And fighting it is a struggle but concentrating on food that has lived on the earth or grown on it will help says nutritionist KRISTIAN GREY
‘I love the taste of sugar’. Now, as a nutritionist, this comment may come as a surprise to many people but if everyone was to be honest, I would guess that this admission applies to the majority of the population.
Sugar is one of those substances that has found its way not only into our food system, but into every aspect of our lives. Think about it for a moment; how do you celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter, christenings, family reunions and virtually every other social function in society?
And on the darker side of that, what is the first thing that many of us reach for when we are feeling sad, lonely, or just plain bored?
Quite simply, it is vast amounts of sugar. Sugar in the form of birthday cake, Christmas cake, christening cake, Easter eggs and ‘hey, I haven’t seen you for years, let’s go get some desert’ – yep, that is a thing.
If we are feeling sad, it’s a chocolate bar; bored, it might be that tub of ice cream in the freezer; lonely, that box of Celebrations (the clue is in the name) that will make life seem a little more interesting for a few minutes.
But the biggest question here is surely, ‘Why’? Why do we celebrate or commiserate by eating sugar? The answer is simple – it tastes great and makes us feel happy.
You see, when we consume sugar it releases the pleasure hormone dopamine – the moment we hit that ‘bliss point’. This is an industry term created by food manufacturers to describe the instant when you get that wonderful hit of sugar, fat (the bad kind) and all of the other ingredients thrown into your ‘treat’ of choice.
You taste it and it makes you want more, more, more and that is exactly what you are supposed to feel. You are not weak, you are not greedy, you are simply reacting the way food manufacturers want you to.
At that very moment, you are a sugar addict looking for your next ‘fix’. You see, as has been said before, sugar is an addictive substance and once you are hooked, you can look forward to all of the usual side-effects like mad-cravings and the shakes when you have been without it for a sustained period of time.
But the extra features you can look forward to with sugar addiction are metabolic disorder, weight gain and potentially Type 2 Diabetes and when you consider that more than half of the US alone suffers from obesity and is either pre-diabetic, or full-blown sufferers of the disease, it is no great stretch to think that you could suffer the same fate.
Nicolas Tzenios, whose website, ketoandorganiccyprus.com has just launched internationally, has done extensive research into the subject of sugar addiction and he says the only way to cure it, like with any addiction, is to eliminate it completely.
“A good metaphor which is used by many experts in this field is that of an alcoholic. An alcoholic, once they have kicked the habit, will not reward themselves with a few pints of lager, or a shot of vodka to celebrate, because they will experience those all-too-familiar feelings once again and will inevitably revert back to old habits,” he explains.
“The same can easily apply to sugar. If you eliminate it from your diet, your cravings for sugar will stop because you will have turned your body off to these types of food. However, if you ‘fall off the wagon’, those cravings will soon return and your addiction will have begun again and the metabolic disorder you could very easily cure by eliminating these foods will eventually return, and the same applies to the weight you would have lost by going sugar-free.
“As human beings, we were not designed to consume sugar. We should be feasting on real foods that have either lived on the earth, or have been grown in it. By eating this way, you will ensure your health will improve and your weight will remain at a healthy level throughout your life.”
These are words worth remembering the next time you are looking for your next hit.