How we so love you, let us count the ways. The public's obsession with sugar is a growing phenomenon leading the way to various health issues, ranging from mildly irritating conditions to drastic disease. Of course, there's also the impact that sugar is having on the adult and childhood obesity epidemic, a disease all in itself. So what about sugar makes us seek it out, salivate at the sight of our favorite candy wrapper and crave its taste even though we know the risks associated with overeating it?
The attraction to sugar can be on multiple levels. First, the emotional one. For many of us sugar represents the forbidden fruit. Something that when we were kids was perhaps off limits. Something like dessert that can represent comfort and good memories at a family meal. Make no mistake - emotional attachments to foods can be very strong.
Second, eating sugary goodies may increase the absorption of tryptophan - an amino acid. Tryptophan helps make serotonin in our bodies. Serotonin can make us feel happy, so the implication is that it's possible that eating something sweet may make you feel happy.
Third, sugar can provide the quick pick-me-up we want from lack of sleep/stress/dehydration - and it's fast and effective. All in all, sugar can be quite persuasive.
In a recent quote, Dr. Mehmet Oz stated, "The average person consumes 150 pounds of sugar per year - compared to just 7 1/2 pounds consumed on average in the year 1700." 150 pounds! Interestingly enough, most of the sugar we consume is not what we add to our daily coffee, but rather it is sugars hidden in places you would never expect - in fat-free foods, salad dressings and regular soft drinks for example.
Now follow me here... 1 tablespoon of sugar = 45 calories. There are 32 tablespoons in 1 pound of sugar... still with me? That means on average, we consume approximate 216,000 calories annually, in sugar alone! That's crazy. Worse, ... Continue
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