Sweet Poison

Sweet Poison

Sugar was once such a rare resource that nature decided we didn’t need an off-switch – in other words, we keep eating sugar without feeling full.

In the space of 150 years, we have gone from eating no added sugar to more than a kilogram a week. You would need to run  about 5 miles every day to not put-on weight because of eating that much sugar.  The ‘natural’ sugar in one glass of unsweetened fruit juice per day for a year is enough to add just over 5 pounds to your waistline. The more sugar we eat, the more we want. Food manufacturers exploit our sugar addiction by lacing it through ‘non-sweet’ products, such as bread, condiments, soups, and cereals.

From 1980 to 2008, the rate of adult obesity rose from 13.45 to 34.3%. Today, more than 70% of Americans are overweight or obese. Being obese or having a BMI > than 30 will increase your risk of premature death from all causes. Significant, for sure.  But why is this happening?  We can see that in the last few decades there have been multiple environmental and lifestyle factors coming together to negatively change our physiology.  While the entire scope of the problem is complex, without question, the increased intake of processed foods and simple sugars tops the list of culprits. 

Just coming off the holiday season, everyone can relate to indulging in extra sweet treats and consequently, post-season struggles with what seems to be an addictive calling to still reach for those sweets.  The addictive nature of sugar and the effects on our bodies create a perfect storm for an obesity explosion.  What is clear though is that lack of willpower, is not your fault. 

Much of sugar addiction and its negative consequences, including the risk for many associated chronic disease and overindulging is not an issue of self-control, but rather a symptom of carefully designed food,or food-like substances, specifically formulated to excite the senses and keep us coming back for more.

The food industry spends millions of dollars to research just what combination of sugar, salt and fat make up the perfect mix to create an addictive food-like substance.  Ever here the saying, “no one can eat just one.” There’s a scientific reason, and it is deliberate.  The combinations of flavors - sugars, salts, fats - are addictive and not satiating enough, to signal the brain that tell us, hey, I’ve had enough.  Food companies spend millions of dollars finding that special point where food tastes great but is not powerful enough to make us feel satisfied. The bliss spot, they say.  A mixture of sugars, salts and fats that create the greatest amount of crave.  Our bodies crave sugar. The innate desire for sweet foods pushed early man to gather berries and fruit for the concentrated antioxidant and phytochemical content however, sugar and other refined carbohydrates like, white flour, which our bodies convert to glucose, (sugar) are handled much differently in our bodies physiology than sugars naturally found in fruits and berries.

Excess sugar consumption creates a stream of negative health effects, creating inflammation in several ways. Sugar itself is inflammatory and damages proteins in the body affecting their function. Increased blood sugar levels also trigger higher insulin levels (also inflammatory), and ultimately overtime blood sugar regulation is lessened, resulting in insulin resistance and glucose intolerance which can ultimately lead to diabetes.  High refined carbohydrate and sugar intake also affects gut health, creating leaky gut, which triggers immune responses and more inflammation.  As the cascade continues, and low energy levels occur, the body will start to store fat instead of burning fat for energy. In fact, fat is now considered another body organ and not just a storage site. 

Inflammation is the precursor to all chronic disease, and poor gut health and inflammation is associated with cardiovascular risk, cancer risk, cell damage, and mood issues.  Below is a list of just some of the negative health effects of excess sugar intake:

  • Unstable blood sugar control/Insulin Resistance
  • Increased Risk for Type II Diabetes
  • Increased Body Fat/Obesity
  • Leaky Gut
  • Increased Risk for Certain Cancers
  • Increased Inflammation 
  • Cardiovascular Health issues
  • Negatively affects brain health.


     

 

Okay so now we know, but it is not easy to just break an addiction or a habit.  We need support, guidance, and tools.

I created my Beyond Fresh Fruit and Veggies Chews because we all love a delicious, sweet, chewy, treat. Developing something we can savior that is good for us too became a no brainer. So our ‘candy’ is made with 12 organic fruits and veggies, powerful antioxidants, prebiotic rich fiber and probiotics too, mother nature did the work I just get the fun part of bringing it to you,) 

When we are battling for good health, we need help along the way. My fruit and veggies chews are an easy and delicious way to ward off chemical sugar cravings, help us thru a snack attack, get us to our next meal or just to enjoy!  At beyond fresh, we are here to help you to easily add good, nutritious food choices to your diet and crowd out those sugary options for healthy choices, that feed us, mind, body, and soul!

Heather Thomson