Sweet addiction

Alyssa Leonard
By Alyssa Leonard January 26, 2018 13:06
A photo of candy and chocolate. [Photo by Alyssa Leonard]

Daily temptations. Photo by Alyssa Leonard

By Alyssa Leonard

 

It is the twitch.

The calling, the craving.

It begs you for more. Your body wants it. Needs it. Now.

It has become instinct to reach for it. The taste so gratifying.

Thirst-quenching, hunger-satisfying — the blissful moment when the need has finally been met.

It can be terrifying to learn that something capable of making a person feel this way is so readily available. Adults, the elderly, children — anyone can feel this way after minimal exposure.

And it is everywhere.

Refined sugar is in nearly everything we consume and even though more dangers are being brought into the spotlight, many people still refuse to heed the warnings.

About six years ago Jeff Bunde started cutting out refined sugar from his diet after his doctor said he was at risk for diabetes. He found himself binge-consuming sugary foods many times throughout the first five years. He said the cravings would become so strong he would find himself beginning to sweat and trying to justify to himself having a sugary food or drink.

“I felt cravings for sugary foods constantly,” said Bunde. “[The cravings] never completely disappear.”

It was not until his sixth year when he decided to really focus on the effort after having a physical medical exam for his life insurance policy. Bunde said he was very unhappy with his weight result and turned to exercise to lose weight and resist his cravings.

In the past year, Bunde said he has noticed he has more energy than before, overall better health and has dropped half of his previous weight from before he started.

Consuming excessive amounts of added sugar can lead to serious health problems, such as hypoglycemia, obesity, diabetes, tooth decay and vitamin and mineral depletion.

According to Meghan Scott, a registered dietitian for over 10 years, refined sugar dependence is a psychological addiction.  

“Sugar tastes good and people are drawn to things that make them happy, so that’s how a psychological addiction develops,” said Scott. “You eat sugar, it makes you happy, so the next time you’re sad, you eat sugar knowing it’ll make you happy. Over time, a dependence develops.”

Scott said many people experience relapses when cutting refined sugar from the diet because eating sweets is habit based and changing habits can be very challenging. There are many daily temptations one must resist.

Health Canada does not have specific recommendations for how much sugar Canadians should consume daily. The World Health Organization, however, recommends adults and children reduce their daily intake of added sugars to roughly 25 grams, or 6 teaspoons. To give a little perspective, a small Coke from McDonald’s has 39 grams of sugar.

Scott said to try and stick with the healthy sugars in fruits, vegetables and grains, as our bodies do need some sugars (carbohydrates) to survive.

“It might not be necessary to cut refined sugar out completely. You still need to enjoy your food and your life.” said Scott. “If you know you won’t be able to resist it, don’t have it in your house.”

Scott also said to be kind to yourself and “just keep trying,” because every day is a new day and even a little progress is better than no progress at all.

“Remember that there is no one size fits all solution to healthy eating — do what works for you,” said Scott.

Alyssa Leonard
By Alyssa Leonard January 26, 2018 13:06

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