Aleteia

5 Side effects of sugar that might surprise you

LITTLE GIRL WITH DONUT
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Even in moderation, this pervasive ingredient should be reconsidered.

Good grief, I HATE sugar. Yes, hate is a strong word, but it’s so appropriate for my feelings toward sugar. These feelings didn’t ever fully develop until I became a mama. Then it hit like a bomb; my oldest daughter discovered sugar and she was never the same again! It’s like I could see it in her eyes, the way she was effected. She turns into a crazy, intolerable, ADHD-acting kid who loses complete control over everything, no matter how hard she tries. Add in artificial colors or any other chemical laden junk and she basically needs an exorcism.

My daughter is now seven and knows herself so well that she’s able to “sometimes” make the better decisions. She won’t eat candy and junk at school because she doesn’t want to give her teacher a bad impression. Nope, she’d rather save that for me … and for her amazing slew of grandparents who are the biggest offending sugar suppliers.

But in moderation, we can have everything, right? True story: you can have everything in moderation, but not everything causes severe, intense addiction. On my run yesterday, I got myself so worked up thinking about the addictive nature of sugar and how our culture doesn’t address it. It’s truly the only addictive drug-like chemical that’s totally legal and not frowned upon; in fact, I truly believe sugar addiction is killing more people than anything else out there.

Lifestyle changes are hard. We don’t want to give up everything we love and we’re truly scared to fail at doing it, but sugar is one of those things that will never add nutritional value to our lives. You know what else? It’s everywhere, freakishly everywhere. It’s in crackers you eat, low-fat dairy products for added flavor, bread, tea, dried fruit, and on and on. In fact, there’s over 60 different names for sugar!

If all that isn’t reason enough to give it up, or replace it with honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar, then try these reasons on for size:

1. It has the same effect on your brain as cocaine

Just like drugs, your brain becomes desensitized to it with overconsumption, and you build up a tolerance of sorts. Then you need more and more to get the same feeling.

2. Withdrawal symptoms

You know that if there are withdrawal symptoms connected with a substance, it can’t be good. Think headache/migraines, nervousness, other cravings and severe moodiness.

3. It makes depression and anxiety worse

There are so many ways to naturally improve symptoms of depression and anxiety through eating for a healthy blood sugar and exercising. Sugar only makes the symptoms more intense and more out of control.

4. It stores as fat in your body

When you eat sucrose sugar, especially by itself, it spikes your blood sugar and stores in your fat cells because you don’t need that much “energy” right away.

5. The risk is greater than the reward

With all things in life, we need to weigh the pros and cons. Sugar can only cause harm to 99 percent of people. It actually leaves you unsatisfied and only wanting more.

I mean really, who wants that for their kids? I’ve never met a parent that would ask for these kinds of problems for their children. We try to limit actual sugar to birthday parties and special occasions. I make baked goods, but they are much less sweet and we use maple syrup, raw or Manuka honey, black strap molasses, and coconut sugar. These are great alternatives, but first you have to retrain your mind to not like your drinks and foods as sweet. It’s hard at the beginning, but so worth it!

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