Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sugar Addiction: Biology, Evolution and the Food Industry

If you are here reading my blog, chances are, you struggle with sugar addiction or perhaps may be seeking alternatives to white refined sugars.

I don't know about you, but at times I've felt absolutely powerless against the ragings of my sweet tooth. It's as if all of the delicious, fattening goodies out there sing out to my sweet tooth like a siren. Sometimes I give in and eat honey or fruit or whip up a batch of naturally sweetened this or that. Other times I try to focus on the project at hand and overpower the lustings of my mouth.....or perhaps, my brain.

I've stumbled across some interesting facts about sugar addiction and hopefully the information will shed some light onto why, at times, you must have something sweet. And then a bit more. And more.

From Food Addicts Anonymous website:

"The FAA program is based on the belief that food addiction is a bio-chemical disease. By following a food plan devoid of all addictive substances, we can recover. These substances include sugar, flour, and wheat in all their forms. They also include fats and any other high-carbohydrate, refined, processed foods that cause us problems individually."

From Michael Pollan in Food, Inc. (which I saw again, yesterday):

"We are eating 100's of pounds of [sugars] a year. The food industry is pushing our evolutionary buttons."

From Neal Barnard, M.D. book, Breaking the Food Seduction: "But banishing those cravings for chocolate, cookies, cheese, or burgers isn't a question of willpower, it's a matter of biochemistry."

From Marion Nestle's What To Eat: "If you cannot help liking sweet foods, it is for a good reason. Humans are born with a predilection for sweetness to stimulate sucking reflexes. Breast milk is sweet because it contains lactose, a double sugar of glucose and galactose. So it is normal to like sweet foods."

From David Kessler's The End of Overeating: "The combination of sugar and fat is what people prefer, and it's what they'll eat most."

"Many of us have what's called a 'bliss point'--the point at which we get the greatest pleasure from sugar, fat, or salt. Scientists depict this as an inverted U-shaped curve: As more sugar is added, food becomes more pleasurable until we reach the bliss point at the top of the curve, and then the pleasure experience drops off."

"Eating foods high in sugar, fat, and salt makes us eat more foods high in sugar, fat, and salt."

Evolution, the food industry and willpower seem to have a lot to do with our food cravings and choices. Imagine if all of the grocery stores and restaurants shut down, the packaged foods and beverages disappeared and all we had left were gardens...

1 comment:

Ruth Rogers said...

If we were all left with no grocery stores and just gardens we would all starve to death because no one has time to garden :)
Great post! Sugar is such an addiction that can take over one. I know i struggle at times with this!