Americans are obese due to over consumption of junk foods and sugar. Sugar has been called Sweet Poison and the Silent Killer for a good reason.
There are many health risks attached to sugar. These have been published in medical journals and include:
- Can cause hyperactivity, anxiety and mood changes in children.
- Rise in triglycerides.
- Show signs of aging by causing loss of tissue elasticity.
- May lead to chromium deficiency.
- Cause hypoglycemia, therefore increasing fasting levels of glucose.
- Cause tooth decay and gum disease by increasing harmful bacteria that thrive on acids produced by sugar.
- Studies show it can suppress your immune system and lead to break down of your defenses against illness.
- Sugar can upset the mineral balance in your body, and can interfere with calcium and magnesium absorption.
- Sugar can lead to growth of the yeast Candida albicans in your body, which can lead to chronic fatigue and other illness.
As if that is not enough, a major European study on 64,500 Swedish people linked raised blood sugar with cancer of pancreas, skin, womb, and urinary tract in women. The study was carried out by University of Umea and also linked high blood sugar to breast cancer in women under the age of 49 years.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) survey, the average American eats the equivalent of 160 pounds of sugar a year! That is an increase of nearly 30 percent since the 1980s.
Needle in a Hay Stack
Sugar is not used in the obvious way as in the good old days. Today it is hidden in many unsuspecting foods. These hidden sugars are now found in catsup, cereals, sodas, sports drinks, and many other foods and drinks.
I found one cereal with zero sugar in a typical grocery store chain. That was in itself quite a task, since I had to read every single box ingredient list. This happened to be a health food store chain. The larger grocery chains may not have any with zero sugar.
Is There a Healthy Kind? In my book, Secret Gateway to Health, I describe the different types of sugars and their pros and cons. There are artificial versus natural sugars.
The artificial kinds include aspartame (NutraSweet, Equal) and saccharin (Sweet‘N Low). Earlier animal studies linked saccharin to cancer and the FDA banned it as did many other countries. The FDA has lifted the ban from saccharin from the list of cancer-causing agents after further studies did not show the same results.
Aspartame carries a label warning consumers that it may be harmful. I would recommend not using any artificial sweetener, unless you are a gambling person.
The natural type of sweeteners include honey, blackstrap molasses and stevia. The full verdict is not yet in as far as stevia is concerned. Blackstrap molasses and organic honey are the best of the lot.
Sweets can be as addicting as any drug. If you have a sweet tooth, once you take a bite of any rich, sweet desert, it is very difficult to stop. For example, if you have gotten into the habit of having a bowel of ice cream after dinner, or a muffin with your morning coffee, it becomes downright painful to switch to a bowl of cereal or oatmeal. It’s just not the same.
Chocolate is another well-known comfort food, with many chocoholics in the U.S. contributing to the over-weight statistics.
Many books have been written about the subject of sugar addiction. This is one reason why the low carbohydrate diet came into being.
Public Enemy #1 Sugar is addicting, causes tooth decay and has a reputation of being the enemy of good health.
It’s interesting that once you stop eating sugar for a few days, it becomes very easy to not crave it. But once you tell yourself, you deserve a break since you’ve been so good—you are doomed back to being a sugar addict.
Snacks that Calm the Savage Craving Beast
There are some very easy ways to stop the habit and get some satisfaction for your sweet tooth.
In fact, there are healthy, yummy snacks you can eat to cut the sugar cravings once and for all.
1. After meals chew gum sweetened with xylitol or allow a xylitol sweetened breath drop to melt in your mouth. Artificial sweeteners are controversial with potential health risks, but xylitol is natural and helps prevent tooth decay, as some recent studies are starting to report. So opt for xylitol sweetened only candy and gum.
2. Munch on a low glycemic sweet fruit after meals or whenever the craving hits you. Low glycemic index foods are less than 55. On this list are the fruits with their glycemic index:
- Dried apricots
- Kiwi fruit
3. Popcorn mixed with a handful of your favorite nuts also hits the spot. About 3 cups of popcorn is only 100 calories.
4. Veggies dipped with hummus. Hummus is great because it’s low carb and low in fat and good for you since it is made with garbanzo beans.
5. Low fat cheese sticks or soy cheese slices are another trick to curb the cookie monster.
Next time you want to dish out the dollars for a sugar filled snack, force yourself to partake of one of the choices above. You’ll thank yourself later.