This article is meant to shed some light on what goes on inside our bodies when we consume sugar and why it's so hard to shake. There will also be some alternative diet suggestions that are fairly simple to implement. All you will need is the info provided and a little will power.
Sugar Consumption Over The Years
What's the deal with sugar?
"...You wouldn't think twice about not giving your kid a Budweiser, but you don't think twice about giving your kid a can of coke...But they're the same"—Robert Lustig
Sugar is a highly addictive substance and our brains quickly get addicted to it. This is because, from an evolutionary standpoint, you were "programmed" to seek out calorie dense foods. Sweeter foods tend to be more calorie dense giving you energy, and to top it off, they're rarely poisonous. Sweets also activate our brains' reward systems, causing us to crave them even more! In fact, sweets activate the same parts of the brain that cocaine does. With all of this being said, sugar isn't necessarily bad until you refine it. In refinement, you rid yourself of valuable fibers, vitamins, and minerals and are left with a load of pure energy that has a powerful effect on the brain's reward system.
The average American consumes about 25-26 teaspoons of sugar a day! That's nearly four large red apples, five pears, or seven oranges. If that doesn't put it into perspective, how about nearly two pounds of sugarcane (where our table sugar comes from)? The difference here, still, is the fact that pure sugar is void of fiber that slows down the absorption rate and gives you a balanced source of energy with no crash. This also applies to fruit juices; Smoothies, on the other hand, retain all of the necessary pulps of fruits and veggies, therefore the effect is a desired one.
Now let's take a look at how sugar affects the body (don't worry, I'll make this very simple). Sugar is made up of fructose and glucose. The problem here is fructose because it's not necessary for bodily function, therefore it is only metabolized in the liver. In this way, fructose has a similar effect that ethanol from alcoholic beverages do. Because fructose cannot be stored as glycogen, one of the body's sources for energy, it is instead ultimately converted to fat. But wait, there's more! It also leads to insulin resistance causing a glucose buildup in the bloodstream. This can lead to type two diabetes. But wait... still more! Fat also accumulates in the liver, making it increasingly harder for the liver to do its job and the end result is fatty liver disease which, again, can lead to type two diabetes.
Now I'd like to add one thing. Sugar is in nearly everything in the form of added sugar, even foods advertised as healthy. Sometimes companies will disguise this fact by labeling sugar as dextrose, cane crystals, corn sweetener, evaporated cane juice, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, and more. Most candies, cakes, sodas, boxed/dehydrated foods, canned goods, breads, and even condiments contain added sugar. Though the list for diseases and illnesses caused by consuming these foods is extensive, all of these things can easily be avoided.
The best suggestion I could possibly give to you is this: When at the grocery store, shop off of the outside shelves. Avoid the middle isles. That's it. Only buy fresh fruits, veggies, and produce. Of course, frozen fruits and veggies are also acceptable, but generally speaking, the fresher the better. You can also treat yourself to something sugary every now and then to ensure you will sustain a more healthy lifestyle for the long run without feeling deprived...or just cut it out completely. For further research purposes, I would recommend watching the following documentaries:
The Truth About Sugar—2015
The Sugar Trap
Sugar: the bitter truth (This one is a gem, I truly recommend)***
That's it for now. Thank you so much for reading. Let's all get better one day at a time.