Sugar is the most addictive substance we have in the world. Some say it is more addictive than cocaine. Side by side brain scans show that the brain will produce as much dopamine (the feel good neurotransmitter) and release opiate-like substances activating the brain’s reward system just like cocaine. This is why we feel good and justified after eating sugar.
Let’s take a look at how much are adults and kids consuming:
1 The American Heart Association recommends we consume less than 10 teaspoons of sugar a day. Then average adult American is not listening — the average American eats or drinks at least 22 teaspoons per day. Our kids? Thirty-two teaspoons per day. And if you are thinking, not me or my kid, then my challenge to you is to write down everything you eat in one day and calculate the sugar in grams. One teaspoon of sugar is equal to 4 grams.
2 In 1900, Americans consumed 50 pounds of sugar per year. Today, we eat or drink 152 pounds of sugar per year. Sixty-one pounds of that is from high fructose corn syrup (which we didn’t have back then), mostly coming from soda pop. This adds up to about 500 calories per day that we consume extra in our diet. Every. Single. Day.
3 Speaking of soda pop, the average American drinks 53 gallons of pop per year. The average can of pop has 10 teaspoons of sugar alone. Unfortunately I have seen soda pop in baby bottles many times.
4 Did you know juice metabolizes the same way as soda pop in the body? Let’s take a look at the nutritional breakdown of 12-ounce juice vs pop:
- Coca Cola: 140 calories and 40 grams of sugar (10 teaspoons).
- Apple juice: 165 calories and 39 grams of sugar (9.8 teaspoons).
- Vitamin water is no better. 8 ounces is 13 grams of sugar.
5 Eating and drinking sugar not only suppresses the immunity (this is why more kids get sick during this time of year and doctor’s offices are the busiest after Halloween), sugar (no matter what form) causes an over production of digestive enzymes, which in turns makes the pancreas work harder. This in turn makes the liver work harder.
And if we took most of this sugar out of our diets, that would equal 500 calories per day, or 10 pieces of bacon per day. (I think I would rather eat bacon myself). If those Coke or Diet Coke (or insert the name of your favorite brand) addicts stop drinking pop they can easily lose 10-15 pounds in one year without changing their diet.
Sugar also robs our bodies of B vitamins (which give our cells energy to function), disrupts calcium absorption (important for growing bones and our heart muscle) and has a deleterious effect on the nervous system (which affects our ability to focus, think and behave).
Please don’t think this post is to scare you, but to make you think differently in what we all can do differently to improve our overall health and wellbeing. It is about the quality of what we put into our bodies to improve the energy we have to give to so many during our day.