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Weekly Diet News Digest
by John McGran, Columnist

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We can all stand to cut back on our sugar consumption. The average American consumes almost 150 pounds of sugar a year and much of it is hidden. Patty James, an expert on natural foods and organic cooking, is here to reveal the dangers of too much sugar in your diet -- and to show you how to quench your craving for the sweet stuff.

Simple Tips to Beat Your Sugar Addiction

sugar habitBy definition, sugar addiction is a term for the situation where individuals crave sweet foods and find it difficult to give it up. There is clearly an aspect of psychological addiction (mother's milk representing love and nurturing is naturally sweet) but recent research has also identified elements of physical dependence. Addictive drugs stimulate receptors in the brain to release natural opiods and dopamine, neurochemicals that trigger feelings of pleasure or well-being.

It's important to understand what sugar is and how it affects your health before learning how to give up the white stuff.

The term sugar refers to sucrose, also called table sugar, a white crystalline solid disaccharide. Commercially produced table sugar comes from either sugar cane or sugar beets. The sweetener High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS,) found in many processed foods has replaced regular sugar in a considerable number of products. It is six times sweeter than sugar and does not act the same way as sugar in the body.

HFCS does not stimulate insulin production; it is processed more like fat. Some experts believe that it actually converts to fat faster and easier than regular sugar. Its super sweet flavor could contribute to sugar cravings.

Alcohol consumption also contributes to sugar cravings. Many former alcoholics have intense sugar cravings because sugar acts very similar to alcohol in the body. Moreover, for many, alcohol acts like a gateway drug to the over consumption of food. White flour, white potatoes, and white rice all convert to sugar in the body. These will all cause the high rise of insulin and the drop in blood sugar that leads to sugar cravings. Eat whole grains and whole-grain breads.

The average American consumes almost 150 pounds of sugar a year and much of it is hidden. Become a label reader; anything that ends with "ose" is a form of sugar and that includes fructose, sucrose and maltose. "Ols" such as mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol and maltitol, are sugar alcohols and are common in breath mints and gum.

What does sugar do in your body?

There is the obvious disease - type 2 diabetes - that is closely linked to the over consumption of sugar and the consequence, obesity. Sugar causes inflammation in the body and inflammation is associated with everything from acne and wrinkles, to arthritis, heart disease and depression. ...    Continue

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