Sugar is a pervasive, powerful substance.
It makes us feel good when we eat it. It elevates our mood more effectively than prescription drugs. Sugar can serve as a symbolic substitute for love or intimacy. Alcoholics getting sober frequently turn to sugar as a replacement habit, and find it gives them a lot of the same benefits as booze. Sugar can numb our feelings, fill our boredom, calm our nerves, or bliss us out. Why wouldn’t we turn to sugar for all this relief?
When we were hunter gatherers and we found sugar in nature – generally in fruits and berries – biology told us to eat ALL of it because it was ripe for a very short time. That was fine for hunter gatherers because gathering sugary foods was limited to harvest season. Sugar helped us pack on a few pounds before winter when food would become scarce, and we would need body fat for fuel. Eating ALL the sugar is driven by our biology, much like bears fattening up for hibernation. We are biologically wired to eat all the sugar!
But these days, the “food” corporations put sugar into every box and package on the shelf. Sugar is everywhere and available 24/7. It’s the first drug children get hooked on, and “food” corporations use it to increase their profits. Sugar is cheaper than both protein and produce, and it HOOKS people into coming back for more by releasing a super dose of dopamine, what we normally think of as the happiness drug.
Millions of people are habituated to the sweet benefits of sugar, without necessarily realizing the long term harmful effects. We want our sugary treats. We don’t want to see sugar as the cause of our symptoms. I get it!
My name is Cyndi and I am a sugar addict. Sugar has been a problem for me on and off and throughout my life. I tried repeatedly to let go of sugar. I suffered for years under the harmful effects of sugar. Some of my sugar-related symptoms included SIBO, diverticulitis, headaches, night sweats, irritability, brain fog, fatigue, extreme pain from slipped discs in my lumbar spine due to inflammation in my intestines, which caused me to be off work for weeks at a time without pay.
I had to connect the dots between my fatigue and the sugar, between my constant symptoms and the constant underlying inflammation induced by sugar.
Long term sugar use can be as powerful a pattern to release as alcohol or tobacco abuse, and it takes awareness to finally let it go.
Sugar causes inflammation.
According to Harvard Health: Too much added sugar can be one of the greatest threats to cardiovascular disease. Consuming too much added sugar can raise blood pressure and increase chronic inflammation. Research has shown that chronic inflammation is associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
Gastroenterologist, Suhirdan Vivekanadarajah says excessive sugar can reduce beneficial bacteria leading to a leaky gut syndrome, and other serious health conditions. Too much sugar may also block the production of a protein associated with being lean.
According to Anthony William, refined sugar is the number one preferred food of viruses and tumors. He also has a GREAT article on how the natural sugars in fruit are different, and not to be avoided. According to Anthony, “Fruit is actually the most important food to eat when healing from disease.”
Am I saying we should not eat sugar?
No. I am absolutely not saying that. Sugar is delicious and pleasurable, and in small amounts can be a wonderful addition to a special meal. I am saying that sugar is a powerful substance and it will benefit the health and wellbeing of many people to bring awareness to how much sugar we are truly consuming.
The dose makes the poison.
We don’t need to avoid refined sugar, but we absolutely want to avoid too much sugar.
- Overusing sugar causes chronic inflammation associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Overusing sugar erodes our energy. We may feel an energy boost when the sugar hits our system, but a crash soon follows, and continuous use of sugar overall reduces the amount of energy available to us.
- Overusing sugar can raise blood pressure.
- Overusing sugar erodes gut health and immunity, making us more vulnerable to all sorts of disease.
- Overusing sugar erodes mental clarity. Brain fog is caused by high levels of inflammation.
- Overusing sugar erodes our taste buds. Taste is an intelligence, so overusing sugar can dumb down our taste buds, so they are no longer as sensitive to healthy foods.
- Overusing sugar can lead to poor digestion, lack of nutrient absorption, and contributes to protein deficiency.
- Overusing sugar can lead to sugar cravings!
- Overusing sugar leads to weight gain, and inability to release weight.
- Overusing sugar can erode physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, as well as our self esteem.
If you can’t imagine letting go of your daily habit of sweetness, you are not alone! Is it the taste that brings us back for more? Or is it the slight energy buzz it brings? Maybe it’s the relaxing effect we’re after, that comes post buzz.
The reasons we reach for sugar are myriad, and unique for each of us. Those very same reasons are the key to releasing the overuse of sugar. If we’re using sugar to cover uncomfortable feelings, it may be easier to experience those feelings and grow through them, than to endure the life long health effects of using sugar to cover them up.
Are you choosing sugar as a sweet treat, or as an escape plan?
How frequently are you choosing sugary foods?
How challenging would you find it to let go of sugar for a week?
Create a list of all the foods you love that do NOT have added sugars.
If you want help letting go of sugar from someone who understands what you’re going through, use THIS LINK to schedule a free 30 minute chat to see if I am the right Mind Body Eating Coach for you!
I will lead an Elimination Experimentation group soon where we experiment with releasing some of the foods we tend to overdo!
Multiple levels allow us to choose to release one type of food – or many – depending on your needs and desires!
If you are interested in releasing one or more foods for a SHORT trial, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.