Scary statistic: Sugar from soda and other sweetened beverages is now the #1 source of calories in the American diet — USDA Research Center at Tufts University

It’s been said that if white refined sugar were put before the FDA today it would not be approved. Unfortunately, white refined sugar and other refined sugars such as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) are a multi0billion dollar industry that isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, refined sugars are found in just about every processed food today.

Refined sugar is an anti-nutrient stimulant that is over 99% pure calories – no vitamins, minerals, fiber, or protein. As a simple carbohydrate lacking in fiber and nutrients, refined sugar actually depletes the body of nutrients and enzymes, not to mention depletes your body’s energy as it causes a dramatic rise in blood sugar levels followed by a rapid fall. Eating refined sugar is like driving a car with a stuck accelerator: you speed around for a short time, then run out of gas. Over time your body requires more and more to get it going again. But that’s just the beginning of the problems associated with this beast.

Dr. Robert Lustig, a California endocrinologist and avid researcher, has concluded that refined sugar, more than any other substance, is to blame for America’s overall public health crisis. New research shows that beyond weight gain and diabetes, sugar is a toxin and could be a driving force behind some of this country’s leading killers, ranging from heart disease to cancer.

An ongoing study at the University of California, Davis suggests calories from added sugars are different than calories from other foods. Subjects who consumed high fructose corn syrup, for example, had increased blood levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease;

confirming what many holistic healthcare professionals have been telling people for years – that sugar, not fat, is the biggest culprit when it comes to high cholesterol and heart disease

Lewis Cantley, a Harvard professor, says sugar can serve as a catalyst to fuel certain types of cancers – including breast and colon cancers. Similar to my own long-held recommendation, Cantley advises people not to eat refined sugar. And if you must, keep it to a minimum.

Regularly fueling your body with quick-burning refined sugars is known to cause or contribute to numerous other health conditions as well, including: arthritis, pain, inflammation, osteoporosis, asthma, sinus problems, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, digestive disorders, candida (yeast overgrowth), food sensitivities, eczema, acne, frequent colds, migraines, depression, anxiety, PMS, fatigue, brain fog, and more.

It’s easy to see how refined sugar is one of the leading causes of virtually every kind of disease in this country when you consider that the average American eats 21 teaspoons of sugar a day. By comparison, the recommended limit for women is 6 teaspoons a day, and for men, 9 teaspoons a day. That’s less than the average can of soda that contains 12 teaspoons – and the average American drinks 2.5 sodas per day with the average teenager consuming 3.5 sodas per day.

Sugar is as Addictive as Cocaine

There’s no mystery why we eat so much sugar today. New studies show that sugar activates the brain similar to drugs such as cocaine. People who frequently drink sodas or eat ice cream or other sweet foods may be building up a tolerance, much like drug users do. That means the more you eat, the less you feel the reward. The result: you eat more than ever.

That confirms what myself and many other natural health advocates have been saying for years, as well: that sugar is highly addictive and acts more like a drug in the body than food. To make matters worse, it’s now in virtually every processed food and beverage on the market. Sugar is literally the most socially acceptable drug today, with addiction frequently starting soon out of the womb. As a recovered sugar addict, I can attest to its addictive nature and also to the fact that you can escape from its clutches.

Conquer the Sugar Beast!

The first step in recovering from sugar addiction is to make the switch to natural-brand processed foods and beverages made with less-refined sugars. There are more choices than ever before at you local health food store. Then switch over to natural sweeteners such as raw honey or pure maple syrup, keeping in mind these are still concentrated sweeteners. Eventually it’s best to have nothing sweeter than fruit on a daily basis and save sweeter treats for special occasions or a weekly planned indulgence. To reduce cravings and restore energy levels, it’s also important to implement strategies that help maintain balanced blood sugar levels throughout the day.

And as with any addiction – don’t be afraid to get help!

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