natural sweetness.
If you are used to adding heaps of sugar to your coffee or cereal in the morning, you may find it difficult at first. Just give your taste buds a bit of time to adapt. The key is to eat whole sweets in the form of fruits and veggies. The more whole foods you eat, the fewer processed, stripped and sugary foods you will crave.
The first step in doing that is to make a conscious decision to change. You need to learn the best way to change your habits as well as how to deal with cravings.
Read more at UC Davis
Author: Basil (Volunteer)