America’s Sugar Crisis – A STICKY Subject!

Oh my, whenever this topic comes up it seems to instantly create anxiety for my clients.   I completely understand their fear, being that I used to be the biggest sugar addict out there!  The topic of sugar really is a sticky one.   In fact, on my transition plan (Members – Ditch the SAD Transition Tab), you will see that refined sugar is the very last transition to make.  It is also the one transition that has the most time allotted for it.  Ramping people up by first successfully transitioning all other areas of  nutrition helps prepare them for the challenge of sugar transitioning.  This approach has proven to have high success rates because it is easier for people!

When dealing with the topic of sugar, I think it is very important to address two points up front.  The first point is that I am not a Sugar Cop and I am not going to bust you or  tell you not to have something.  What you choose to do with your body and what you put in it is your choice.  My goal is simply to educate you and help you choose substitutions for something that you may be craving as you transition.

As a Nutritional Therapist Practitioner, trained by NTA, we were taught a major principle to NEVER TAKE AWAY A FOOD– instead find a healthier SUBSTITUTION.    My goal will be to work alongside of you to help you learn options for better choices.  Instead of reaching for an Oreo cookie, I will encourage you eat a homemade chocolate chip cookie made with organic coconut flour, natural unrefined sugar (such as honey or maple syrup) and organic chocolate chips.

The second point that is necessary to discuss up front, is that refined sugar (standard white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.) is truly a poison to our bodies.  I will say this again….REFINED SUGAR IS A POISON TO OUR BODIES.  Our bodies were never made to consume such large amounts of sugar.

Refined sugar got introduced to human diets in the early 1600’s.  That really wasn’t all that long ago if you think about the history of mankind.  Actually, in 1821, the average consumption of sugar was just 10 lbs. of sugar per person per year.    We are way beyond that now!  In 1980, the average was 120 lbs. (alot of this was due to the low fat craze – we will discuss that in a bit) and in 2004 it averaged 141 lbs. of sugar a year per person.  To top that, American consumption of sugar currently averages 196 lbs. of sugar a year per person! This is out of control.

Never before in the history of mankind have we had an EMERGENCY need to lower blood sugar.  The stats in terms of Diabetes are absolutely horrific.  Did you know that on average, 1 in 3 children in the US born in 2000 will become diabetic?**  1 in 3 children!  Parents!!!!  Wake up!!!!  PLEASE don’t feed your children sugary pasteurized fruit juices, processed cereals, cookies, crackers, chips and sugar laced pastries!   Help your children be healthy and live full lives! Help them by giving them REAL food and less processed sugary junk.

In terms of adults and diabetes, the stat is not much better.  In people over the age of 20, diabetes has increased from 1.6 million cases in 1958 to 18.8 million in 2010.***  The question that I keep on asking is when are people going to wake up and put a stop to this madness?  However, maybe the solution isn’t so simple….

I don’t believe there is a more powerful substance in our food supply than sugar.   Truly, people are ATTACHED to it! From early childhood, sugar and sugary concoctions are connected with rewards and comfort.   This connection is very powerful and the attachment to sugar moves beyond just a physical response (which you will learn is already extremely powerful on its own) to an entirely different level with an emotional component.

It is almost impossible to think of most major life events such as birthdays, weddings & holidays without thinking about some type of sugary treat attached to it.  The range is broad if you really stop to think about it for a minute.  Starting with Valentine’s Day and the heart shaped boxes of chocolates, to Easter baskets filled with jelly beans, 4th of July whipped cream cakes and ice cream, Halloween candies, Thanksgiving pies to Candy Canes and cookies for Santa and his Reindeer…. It is amazing to realize how much sugar is involved in emotional events.

Take the simple, yet grand, tradition of the celebration of life with birthday cake.   Just the thought of the entire experience, starting with the cake coated with sugary buttercream frosting, evokes the feeling of love and happiness.  The glow of the sparkly candles goes hand in hand with the warmth of loved ones singing well wishes.   This is just one single example showing how tradition of food tied with emotion runs deep!  (Although if you only had a special treat of cake once a year on your birthday – you would be doing pretty good!  I think you would be under the 1821 average of 10 lbs. per person per year if you did that!)

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All of these holidays and life events create an unavoidable emotional attachment to certain foods.  Unfortunately, most of these foods are sugar based.   Would it be the same warm experience to have Birthday Barbeque Chicken?  I don’t think so!

Even further complicating the bond that people have to sugar is the fact that the bond generally surpasses emotional attachment.  The scary fact that we have come to learn from science is that our attachment to sugar is due, in a majority of cases, to an actual ADDICTION! * Refined sugar, often times referenced as WHITE POISON  by the holistic community, has been proven in clinical studies to be more addictive than cocaine!*  Certainly, after learning about how damaging it is to our bodies, I do believe that refined sugar, especially High Fructose Corn Syrup, should also be considered illegal!

 

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Never before in the history of mankind have we had an EMERGENCY need to LOWER blood sugar in society.  How can it be that we have increased so dramatically in just under 200 years from an average of 10 lbs. of sugar a year to 196 lbs. of sugar per person per year?   A major cause of the sharp increase came around the 1980’s with the LOW FAT CRAZE!

The low fat fad hit the markets and overnight everything became low fat or no-fat.  However, food manufacturers were very smart.  They realized that when they took fat of out foods, that the food lost its flavor!  Fat gives food flavor and low fat food didn’t taste as good!  You actually might remember back to that time in life (if you are old enough) and may remember seeing “New & Improved” on cartons and packages that were toting the low fat line.  The food manufacturers quickly learned that to make food taste good after fat was taken out, that they had to add sugar.  Sugar seemed to fit the bill for a perfect flavor substitute for fat.   It was both cheap and fat free.  However, this substitution was deceitful.  Yes, sugar is fat free but the body stores excess sugar as fat!   Can you say false advertising?

Another bonus that food manufacturers learned during the low fat fad is that people bought higher quantities of the low fat foods.  People were purchasing more of the food not solely because of the fad, but also because they were getting addicted to the extra sugar and they weren’t feeling full.  To compensate, they ate more servings and in response serving sizes got BIGGER. (As a side note:  check out this interesting post on McDonalds and Sugar….http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/you-illuminated/201108/7-things-mcdonald-s-knows-about-your-brain)

Fat is the nutrient that makes you feel full when you eat.   Since fat was removed from the low-fat or no-fat food, the feeling of fullness never arrived!  This then created the downward spiral of overeating, over consumption of sugar and the obesity and metabolic syndrome epidemic that we SADLY have in society today.

Over the next several days, I will be spending time on the Foundation of Blood Sugar Balance, nutrition and your health.

In the meantime, check out my NUTRITION tab to find healthy Carb and Natural Sugar options to guide you as you learn about sugar and nutrition.

 

Blessings & health,

Jen

 

*Sugar/Cocaine Reference http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000698

** JAMA 2003;290:1884-1890

*** http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2011.pdf

 

 

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