“S” is for Sugar

Perhaps the link to culinary happiness, sugar is none the less addictive. Even those of us who do not have an addictive personality are drawn to sugar like no other edible substance.

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Doctors say sugar is as addictive as cocaine. It activates areas in the brain that evoke a pleasure response–the same areas that light up with drugs such as cocaine. Neurochemical changes in the brain (Opiods and dopamine) cause the same withdrawal and craving symptomology.

Sugar–a ‘simple carbohydrate’ spikes the level of sugar in your blood, but does not have the slowing mechanism of other simple carbs (like those with fiber or protein) The hormone insulin helps move the sugar in your blood into your cells – a needed process to access the energy sugar contains. Refined carbohydrates cause the same blood sugar spikes, sending you on a roller coaster ride you can’t win.

The goal is to keep your blood levels of sugar more even so you don’t trigger those massive drops in sugar effectively exhausting your pancreas with insulin demands, thus causing the craving monster to rear its ugly head. Fiber and protein can be the evener. Over a few weeks time a gradual cut back of the sugar-laden stuff will actually diminish your cravings. Anyone who has cut way down on sugar will tell you that a return to it can actually elicit a face—much like the shock of sour a wedge of lemon brings. Your taste buds actually regain their ability to taste more subtle, better for you sweets.

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Cold turkey or gradual. Dr Oz counsels cold turkey. Many of we mere mortals will recognize the danger of sever relapse in that strategy. And who is really ready to never delight in another piece of birthday cake or a creamy cold ice cream cone on a hot summer’s day?

Moderation. I struggle with it. Do you?

Is the joy of indulgence with the fight?

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