Sugar, honey, honey
Did you know that the Irish are second largest consumers of chocolate in the world? We consume approximately 9.9kg per person which equates to 198 bars a year or 3.8 bars per week. Which, when you consider how many hidden sugars exist in our food, means that we consume a shocking amount of sugar each day.
Scientists in Bordeaux have reported that in clinical trials conducted on animals, rats chose sugar over cocaine (even when they were addicted to cocaine), and speculated that no mammals’ sweet receptors are naturally adapted to the high concentrations of sweet tastes on offer in modern times. Worried scientists claimed, in a paper published in 2007, that the intense stimulation of these receptors by our typical 21st-century, sugar-rich diets generate a supra-normal reward signal in the brain, with the potential to override self-control mechanisms which can lead to addiction.
Sugar, whether added to food by you or the manufacturer, is the greatest threat to human health, bar none. Scientists now believe that fructose fools our brains into thinking we aren’t full, so we overeat. Every molecule we ingest has a corresponding appetite hormone and when we’ve eaten enough of this molecule, the corresponding hormone tells our brain, “we’re full now, stop eating”. We’re designed to eat only as much as we need.
Every molecule, that is, except the one found in fructose. When we eat fructose, it’s like our body doesn’t notice it. It goes undetected. And so we eat and eat and eat, but our bodies don’t feel full. In other words we have no fructose “off switch”.
Furthermore, excess fructose cannot be converted into energy by the mitochondria inside our cells (which perform this function). Instead they turn excess fructose into liver fat which starts a cascade of insulin resistance (insulin promotes sugar uptake from blood) which leads to chronic metabolic disease, including diabetes and heart disease.
So why is sugar so bad for us? We were designed to eat very little of it. Back in caveman times the occasional glut of summer berries or hard earned honey jar was highly valuable and extremely rare. Sugar is far to easy for us to attain now so when we eat it, our body freaks and turns it immediately to fat, thus wreaking metabolic havoc.
Why has it become such a problem for us? Just take a quick look at the shelves in the shops and notice the amount of low-fat options available. Fat was considered to be the cause of all our heart problems 30 years ago and low fat food were introduced to help us out. But when you take the fat out of food it tastes, well, horrible. So they added sugar or low cal sweeteners to make it taste better. But it’s actually just made the problem much much worse.
Most fats (not the saturated ones) are actually good for us and are used to make necessary hormones in the body. So our low cal, low fat foods, not only deprive us of vital fats for cell repair, gives us lots of fructose which can’t be metabolised by the body and gets converted into saturated fat stored around the liver. When the liver can’t function properly because it’s loaded down with toxic waste from our food, it can’t filter our blood or regulate our hormones or aid digestion. We start to develop serious health issues.
Are you freaked out? Join Lisa Wilkinson for a 2 week workshop on how to safely quit sugar and feel healthier and happier than you have done in years!