Sweet Craving

By Dean L. Jones

For some it is a badge of honor for craving and eating loads of sugary-filled items.  But at some point there comes a time to ask the question of whether or not that sweet craving has actually shifted from honor to addiction.

Sugar fuels every cell in the brain and consequently acknowledges sugar as a reward, which makes wanting more to feel natural.  The most general sign that sugar addiction may be in play is when there is no control over intake of sugary items, thereby eating more than expected or planned.

The added sugar in candy, pastries, sodas, and all that is categorized as a simple carbohydrate (carbs) that quickly turns into glucose in the bloodstream.  Simple carbs are also found in fruits, veggies, and dairy products, except these have fiber and protein that slows digestion, preventing a spike in the blood sugar level.

It is the pancreas organ that makes insulin, a hormone needed to move glucose out of the bloodstream and into our body’s cells for energy.  Therefore, do not become a victim when blood sugar levels drop by grabbing empty calories in processed sugary-filled items just to get a quick pick-me-up, as this reinforces an addictive habit.

Complex carbs are bagels, chips, French fries, white bread-rice-flour, crackers, pretzels, pasta, etc… that the body breaks down into simple sugars.  So, if eaten without better foods, such starches can make blood sugar surge and crash just like simple carbs do.

Because high-protein foods digest more slowly, eating protein is an easy way to curb sugar cravings and at the same time keep you feeling full for longer.  In addition, fiber rich foods are very filling that fuels energy needs and does not raise your blood sugar.

Too many mistakenly turn to artificial sweeteners to deal with their sugar cravings, but essentially all artificial sweeteners are dangerous in a number of ways.  Mainly, artificial sweeteners cause the body to want to overeat by increasing sweet cravings to want more sugar, consequently compelling you to gorge.

Beware of foodstuff labels that list any simple carb in the first three or four ingredients; such as Agave nectar, brown rice syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, evaporated cane juice, glucose, lactose, malt syrup, molasses, sucrose, et cetera.  Dreadfully, commonly consumed products that include sugar high on their list of ingredients include ketchup, barbecue sauce, pasta sauce, reduced-fat salad dressings, bread, baked beans, & canned soups.

The medical community continues to concur that eating processed sugar does not cause diabetes.  Nonetheless, eating too much sugar will increase weight that can lead to type-2 diabetes, because heavier bodies have a harder time using insulin and when the body resists insulin, blood sugar and the risk of contracting the severe illness of diabetes goes up.  For this reason, celebrate this holiday season SugarAlert!

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.