Is Sugar Toxic?

Do you remember the low fat craze of the 1980’s?  Butter was replaced with I Can’t Believe Its Not Butter, there were no fat Pringles, no fat cream cheese, even no fat cookies.  Taking away unhealthy fats can be a good thing.  The problem with the low fat craze of the 80’s is that when the fat was taken out, the foods didn’t taste as good.  So that’s when companies started adding sugars to make things taste better. Now most processed foods have tons of sugar in them.  Sugar is in spaghetti sauce, ketchup, cereals, milk and sports drinks. It was after the low fat craze of the 80’s – when sugar became one of the top ingredients for all processed foods – that the rates of heart disease and obesity began to rise.   


Foods with sugar taste delicious.  But your body actually starts craving the sugar. Dopamine is a hormone in your brain that makes you feel happy.  It is released when you eat sugar. Therefore you feel happy when you eat sugar.  Our bodies like this feeling and begin to crave the sugar that makes us feel so good.  Sugar is as addictive as cocaine.  

Your body looks at all sugars the same way. It looks at high fructose corn syrup the same as cane sugar.  Your body metabolizes sugar differently than other foods, so sugar has a different effect on the body.  Most foods are metabolized by all cells in the body.  But sugar is metabolized mostly by the liver. With too much sugar intake, the liver becomes overloaded and turns the sugar directly into fat. This fat turns into cholesterol, increases your insulin, and increases your chances for disease.   

Genetically modified foods are not good for your body. Sugar beets are one of the top genetically modified crops.  So if you are eating products with “sugar” as an ingredient then it is most likely genetically modified.  “Cane sugar” is in ingredient to look for because it is not usually genetically modified. Any sugar labeled organic will not be genetically modified.   

So what do we do?  First of all take out all artificial sweeteners from your diet.  These are ingredients such as aspartame and saccharin and sucralose. Try to totally avoid artificial sweeteners. Second, chose less refined sugars like honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar over more processed sugars.  But only eat these in moderation! The World Health Organization recommends eating less than 6 teaspoons of sugar a day.  Third, read the labels and don’t buy foods with unnecessary added sugar.   

We all need a sweet treat at times.  But it is good to be aware and try and make the best choice.

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