Cause and effect
Experts used to coach people with diabetes to limit their sugar intake, but somewhere along the line that advice has changed. The American Diabetes Association tells their nutritionists to teach people with diabetes to fit sugar and sweets into a healthy diet. Their reasoning is that sugar is nearly impossible to avoid.
This might be one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. Crack is nearly impossible to avoid in some neighborhoods, but are you going to indulge if you happen to find yourself driving through?
Plus, they claim, it doesn’t cause diabetes or raise your blood sugar any more than other carbohydrates.
Oh really? Well, I beg to differ.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say that sugar is the direct cause of the diabetes epidemic. Not to mention obesity, heart disease, and oxidative stress in the body that leads to many other damaging consequences. It’s also the leading cause of tooth decay. And cancer cells feed on sugar in the body. So, I ask you–why do we have such a love affair with the stuff?
Part of the reason is that sugar plays an almost mystical role in many people’s lives. It has the ability to make you feel better instantly, even if for a brief period of time. Plus, think about when you were a kid…if you did something good, what did you get rewarded with? A cookie or a piece of candy. So we’ve been conditioned to associate sugar with happiness, from our earliest days.
But sugar’s prevalence in our lives goes beyond the emotional ties most people have to it…
The fact is, sugar is cheaper now than at any time in history. It’s why that candy bar and that can of soda cost so little. The government subsidizes sugar production to the tune of billions of dollars per year (perhaps some of that money can go towards eliminating potatoes from the school lunch menu–I know, I shouldn’t have brought it up again, but I couldn’t help it). So to make the most of that investment, they encourage food manufacturers to add it to, well, just about everything.
Which leads to an average consumption rate of roughly 155 pounds of the stuff in a year (that’s 35 teaspoons each day). And those are per person numbers.
But I’m here to tell you that it is possible to avoid sugar. I do it every day, and so do thousands of my patients.
Of course, when I ask them to give it up, they’re always reluctant. Yet, a week later, they all come back saying the same things:
“I never knew I was so addicted to sugar.”
“I can’t believe how much better I feel now that I don’t eat it.”
“I had a few cookies the other night and felt terrible the entire next day–I am never touching the stuff again.”
Listen, I’m not so naïve to think that you’ll never eat sugar again. But, my point here is that we all need to be more aware of just how prevalent it is in our lives–and work to change the role it plays from “lead” to “special guest star.”
Save your sugar indulgences for special occasions that are truly worth it. Instead, make life’s many other decadent indulgences …rich, creamy avocado…gooey, melty cheese…juicy burgers and steaks…your everyday food focus.