Hunger is a natural feeling. Thousands of years ago, when the body was in need of nourishment, it was a survival advantage to feel hungry and seek food. For those whose bodies didn’t experience hunger, they didn’t store enough calories to survive the winter. Cravings represent a whole different phenomenon. According to the Encyclopedia of Nutrition and Good Health, cravings are defined as “a strong desire for a food that is stronger than hunger and specific for a particular food” and “food craving may suggest a dependency.”1 We are after all dependent on food for energy and sustenance but a true dependency suggests a compulsion or an addition.
In general, what people get addicted to is that ‘feel good sensation’ they experience when they get what they’re seeking. That sensation has to do with the release of neurotransmitters in the brain that provide a sense of reward and even euphoria. Addictions can come in many forms, such as alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, shopping and sex (for some, as the song goes, an Addiction to Love) which implies, at a minimum, a psychological dependence, not necessarily a physical addiction. It turns out one of the most addicting substances on the planet is…… SUGAR! There are many medical studies indicating that “sugar can lead to behavior and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance abuse”.2
How Much Sugar Do We Eat?
This may shock you but it turns out Americans consume about 150 pounds of sugar per year; that’s about 3 pounds of sugar per week!3 Sugar itself is a blind source of calories and provides little or no nutritional value. Most of the sugar is hidden in a variety of processed foods and sugary beverages. Also, the food industry camouflages the amount of sugar used by selecting many sugar products that have names that may not be recognized as a sugar unless you are familiar with the terminology (see table below). To add insult to injury, the building blocks of all carbohydrates are sugar molecules. When the food industry serves-up highly processed foods, they typically use inexpensive refined carbs mixed with unhealthy cheap fats and sodium. So, what we are really getting are high glycemic foods with a high glycemic load, i.e. more sugar, empty calories and an overload of sodium.
The Many Faces of Sugar: 3
It’s No Accident:
Look at what they do and not what they say! They say “Quick and Easy” and “Have it Your Way” but are we really getting it our way?
NEXT WEEK – Watch for Part 2: The Solutions
1 The encyclopedia of nutrition and good health By Ronzio, Robert A Publication date 2003 Topics Nutrition — Encyclopedias, Nutrition Publisher New York : Facts On File Collection inlibrary; printdisabled; internetarchivebooks; china Digitizing sponsor Kahle/Austin Foundation Contributor Internet Archive Language English
3 How Much Sugar Do You Eat? You May Be Surprised! – NH.gov; www.dhhs.nh.gov › dphs › nhp › documents › sugar