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Why You Crave Sugar

Way back in a land before cheap and artificially sweetened sodas, sweets and all of the sugary things, the only sweetness we knew was that of a piece of fresh fruit or maybe some natural honey if one was so lucky to even find any.

At one point in time, we used to have to hunt and gather our food. There was no one to tell us what foods were the best for our health. We simply ate what we could find and was available to us to survive. We are lucky enough now to have science and research tell us that fresh fruits are a safe source of energy full of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.  Back then, all we had to rely on were neutrotransmitters in our brain that would help us remember that these foods were good choices by sending us signals of pleasure and reward. These signals were hard wired in our brain from the beginning of time to help us choose the best foods for our health. The same applies for both salty and fatty foods as well.

So, the fact that you crave sugar is quite normal. The problem is, we were never designed for our desire for sweets to lead us to a 32 oz. soda with almost a cup of concentrated sugar or to cookies, candy bars, cereals, and basically all of the processed foods you find in grocery stores aisles today. It was designed to lead us to the most nutrient dense food.

Unlike raw fruit, these extremely stimulating and often artificially sweetened foods are void of any nutrition. They are nothing but empty calories with zero benefit to your health. The only benefit they bring is pleasure and reward, and this is only temporary as your blood sugar will come crashing back down after the huge sugar rush, leaving you craving even more sugar. It is an endless cycle.

So, when you crave sugar now, do you think to grab an apple or some fresh berries?  I can bet probably never. You most likely go straight to the chocolate chips in your freezer (that is my guilty pleasure I will admit), the leftover piece of cake on your counter, or the soda in your fridge, or you fill in the blank for your sugar cravings. Why do we do that??

Well, the same signals that led us to nutrient dense foods  from the beginning of time still apply today. The overly sweet foods (I mean “food-like” substances)  that are abundant in the Standard American Diet, light up pleasure and reward centers in the brain just the same as a piece of fruit would. However, it is for different reasons than nature intended.  These processed, highly concentrated sources of sugar provide zero health benefit to us and lead us to crave more, overeat, and lucky for the manufactures, spend more money on the foods we are now addicted to!

If you’re thinking, “Well I only eat foods that are sweetened with 0 calorie sweeteners like splenda or sweet-n-low. I probably am ok right?”

Absolutely not.

Artificial Sweeteners are anywhere from 200-600 times sweeter than table sugar, stimulating your brain even more resulting in even greater cravings/addiction. On top of that, they are filled with toxic chemicals that are harmful to your health.

So, I say all of this to let you know that your cravings for sugar are not your fault. You were designed to crave sweet foods, just not the overstimulating sweet foods that we over consume today.

Fruit is most likely not on your radar as being a dessert or sweet treat. When this was the only sweet food available, fruit was considered a delicacy. We sadly have lost the ability to appreciate the natural sweetness of a piece of fruit because of how overstimulating and overly concentrated our foods are with sugar. I always have to laugh at when I go to my sweet grandma’s house and she is cutting up beautiful fresh strawberries only to pour a cup full of sugar over them because well, they just weren’t sweet enough already I suppose. I can only assume she isn’t the only one that does this. Do you see the fault in this?

The fact that added sugar (sugar that was not originally a part of the food) has an unhealthy psychological response in our bodies is only one of the major reasons we should eliminate it from our diet completely. The other major reasons we should avoid it will have to be saved for another post on another day.

Until next time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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