Sugar Spook!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I know… I know… I just had to write about sugar on Halloween, didn’t I?

Right when we are stocked up on bags and bags of mini candy bars and treats!

halloween candy

Since “scaring” is allowed on Halloween I thought this would be the perfect day to spook you with a little sugar info. 🙂

With all the knowledge out there, someone would have to be crazy to be unaware of the harmful effects that sugar has on the body. But since sugar is a staple in the standard American diet we all seem to overlook its true colors (and I am not even talking about the artificial colors often added to sugary treats… I will save that for another post)!

As I mentioned last week, I have been reading Grain Brain “The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar-Your Brain’s Silent Killers”. I picked it up off the shelf to learn more about gluten’s effect on inflammation in the brain, but its section on sugar was also quite intriguing. In fact, I found this quote in the book…

“Evolutionarily, sugar was available to our ancestors as fruit for only a few months a year (at harvest time), or as honey, which was guarded by bees. But in recent years, sugar has been added to nearly all processed foods, limiting consumer choice. Nature made sugar hard to get: man made it easy.”  – Dr. Robert Lustig

Dr. Lustig is a neuroendocrinologist and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco.  He is also very well-known for his extensive studies and lectures on sugar. So when I saw his name on the quote I was pleasantly reminded about one of his famous lectures that I watched a while back: “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” (on YouTube). I’ll admit that it can be pretty scientific so I did some searching around online to find something a little easier for all of you to follow, this led me to a lecture he gave at Yale. Overall, it is a little over an hour in length (each part is about 20-25 minutes long), but I think it is certainly worth your time. Check it out here:

Dr. Lustig: Sugar Pandemic Part 1

Dr. Lustig: Sugar Pandemic Part 2

Dr. Lustig: Sugar Pandemic Part 3

If sugar is a constant ingredient in your diet, I strongly encourage you to start taking baby steps to wean yourself off of this harmful drug. I personally started breaking my own addiction by simply trying to focus on cutting refined and artificial sugars out of my diet and strictly sticking to honey, pure maple syrup, and dates as sweeteners. I found tons of alternative desserts that used these at sweeteners (remember the Date-Sweetened Breads and OMG Cookies?), which came in handy when my sugar cravings occasionally hit.

But let me make one thing clear… these are still “sugars” and still have many of the same harmful effects on the body as refined sugars do , but it is certainly a start. It also greatly limited the amount of sugar I was consuming each day due to the restriction of foods. This was mainly due to all the “hidden” sugars found among many popular processed foods (i.e. bread, sauces, salad dressings, peanut butter). So I made sure to check every label… and better yet… tried to avoid foods that had labels in general. Remember all those wonderful whole foods out there?!

Additionally, if you are ready for something a little more drastic, Diane Sanfilippo recently released the book The 21 Day Sugar Detox to help people truly kick their bad sugar habits. Although it is a strict 21-day program with absolutely no sugar, I highly respect her work and was happy to learn she is also a graduate of the Holistic Nutrition Consultant program at Bauman College (like me!).

So now that I have passed along all kinds of awesome sugar info… HAPPY LEARNING!!! 🙂

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