Sugar in moderation is no problem at all. On the contrary. We actually need it. It’s the main fuel for our brain. The problems arrive when we eat too much of it. Wouldn’t be very good if sugar were addictive, would it?
In an article in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a scientific team theorizes that refined sugar could be as habit-forming as cocaine or nicotine.
Although not all of science agrees with this theory, almost everyone knows the feeling of needing a bite of chocolate right now. Or just gummy bears, or an iced bun, a smoothie, ice cream, brownies, cookies, sticky toffee pudding, old baking chocolate from the back of the cupboard. Whatever! Give! Need! Now!
You see what I’m getting at?
When we hunted mammoths and lived in caves, sugar was important. Unfortunately, mammoths did not come waddling to the cave every other day and say: “Hi, I’m here for dinner”.
So it came in handy, when the gatherers had gathered some honey and fruit. When the belly was stuffed with this sweet stuff, it would build up the fat reserves they needed until the next mammoth was on the menu. So it was a good thing we were so into sweet.
“At best your favourite jeans give you muffin tops, at worst serious health problems”
The process of putting on fat for bad times still works in our bodies in exactly the same way. The only difference is that the bad times now mean that our favourite jeans give us muffin tops at best and at worst we develop serious health issues such as a fatty liver, diabetes TYPE II, depression or cardiovascular problems.
Moreover, sugar is not a scarce commodity. On the contrary – it is everywhere. In sweets, but also hidden in yoghurts, juices and even sausage, cheese and their veggie alternatives. And generally speaking, most of this sugar is not found in connection with healthy, vital nutrients as in fruit and vegetables, but often in a refined form. Nevertheless, it has many calories.
So if we primarily consume these empty calories, a nutritional deficiency can occur. Whether or not we eat plenty, it is easy to slip into malnutrition.
Not only is this really bad for our health and can lead to illness, it also makes the body cry for more energy. And where does it get energy really quickly? Bingo, sugar. Damn that vicious circle.
“Potential to improve my physical and mental health”
I don’t want to be an addict. It means that I have no control. In my family there have been quite a few health issues lately – petty little small ones, again and again and unfortunately also increasingly large ones. I feel the need to take control over something that I can actually influence.
After reading some scientific material on the subject and having had some conversations with sugar quitters, I believe that a year without added sugar is the right thing for me. It has the potential to improve my physical and mental health and hopefully I can be a good example for my children someday. Sneaking off to eat sweets certainly isn’t.