The Sweet Truth

The Sweet Truth

Sweets . . . cupcakes, ice cream, cakes, candy. We offer them at every special occasion from birthdays to weddings, and we give them to our loved ones for every holiday from Valentine’s Day to Christmas.

Grandparents reward their precious grandchildren with all the sweets and candy they can eat.  Sugar is added to just about everything in the grocery aisles. But what are we really doing to our children and ourselves? 

Where does all this sugar come from?  And, why are we so addicted to it?

Millions of years ago, our ancestors survived on sugar-rich fruit. As the Business Insider explains in Why do humans love sugar?   “thousands of years ago, sugar was not readily available. Our bodies were programmed to seek out sugar and eat it when it was found.” 

  • Sugar provided energy and helped us store fat.
  • The fat allowed us to survive the winters and long spells when food was scarce. 
  • Sugar releases dopamine, the “feel good” chemical in our brains.
  • Those more addicted to sugar were more likely to survive. 

In 1900, the average American consumed about 40 pounds of sugar annually. Today, the average American consumes about 160 pounds of sugar per year.  How did this happen?

In the 1970s, High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFC) was developed from an inexpensive corn crop. Farmers were encouraged to grow the corn and received extensive government subsidies. This sugar enabled manufacturers to make food less expensive and was included in a variety of processed foods, drinks and fast foods.

So, what’s so bad about sugar? It definitely tastes good!

Sugar affects the brain with a rapid sugar high followed by a rapid call for the body to lower blood sugar by secreting insulin. 

This reaction can trigger hunger pangs which can lead to weight gain and a plethora of other issues from

  • elevated cholesterol,
  • immune resistance, and
  • deposits of plaque in  arterial walls. 

When we see the increase of hyperactivity in children, who are frequently treated with drugs, we should look first at

  • the sugared cereals they eat for breakfast,
  • the sugared drinks they drink throughout the day (including chocolate milk at 24 grams of sugar per carton), and
  • the processed foods they are served at school and at home. 

The only way to know how much added sugar we are eating is to read labels and know all the code words that manufacturers use on their list of ingredients. See Reading Labels for more information.

  • Roughly 350 million Americans have diabetes.
  • Predicted that in the next 25 years, 1 out of 3 Americans will be diagnosed with diabetes.
  • 1 in 3 Medicare dollars are spent on diabetes.
  • 1 in 10 healthcare dollars are spent on diabetes.
  • Diabetes is a disease caused by excess insulin.
  • Insulin takes the glucose and moves it to fat and muscle, which causes hypoglycemia.
  • Your body needs more sugar and you eat again not because you are hungry but because you need more sugar which creates an endless cycle.
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