HOW SWEET IT IS
Jackie Gleason used, “How sweet it is,” for his comedy punch line. It always drew a laugh. I’m old enough to remember watching the Jackie Gleason Show on Saturday nights – not the Honeymooners, that was before my time. Anyway, I digress from my topic.
Sugar. When you talk about sweets, sugar comes to mind. Pastries, confections, candies and other delights are things dreams are made of. But sugar dreams are actually terrible nightmares where sugar is the monster in disguise that jumps out and grabs you.
I am not going to kid you about sugar. It is a hard thing for me to give up. I was raised on good old home-made goodies. Freshly made desserts for supper every day. My mother can make the best crème pies in the whole world and she made them often. Cakes, cookies, puddings and cobblers were never a surprise to us because we had them so often. We expected something sweet every day and she never failed to satisfy us. I have a true sweet tooth. But knowing the truth about sugar has a way of making it easier to give it up.
Recently I read an article by Jean West Rudnicki titled, “Our Love Affair with Sugar!” In it she quoted Dr. Mark Hyman who said, “Sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine. And what’s interesting is that while cocaine and heroin activate only one spot for pleasure in the brain, sugar lights up the brain like a pinball machine.”
Sugar has been added to almost everything that is processed for consumption. We already know that it is in cakes, sodas, candy and such but did you know that it is added to bread, breakfast cereals (not just the obvious sugar-coated ones), yogurts, catsup, peanut butter and pasta sauces and more. It is added to energy drinks, vitamin water and protein bars too. Read the ingredients labels – most everything you buy that is in a can, jar or box has sugar in it.
In the 1900’s a person ate on average of 5 pounds of sugar a year. Today a person eats on average 150 pounds a year. How did we get to this point? Because sugar is added to almost everything we consume. If a product is processed, sugar is added to enhance the flavor that processing removes. If something is labeled as low or fat-free, look for the added sugar because they had to do something to make the item palatable. The manufacturers know the addictive quality of sugar. And they add it on purpose – not to make the product taste better but to hook you on the product so you will want more. It is just like what the cigarette manufacturers did to make cigarette smokers crave cigarettes more – they added nicotine which is also highly addictive.
But sugar doesn’t just give us cavities if we consume it. It causes us to get fat which in turn causes many health related issues. Diabetes, elevated triglycerides, heart disease, fatty livers, and more. Another fact I learned is that cancer cells feed on sugar. There is no medical proof that sugar causes cancer but there is much scientific proof that cancer cells feed on sugar. I have a few friends that have cancer or have had cancer in the past and they have said that their oncologists instructed them to cut back severely or cut out sugar entirely.
So the baby step for this week is to begin cutting back on sugar until you can kick the sugar habit. This is a hard step and I am taking it with you. Cut out the added sugars and replace them with natural sugars – like those found in fruit and some vegetables. Is this going to be easy? No. Will it be worth it? Yes. This is something we both need to do.
Bye for now.