Is Your Sweet Tooth Satisfied or inSatiable? We are a culture that enjoys the sweetness of life in all of its presentations. Everywhere we look we can find examples of the impact of one intoxicating delight – Sugar! Even our terms of endearment reflect its power…“She is so sweet”; something visually appealing is called “eye-candy”; “sugar, spice and everything nice” is a favorite nursery rhyme. Chocolate is by far the most popular way to get our sugar. It’s a stress reliever – comfort food. Something about the creamy, sweet texture nurtures our spirit and rejuvinates our energy.
Today, there’s hardly a person around who doesn’t like something sweet. There are irresistible cakes, ice creams and candies everywhere. And who can resist the smell of fresh-baked cookies… But could life be even sweeter without so much sugar?
The impact of sugar is much more than just an emotional or sensory pleasure. Sugar does increase our energy…for a very short burst, followed by a crash which usually creates a craving for even more sweets.
The delicious health cost of sugar
CBS News recently explored the influence of the American sweet tooth. It seems we’ve gone a little overboard with sugar and its most popular substitutes. Altogether, the average person enjoys 142 pounds a year, or two and a half pounds each week!
If we sipped sugar straight from cane in its natural form, it wouldn’t be so bad. But the processed sugars in our sweet treats – or just in our morning coffee – can alter the body’s hormones, blood sugar and adrenal glands to give us extreme feelings of hunger and even cause mood changes. This could lead to overeating and increase the risk for obesity, heart disease and diabetes.
And it goes deeper than desserts. Carbohydrates and condiments we don’t usually suspect like white bread, pasta and ketchup become the same sugary substance (glucose) during the digestive process.
According to Dr. David Ludwig, a childhood obesity expert at Boston Children’s Hospital, “A bagel and a bowl of sugar may taste different, but to the body they’re virtually the same thing”.
Like many foods today, sugar is having a different effect on the body because of modern processing. It must be “refined” to remove fertilizers or pesticides. The refining also separates it from valuable vitamins and minerals. The original brown color is bleached out, possibly removing even more benefits. What’s left is simple “sucrose” (table sugar). It rocks our blood like a roller coaster – a momentary high and then a big slope downward.
It can throw off our pH balance – the perfect environment of our body’s water then becomes “acidic”. This triggers a vicious cycle, because an acid-filled climate loves more sugar!
Our devilishly good companion can then be blamed for hyperactivity or fatigue, crankiness, a lowered immune system with less resistance to infection, asthma, allergies and arthritis – and those are just the most common results.
Sugar substitutes like high fructose corn syrup and aspartame are just as mischievous. You’ll often see one or the other on labels saying “sugar free” or “no sugar added”. In fact, since they are produced more chemically, they’re even worse for your health.
So how can I satisfy my sweet tooth?
Would you believe a glass of healthy Greens drink can do it?! You may be craving green goodies more than you think – it’s not so much a taste bud thing as a nutritional thing. When the body is lacking certain nutrients, it signals the brain. The brain might interpret the signal as a craving for sugar if the body is too acidic. Then, the more sweets we eat, the more the body looks for that “high” because something’s missing.