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The biggest drug dealer- the food industry

May 9, 2017

You wake up, walk into the kitchen, take a bowl and fill it with Cap’n Crunch goodness. Next, you pour in milk and grab a spoon. It’s been less than an hour, and already you have consumed at least 23 grams of sugar, over half of the daily recommended amount.

Added sugars should make up only six to 10 percent of  the daily calories. Based on a 2,000 calorie diet the sugar quantity should only be between 30 and 50 grams. But, you never have just one bowl of Crunch; and before you head out the door you’ve consumed all of the sugar recommended. Because to top it off, sugar is addictive. It’s time to break the habit.

As summer approaches, the average teenager will consume even more sugar than they do in the winter. Refined sugar is more addictive than cocaine; one of the most addictive and harmful substances currently known. Ninety four percent of rats who were given the option to choose between sugar water and cocaine, chose sugar. Sugar is a toxic substance, knowing this, why do we continue to put it into our bodies? Once it was offered as a choice, even the rats who were addicted to cocaine quickly switched their preference to sugar.

If rats are willing to work harder for sugar than they are for cocaine, imagine how much the teenage body comes to rely on daily sugar consumption. One can of Coca-Cola contains 39 grams of sugar-more sugar than two strawberry Pop-Tarts. The average American teenager consumes 53 gallons of soda each year. That’s 6,784 ounces or 565 cans every year. However, don’t be fooled by ‘healthy options’. Even orange juice has 23 grams of added sugar per 8 fluid ounces. And a Red Bull smoothie? Anywhere from 90- 120 grams of sugar.

The fight isn’t as simple as buying Grape Nuts instead of Captain Crunch. Sugar is big business. The Global Health and Nutrition Network predicted the sugar industry to be worth $97.2 billion at a 4.6 percent annual growth rate since 2012. The market for high intensity sweetners such as corn syrup is expected to reach an additional $1.9 billion. The average America alone consumes 152 pounds of sugar in one year, compared to 123 pounds consumed in 1970, and just two pounds of sugar consumed per person two hundred years earlier in the American colonies.

A 2012 paper in the journal Nature introduced the idea that sugar, like alcohol, should have warning labels. The article showed evidence that fructose and glucose can have a toxic effect on the liver with the metabolism of ethanol. Our bodies consume 100 calories of glucose in the form of starch from potatoes or bread a lot differently than if they consume 100 calories from refined sugar.

If you think your slim figure keeps you safe from the toxic effects to your liver from fructose and glucose, think again.  Any calories that aren’t burned off in the body are stored in the liver in the form of fat, and over time this can lead to a condition called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Adolescent obesity rates have tripled in the past 30 years, making our future look very XL. Obese children are at higher risk for experiencing other chronic health conditions and diseases that impact physical health such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and risk factors for heart disease.. In the long run, childhood obesity is also associated with obesity as an adult.

Obesity and cancer seem to go hand in hand. Adult obesity leads to cancers of the breast, colon, womb, oesophageal, pancreatic, kidney, liver, upper stomach, gallbladder, ovarian, thyroid, myeloma, and meningioma.  These cancers includes two of the most common types of cancer – breast and colon cancers – and three of the hardest to treat – pancreatic, oesophageal and gallbladder cancers. And, it all goes back to sugar.

Sugar is bad, but chemically produced sugar is worse. High fructose corn syrup hides itself in the vast majority of processed foods from the store. High fructose corn syrup is often added to food products to increase sweetness and flavor, all the while adding calories and sugar. Glucose is processed by every cell in the body, which is a more controlled release of energy as opposed to the fructose component of high fructose corn syrup that is processed primarily by the liver. In liquid form, this syrup can overwhelm the liver and causes it to convert most of that energy into fat. All the while it is creating an insulin dependency, which is a huge component of heart disease, diabetes and the beginnings of cancer.

Labels that advertise a product to be sugar free, fat free or low-calorie are actually just sneaky claims that attract consumers without caring about their health or well being. According to a study done by University Of North Carolina, no-fat, no-sugar, low-fat or reduced salt on food packaging may give consumers a sense of confidence before they purchase, but these claims rarely reflect the actual nutritional quality of the food.

“Sugar free” doesn’t always mean diet friendly. Aspartame is a common chemical found in artificial sweetners like NutraSweet, Equal, NatraSweet, Canderel, Spoonfuls, DiabetiSweet. These sweeteners might sound like a better option to grab instead of a sugar packet, but Aspartame has possible side effects that range from hallucinations to seizures to brain tumors.

A more widely known artificial sweetener is Sucralose, also known as Splenda. Research suggests that Splenda can enlarge both the liver and kidneys and shrink the thymus glands. Sucralose breaks down into small amounts of dichloro fructose, which has not been properly tested on humans. Splenda can cause skin rashes, panic, diarrhea, headaches, bladder issues, stomach pain. The calories saved do not merit the risk of the damage done.

According to statistics gathered by the National Institute of Health, death by sugar is more likely than an overdose of cocaine and heroin combined. In 2010, sugary beverage consumption accounted for 25,000 deaths in the United States and approximately 180,000 deaths worldwide.

To prevent these fatal circumstances, we need to be educated consumers. Sugar is a drug. It’s addictive and we are all hooked.

We challenge you to make this summer refined sugar and corn syrup free. Limit your sugar intake to your daily recommended amount, 30-50 grams and save yourself from future medical problems.

 

Limit your purchases of packaged products

Spaghetti sauce, salad dressing, and soup each contain large amounts of sugar. When you make soup at home, it is unlikely that you will pour a cup of sugar into the pot, however that is exactly what manufacturers do.

Know your sugars

Fructose, glucose, lactose, maltodextrin and dextrose are all types of sugar hiding under their scientific names. Read grocery labels so that you know what you are putting into your body.

Sweeten naturally

Honey, organic maple syrup, molasses, date sugar, agave, brown rice syrup, and stevia are just a few natural sweeteners you can turn to.

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