Sugar: “The Most Unhappy of Pleasures” In Today’s Diet

Posted on March 30th, 2012 by Elaine Rosales  |  3 Comments »

sugar addictionHere’s an alarming fact: An average American consumes at least 12 teaspoons of sugar every day – that’s equivalent to two tons in their entire lifetime! Sugar is indeed one of the most pervasive ingredients in food items today. Even infant formulas contain sugar.

Sugar not only tastes good, but it also creates a feeling of pleasure by using dopamine and opioid signals to trigger a natural process in your brain.

Dr. Joseph Mercola says: “When you delve beneath the surface even slightly you’ll begin to see that eating sugar may not only be making you unhealthy but also unhappy.”

Sugar Addiction is NOT a Good Thing

Consuming sugar triggers the production of natural opioids, which are an essential factor in the addiction process, in your brain. It’s similar to the effects of morphine or heroin.

In a report in The Atlantic, Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, says:

“The brain’s pleasure center, called the nucleus accumbens, is essential for our survival as a species… Turn off pleasure, and you turn off the will to live… But long-term stimulation of the pleasure center drives the process of addiction… When you consume any substance of abuse, including sugar, the nucleus accumbens receives a dopamine signal, from which you experience pleasure. And so you consume more.” (link)

According to researchers, it’s possible that sweet receptors – or protein receptors – found on your tongue also impact your sugar addiction. These receptors have not fully adapted to the large amounts of sugar present in your modern diet. Abnormally stimulating these receptors triggers the reward signals in your brain, overriding normal self-control mechanisms. This can lead to addiction.

Dr. Lustig adds:

“Who could have imagined that something so innocent, so delicious, so irresistible – just one glucose molecule (not so sweet) plus one fructose molecule (very sweet) – could propel America toward economic deterioration and medical collapse?”

The “Pleasure” Brought by Sugar Is Not Worth the Health Dangers

Sugar is toxic to your body, and being addicted to it can be deadly. Ingesting excessive amounts of sugar may cause obesity and dangerous chronic diseases.

“It’s only a matter of time before (sugar) will be commonly accepted as a causative factor in most cancer, in the same way that now we accept without question that smoking and alcohol abuse are direct causes of lung cancer and cirrhosis of the liver, respectively,” says Dr. Mercola.

Fructose, in particular, is a powerful pro-inflammatory agent that produces harmful advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and can speed up the aging process. It may also increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes by promoting excessive growth of fat cells (visceral fat) around your vital organs.

Sugar and fructose also increase your insulin and leptin levels by decreasing the receptor sensitivity of these vital hormones. This may lead to premature aging and age-related chronic degenerative diseases.

“Keep in mind that while it’s perfectly normal for your blood sugar levels to rise slightly after every meal, it is not natural or healthy when your blood sugar levels become excessively elevated and stay that way – which is exactly what will happen if you’re eating like the typical American, who consumes a staggering 2.5 pounds of sugar a week on average!” warns Dr. Mercola.

It’s Time to Stop Your Sugar Addiction!

Dr. Mercola agrees with Dr. Lustig, who calls sugar “the most unhappy of pleasures.”

“If eating sugar leads to poor health, and poor health ultimately leads to unhappiness, where will those few short-lived moments of artificial pleasure get you? They won’t get you happiness, that’s for sure. But they will perpetuate the addiction cycle, making you crave more and more sugar, and ultimately (and ironically) speed your journey to potential misery,” he explains.

It can be difficult to cut down on sugar consumption especially if you’re already used to consuming high amounts. To solve this, Dr. Mercola recommends these strategies:

  • Try the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This is an energy psychology technique that works by tapping meridian points all over your body and reciting affirmations. EFT has already helped many soda addicts to get rid of their unhealthy habit.
  • Exercise regularly. Cardiovascular exercises can help get rid of your food cravings. Dr. Mercola says this may be caused by the dramatic reduction in insulin levels after exercise.
  • Drink organic, black coffee. Coffee is a powerful opioid receptor antagonist. It has compounds like cafestrol that bind and occupy your opioid receptors to help block your addiction to other opioid-releasing foods.
  • Minimize your consumption of processed foods, and opt for natural, whole foods. Make sure your fructose consumption does not go beyond 25 grams per day.

Instead of using sugar to sweeten your foods, Dr. Mercola recommends stevia as a healthy alternative. NEVER use artificial sweeteners or aspartame to replace sugar, as these can put your health in more danger.

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Responses to “Sugar: “The Most Unhappy of Pleasures” In Today’s Diet”

  1. alison says on :

    I think it’s important to include lowering ones carb and starch intake when trying to get off the sugar train. Carbs and starches are rapidly turned into glucose (sugar) which is burned off very quickly in the body. If your body is used to burning glucose it will signal the body’s desire for more glucose. Our body is designed to use fat as our most efficient fuel. However, if glucose is always available then the body will burn the glucose and store the fat.

  2. Eloise says on :

    I am wondering what Dr. Mercola’s thoughts are regarding
    the use of Xylitol instead of sugar. I understand that
    Xylitol is safe for diabetics.

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