Regain Control


By Dean L. Jones, C.P.M.

The discussion surrounding the importance of how much processed sugar should we have in our daily diet is growing for a number of reasons.  The urgent reason why we should steer clear of eating too much processed sugar is to help circumvent major health problems like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.  Science researchers have disclosed considerable evidence that eating processed sugar contributes significantly to making us sick, but because it makes food taste good, human behavior seemingly does not care as long as their respective sweet craving is satisfied.

Ignoring the facts does not change sweet cravings and those who regularly eat too much sugar in effect have an addiction to processed sugar.  The cause is that eating processed sugary-filled products influence the same “feel-good” brain chemicals as do illicit drugs, including serotonin and dopamine.  A lot of people can share how they have literally experienced mental and physical withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, shakiness, jitteriness, cold sweat, etc.) when they skip their regular sugar ‘fix.’  As a result of this situation it would not surprise me to begin seeing movements of sugar detoxifying centers opening up, the same way weight management businesses and programs have sprung up in large numbers over the past twenty years.

Every time we eat processed sugar it makes an attempt to fuel every cell in the brain that eventually influences brain chemicals.  Consequently, overloading on sugary items can alter the brain receptors that regulate how much we eat.  Just think about how you react when just seeing a picture of a thick shake, chocolate toffee butter crunch candy, a layered cake, or even an ice cold soda.  You often see pictures like these examples and want to eat the suggested item soon; completely ignoring the limited control you have over your actions, i.e., an addictive behavior.  The largest problem with eating too much processed sugar is that it spikes the blood sugar level, which is followed by a very low drop, causing a really hunger feeling.  Low blood sugar brings about those aforementioned withdrawal feelings and thereby makes you seek out more sweets to regain that sugar-high.

Abstaining from eating processed sugar all at once is difficult, because it means eliminating everything sweet including fruit, dairy, and all refined grains.  The thing to know is that we do not need sugar to live, which means the way we train ourselves in every other area we can train our taste buds to enjoy things that are not as sweet as pastries, soda, candy and cookies.  The best way to train our sweet taste desires is to let some sugary-filled item go once a week.  It may be letting go of that daily soda for dinner, an afternoon candy break at work, or the extra teaspoons of sugar added to coffee each morning.
Mr. Jones is a marketing strategist with the Southland Partnership Corporation (a public benefit organization), sharing his view on mismanagement practices of packaged foods & beverages.