Our obsession with sugar in this country is frightening. It is in our faces every check-out counter; we use it for rewarding children’s behavior and; we turn to it as our friend when our moods are low. The average amount of sugar consumed by 1 person in the 1800’s was 4 pounds a year. Today, the average amount of refined sugar per person in the U.S. is a staggering 179+ pounds per year.
We may have reduced our fat intake by 2% in the last 10 years, but we have increased the obesity rate by 20+%. We have been focusing on making fat the culprit for disease, when in fact it is sugar.
Ever since we started focusing on lower our fat consumption in this country, the food manufacturers have been focusing on improving taste while taking out the fat. The result has been larger quantities of sugar added to these products. Because these products have no fat in them, you end up eating a much larger quantity to satiate your appetite or craving.
Sugar is more like a drug; it has no nutritional value at all. Not only does it cause dental problems, but sugar consumption is connected to heart disease, high blood pressure, ADD, depression and cancer. Sugar is acidic and diseases including cancer feed off of this acidity and spread. It spikes blood sugar levels causing hypoglycemia and diabetes. Other sugar-related ailments include:
· mood swings
· yeast infections
The reduction of sugar does not mean we have to give up sweetness. Moderation is the key, and consuming a well-balanced diet that focuses on nutritionally feeding our cells and alkalizing our bodies. We can do this by eating a diet rich in complex carbohydrates and eliminating white processed foods from our diets, such as white rice, white bread, and white pasta. These foods quickly convert to sugar and inhibit the body’s blood sugar and fat control systems to work properly. Complex carbohydrates are those foods which digest over a longer period of time because the sugars they contain are released more slowly into the bloodstream. These foods supply longer lasting energy throughout the day without the need for a sugar “pick-me-up”. Complex carbohydrates include whole grains such as:
· brown rice
· alternative grain pastas such as brown rice, spelt and whole grain
WHATAEVER WE CONSUME BECOMES WHO WE ARE…our thoughts and emotions, cells, hair and skin. Listen to your body – it knows best. A nutritious meal should leave you feeling happy, energetic and calm. Be aware of how you feel 2 hours after consuming a dessert. Are you cranky, tired, or depressed? Your body is telling you that whatever you fed it is not working. Eating three balanced meals a day is a good start to avoiding cravings for sugar. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, you can try
sweet potatoes, yams, squash, carrots, dates or pineapple. Adding spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and coriander to your meals can also alleviate the need for processed sugar. Using sweeteners such as agave (from the cactus plant), raw honey, maple syrup and stevia is a smart way of replacing all the white and brown sugar in your kitchen.
More than 20 years ago, Dr. Nakamura, a Japanese Acupuncturist, told me that we crave sugar when really what we want is love. Loving ourselves through nutrition is far easier than abusing ourselves with an empty additive.