Always thinking about sugar?
There is a reason sugar is on our minds. Each time we intake sugar it lights up the reward system in our brain acting like a drug. Food companies know this, which is why almost every processed or package food has some form of added sugar. The World Health Organization recommends no more than ten percent of an individual's diet should come from sugar. Therefore an average healthy adult should intake no more than 25 grams of sugar a day. A single can of Coke contains 39 grams of sugar, which far exceeds the recommended limit.
How it Affects the Brain:
When we eat food dopamine is released into the brain. However, as we eat the same foods day after day, dopamine levels drop. This phenomenon ensures us to seek a variety of foods to establish intake of an array of vitamins and minerals. Sugar has a different affect on the brain. Dopamine levels remain elevated after consuming sugars day after day. Dr. Nicole Avena is a research neuroscientist, author and expert in the fields of nutrition, diet and addiction. According to Dr. Avena "Research has found that when lab rats consume too much sugar, they will actually show changes in the brain that are consistent with what you might see with addiction to a drug of abuse. So changes in neurotransmitter release, changes in gene expression. And this may play a role in the reason why many people have hard time cutting back on their intake."
Eliminate processed and hidden sugars from your diet. It is simple but it can be tough with our brains craving it. To increase your chances of success take these steps:
You know what sugar is. It's sweet and addictive. Sure I can go into how sugar is a carbohydrate and there are different types, monosaccharides and disaccharide, but you have an idea of what sugar is and that it's unhealthy. So you may try to avoid sugar. But you may want to avoid these too:
1. Barley malt 2. Barbados sugar 3. Beet sugar 4. Brown sugar 5. Buttered syrup 6. Cane juice 7. Cane sugar 8. Caramel 9. Corn syrup 10. Corn syrup solids 11. Confectioner’s sugar 12. Carob syrup 13. Castor sugar 14. Date sugar 15. Dehydrated cane juice 16. Demerara sugar 17. Dextran 18. Dextrose 19. Diastatic malt 20. Diatase 21. Ethyl maltol 22. Free Flowing Brown Sugars 23. Fructose 24. Fruit juice 25. Fruit juice concentrate 26. Galactose 27. Glucose 28. Glucose solids 29. Golden sugar 30. Golden syrup 31. Grape sugar 32. HFCS (High Frustose Corn Syrup… Very Bad!) 33. Honey 34. Icing sugar 35. Invert sugar 36. Lactose 37. Malt 38. Maltodextrin 39. Maltose 40. Malt syrup 41. Mannitol 42. Maple syrup 43. Molasses 44. Muscovado 45. Panocha 46. Powdered Sugar 47. Raw sugar 48. Refiner’s syrup 49. Rice syrup 50. Sorbitol 51. Sorghum syrup 52. Sucrose 53. Sugar (granulated) 54. Treacle 55. Turbinado sugar 56. Yellow sugar
That’s right …also sugar. Sneaking its way onto your plate or drink. Sugar is found in almost everything processed or packaged. Therein lies the problem. We consume too much, even if you have been eating “healthy”. You can even find sugar in those "healthy" foods such as canned vegetables, yogurts, and health bars. If you are looking for the name SUGAR, it may be hidden by a different name.
Ways to avoid those hidden sugars: Eat Real Food. Organic vegetables and fruits. You may say “canned vegetables is real food.” Yes, vegetables are real food, but when packaged, sugar has been added. So try frozen packs of vegetables where you can see the only ingredient is the vegetable. There you can avoid the added sugar.
Why do we care or make the effort to reduce sugar intake? Because it affects our brain and body…our mood, energy levels, weight, and so on. Intake of sugar makes us crave more sugar by acting like a drug on the brain, releasing dopamine. And it affects our weight by taking the sugar and storing it as fat. So avoid those sneaky sugars to keep your body and brain functioning properly.