In this season of self-absorption’ we find many people are using this time as an excuse to feed their addictions. ‘Sugar’ is found everywhere this time of year and most of us feel as if it is expected to partake in this device.
Sugar leads to a release of dopamine in an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens – a section associated with motivation, novelty, and reward. Researchers have found this is the same brain region associated in response to cocaine and or heroin use.
“Research studies have linked excess sugar consumption to dangerous levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad type!), increased plaque deposits in the arteries, and breast and colon cancers. High fructose corn syrup – that insidious ingredient found in many salad dressings, ketchup, coffee creamers etc., has been linked to increased heart disease and stroke. There is evidence that some cancer tumors have insulin receptors that feed on glucose” says, Melanie A. Greenberg, Ph.D. in The Mindful Self-Express.
It isn’t just a weight gain! Another not so sweet effect is that it has been shown that an over-consumption of sugar is linked to the aging process!!!
More than that…sugar has also been linked to depression, learning disorders and memory concerns, says David DiSalvo, of Forbes.
It is said the average person consumes up to 156 pounds of sugar PER YEAR! (reports the USDA, United States Department of Agriculture) It isn’t just that we eat or drink 31.2 – 5 pound bags of sugar…but that sugar is ‘hidden’ in everything that we eat! When we purchase food in a restaurant chances are even the chicken that has water added to it also has sugar and salt added to it. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) have found 27.5 teaspoons per day are ‘added’ to our food intake, which equates to 1/4 of our daily (2000 calorie) food intake! It is no wonder we can’t understand how or why we are gaining weight. But it isn’t just weight gain that sugar creates…
A diet high in sugar also limits our brains’ ability to form new memories, and learn new information, aiding in the age related diseases like Dementia and Alzheimer’s. But that’s not all…oh no that’s not all! The brain can get ‘over-wrought’ and literally ‘burned-out’ by over-dosing on sugar. As this occurs the brain’s ability to use the chemical ‘oxytocin’ (which should signal a persons ‘feeling’ of being satisfied) is reduced and the person continues to eat more and more because they do not feel ‘finished’ or satisfied. Hence, eating more sugar, and perpetuating a cycle of increased glucose, resulting in other health issues such as Diabetes.
So, as we ‘choose’ what gifts we want our children to have as adults, it is imperative we LOVE them, by not ‘gifting’ them with a sugar addiction, or a brain chemistry that supports addictions but instead by educating them on how and what to feed themselves to maintain a healthy mental control of their bodies and brains!
With this thought in mind, I wish all of you a VERY happy and HEALTHY New Year!