Friday, November 29, 2013

Help Fighting Sugar Cravings

Why do we crave sugar? It can be addictive - eating sugar causes dopamine release in the part of the brain associated with reward and motivation. "Ah, ha!", you say. That explains why you can be found rummaging through drawers and cupboards like a frantic robber in search of something sweet.

Some Science on Sugar
According to studies, sugar does actually affect the brain. Researchers at the University of California trained rats to successfully navigate a maze, then replaced their water with 15 percent fructose syrup (soda is typically 12 percent). After six weeks of the fructose syrup, the rats were slower to complete the maze. When the rat’s brains were dissected the researchers discovered the sugar disrupted relay chemical messages, and thus effected the ability of the brain to form memories. 
(A Neat Fact: This study also experimented with omega-3 fatty acid intake and found when the rats’ diet were supplemented with omega-3 fatty acids they could complete the maze faster.)

Science isn't sure yet how directly sugar is linked to chronic disease. However, science does know that sugar does have a high glycemic index, and diets with a high glycemic index can lead to disease: The Nurses Study followed over 75,000 women for a decade and illustrated that a high glycemic load is linked with a high risk of coronary heart disease. 

"Big Sugar" - Estimated at $77.5 billion last year, the global sugar industry (nicknamed ‘Big Sugar’) is overseen by the Sugar Association. It has used millions of dollars to influence research, dietary guidelines and media to keep the bitter reality about sugar hidden. Check out documentaries online about Big Sugar - it's a really fascinating story.

My Confession: I totally love sugar! It's like my body has been invaded by a Sugar Monster that likes to randomly roar and stomp until its fed. So, I have a few bars of organic, free-trade dark chocolate hiding in the panty (shhh, don't tell the kids), and I take a few chunks to the couch as my post-kids-to-bed treat at night. It's nice - a little something sweet that doesn't contain too many calories...and, it's great at getting that pesky Sugar Monster to shut-up.

No comments:

Post a Comment