14 sweet facts about sugar (& what it’s doing to your body)

via mindbodygreen.com

So this is the truth about refined sugar. It’s not pretty, but you can’t escape the truth. It will find us. Maybe dead.

Not only does sugar wreak havoc on the system, sugar calls to us. Sugar rules us. Sugar prompts us to do crazy things. (If you don’t believe me, observe a room full of young children about 30 minutes after eating cake.)

Like cocaine, derived from the coca plant using a complex chemical process, sugar (as we know it) is a supersaturated solution created by heavily processing sugarcane or sugar beet plants. Sugar may not be as harmful to a life as cocaine, but they come to us in similar forms. A plant that’s been refined and treated and adulterated to create a highly addictive white powder.

The universe echoes with this message: if you mess too much with creation, if you abuse the genius of creation, you will suffer. Let it be. Seek balance.

Does it ever occur to us to regard a chocolate chip cookie with awe? Do we consider the farmer who grew the wheat, or the laborer who cut and sifted the wheat, or the machine that ground the wheat into flour? What about the child laborers in Africa producing two-thirds of the world’s chocolate? And who laid the eggs? Who churned the butter?

Most modern people, especially Americans, don’t think this way because the cookie arrived in front of us on a shiny silver platter. But a cookie is more than a cookie. A cookie can embody the pain of child laborers and abused animals.

On the other hand, the earth grows a mango and offers it to man, asking nothing in return.

Sugar perpetuated slavery. Sugar influenced the transition to indentured labor. If it wasn’t for sugar, maybe we could all work a little less and enjoy a little more, maybe when the sweet tooth attacks (an evolutionary mechanism to attract humans to fruit because fruit nourishes) we could reach for fruit instead of candy.

I’m not trying to preach or alienate or eschew cupcakes. I eat sugar. I took my family to ice cream on Father’s Day and enjoyed every bite of it. We need to be gentle with ourselves, too. Sugar has been around for centuries. We grew up with sugar. We’re hard-wired to love our sweets. It’s only natural.

But we can be better, we can cut back, choose wisely, find balance. We can reach for the mango instead of the cookie at least a few times a week. We can buy strawberries for our children instead of fruit snacks. We can seek out fair trade chocolate. We can drink iced tea instead of soda, and we can sweeten our tea with raw honey instead of the white stuff.

How do you feel about sugar? How many times per day do you eat refined sugar? Do you care about cutting back on your sugar intake? Do you need help breaking the sugar habit? If you consciously limit your sugar intake, how do you do it?

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5 thoughts on “14 sweet facts about sugar (& what it’s doing to your body)

  1. How do I feel about sugar? It’s addictive. I know that first hand. I do enjoy sweets, but I find that the more I eat of sweets containing sugar, the more I want of sweets containing sugar. It’s really a vicious cycle. I agree with you that we shouldn’t abandon sugar altogether, but I do think that food manufacturers should include sugar in less foods and that we should make an effort to eat sugar less.

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    1. I KNOW!! Even one day of eating sweets, like at a party, can leave me with sugar cravings that don’t ever seem to go away, only slowly diminish. I’m lucky that I LOVE bananas with almond butter, and the combination is like candy to me. It’s the only way I have any chance at beating the cravings. It is very socially accepted to eat tons of sugar. Which is why I feel the need to re-post this info graphic 🙂 One mind altered is worth it.

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  2. I used to drink and eat a lot of sugar-free foods which were full of aspartame. It was my way of staying slim and “healthy” while still satisfying my sweet tooth! Then when I became pregnant with my first (7 years ago) anything with aspartame made me sick. My body was telling me that I was poisoning it and thankfully I listened! Ever since then, I have re-thought the sugar/sweetener industry. I don’t cut it out completely, but like you, I try to choose fruit and honey and sometimes Stevia. And I read labels all the time, looking for the least processed or chemically enhanced foods.
    What I notice most now is that if I do “crave” a Coke or Mtn Dew and indulge, I have a weird salty-chemical aftertaste in my mouth for hours! Tea and water (even juice) doesn’t do that at all!
    Anyways…sorry to go on and on! Great post! And the graphic is very informative…I didn’t know a lot of those facts.

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    1. I felt the same way about diet coke when I got pregnant. Suddenly my body found it repulsing. I really appreciate you sharing this story. So many people would rather turn the other cheek and pretend that sugar in excess is okay or just not a big deal. Just like you, I indulge, but at least I am aware of it and I feel the after effects…boy, do I feel them!

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  3. After reading this a couple of days ago, it inspired me to get Splenda instead of sugar when I went grocery shopping today. We shall see how that works out.

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