Sugar: Why it’s so hard to kick your sugar habit
excerpt from CNN.com
It’s not just “hidden” sugar that’s a problem. A reason why it’s so hard to cut down on sugar is that we simply love to eat it. While it’s not known if sugar is actually addictive, some research shows it fires off the same reward centers in the brain as cocaine.
A common indicator of addiction is if a person suffers from a loss of control. If a person is obsessing about how he or she will get their sugar fix, and they simply can’t focus on anything else, and they have a psychological dependence, then you’re probably talking about a food addiction.
It seems to induce cravings and hunger that are comparable in magnitude to addictive drugs.
So how can we regulate our sugar intake? Look at the ingredients list. If sugar or any one of the following terms are listed high on the label, you want to avoid that food: corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, agave, honey, molasses, and anything ending in ‘ose’; dextrose, fructose and sucrose are all code words for sugar.
Managing sugar also means managing other aspects of your diet, including portion sizes.
Gradually cut back [on sugar] and consume more protein and fiber-rich foods. It can help satisfy us and help us reduce our sugar intake as well.
Cutting down on sugar is not impossible. But, like other aspects of dieting and nutrition, it requires a conscious effort to manage.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults and children reduce their intake of added sugars to less than 10% of their daily energy intake — and says that reducing it to below 5% is even better. Although national sugar intake guidelines vary by country, the American Heart Association’s daily recommendations for consumption of added sugar are a maximum of 24 grams a day for women and 36 grams for men. However, in the USA, the average adult consumes an enormous 88 grams of sugar a day.
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