Not long ago, fat was believed to be the primary dietary deterrent to good health, and was held responsible for the number of overweight people in today’s society. Salt came under scrutiny next, believed as it is to cause high blood pressure. At present, the popular culprit is sugar, and the blame today, laid as it is at the granular sweetener’s door, may well be appropriately placed. A little bit of sugar is sweet, but a lot of sugar is clearly detrimental to one’s health. The average person not only consumes far too much sugar, but likely far more than he or she knows. Sugar, it would appear, is hiding. Everywhere.
The average person, if they examine the label on the foods they eat at all, has learned to look for total calorie count and perhaps fat content. They don’t think to look for sugar, because, until recently, sugar hasn’t received the attention that calories and fat have. Sugar, however, is likely to contribute far more to a person’s overall body fat than either calories or fat. Why is this? Largely because the energy provided by sugar is addictive. It tastes good. The energy rush is dependable. Unfortunately, the fat gained is also guaranteed, unless a person uses the energy produced by the sugar before the body turns it into fatty acids and then into stored fat.
The amount of sugar approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for daily human consumption is six teaspoons. The average person consumes five, six, even seven times that each day! As astonishing as that sounds, it should be understood that most people, while realizing that what they’re consuming contains sugar, have no idea just how much sugar is involved. Sugar is calorie dense and energy rich. It doesn’t cause Type 2 Diabetes or liver disease by itself, but in conjunction with other carbohydrates and fats, is a primary contributor to increased body fat which in turn results in diabetes, heart disease, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which can be fatal.
Excess sugar is bad for one’s teeth and stresses one’s pancreas. If sugar abuse continues unabated over a long period of time it almost inevitably leads to diabetes, and like as not, the need to take insulin via injection. The addiction to sweet treats is frequently physical. No matter whether the treat be a plate of cookies, a slice of cake, or a bowl full of candy – the most difficult aspect to quitting sweet treats is dealing with one’s craving for them. MRIs illustrate how the brain’s reward centers light up when stimulated by sugar. People are hard-wired to have an instinctive desire for high-energy foods.
Here’s what you need to know: One, despite claims to the contrary, sugar is sugar. Honey, maple syrup, or brown sugar are still sugar. Two, so-called savory foods are filled with sugar as well. A bow of bran flakes has three teaspoons. Thai noodles? 9.5. How about a single serving can of baked beans? Don’t choke: 12.5. It all has to do with what is referred to as the “bliss” point at which consumers prefer the product’s sugar content. Worst of all? Fizzy drinks. There are scientists today who will maintain that these sugar-laden drinks are the worst offenders of all. They addict people; their high sugar content not only fails to satisfy, but may even cause people to eat more than they would have had they drunk a sugar-free alternative.
Some studies show sugar to be eight times more addictive than cocaine. Sugar is present in nearly all processed foods, even those one might think has none. It is important that someone wishing to kick the sugar habit become skilled at reading package labels to calculate the total sugar content. The best way to avoid sugar altogether is to learn to prepare one’s food from scratch. Fortunately, with more sharing such dietary concerns, this isn’t as hard as it might seem. Cooking shows, cookbooks, and websites abound that teach people how to prepare fresh, nutritious, delicious meals from scratch. Neither is it necessary to spend all one’s time or money doing so. With the help of a freezer, even working people can prepare sugar-free versions of their own ready meals in advance.