Apple Jack’s, PixyStix, Mary Jane’s and Fireballs. Am I dating myself? My favorite sweets were constant companions growing up. And it didn’t end with childhood. Sugar binges were frequent in high school and college. Friday nights were all about brownies and Hagen Daz in front of the T.V. and it was standard for me to buy 5 candy bars to carry me through a late night of cramming for finals.
My sugar addiction started young, and it progressed pretty quickly, in spite of my weak stomach. I used to spend late Sunday nights bent over the toilet on account of my weekend sugar binges. I eventually trained my stomach to be able to handle the junk I fed it, and I was off to the races, packing on 50 extra pounds by age 20.
I couldn’t eat just one of anything and it showed. But I never knew I was actually addicted until I learned about sugar addiction; until someone actually taught me about all the kinds of sugar that were in everyday foods I was eating, even when I was trying to be “good:” Foods like Special K, low-fat salad dressing and pasta sauce. With all the sugar that was in the “good” foods I was eating, I didn’t stand a chance.
Nowadays there is so much more information about sugar addiction that it’s finally recognized as a real problem. But because sugar is so seductively dressed up in so many lovely and delicious ways, it’s easy to forget how destructive it really is.
Just so we have a shot at changing the tide of the sugar epidemic, let’s take a look at just how sugar is wreaking havoc on our bodies and our lives:
1. Tired of being sick?
One can of soda can decrease your immunity defense by 25%; one piece of apple pie a la mode can weaken your immunity by 85%. That means that when you binge on sugar your body is far more vulnerable to getting sick. If you are often sick it’s probably not by chance, how much sugar is in your diet?
2. Got tooth decay?
The bacteria in our mouth uses sugar create substances that erode our teeth, including acid which corrodes the protective enamel. If you are shelling out a lot of dough at the dentist, your sugar intake may be the cause.
3. Did someone say obesity epidemic?
Sugars are no more caloric than starch or protein but because you can pack a lot of sugar calories into a small amount of food, you end up eating more of it before you get full. Overeating not only leads to obesity but also increases the risk of onset diabetes.