The Addiction of Sugar

Research has shown that sugar is just as addicting as cocaine. Scary! High sugar consumption mimics our brain’s natural opiate system, which are the pleasure chemicals found in the brain. We’re talking about fruit which has fructose, but sucrose which is also known as table sugar. 

How difficult is it to just have one Oreo? You usually want an entire sleeve! 

I really feel for some of my clients who grew up in the low-fat crazy in the 70s. Fat was to blame for weight gain, so low fat food was in. So, what did the food manufacturers do to make the food not taste like cardboard? 

Yep. Add sugar. Specifically, high fructose corn syrup, which is cheaper. 

So, what health implication does having excess sugar have: 

  • Obesity 
  • Diabetes and Insulin resistance 
  • Heart disease 
  • Elevated cholesterol and triglycerides  

So, where do we find sugar? EVERYWHERE! Breads, yogurt, cereals, crackers, granola, condiments, salad dressing, sauces, low fat foods, processed foods, soups, beverages, etc. 

It is therefore important to be a savvy shopper and read the food label and ingredients list. You also want to be careful of other names for sugars. Some include: 

  • fruit juice concentrate 
  • dextrose 
  • maltose 
  • evaporated cane juice 
  • invert sugar 
  • malt syrup 
  • cane crystals 
  • molasses 
  • corn syrup 
  • Sucrose 

Look at this yogurt. It only has 90 calories, right? But look at all the sugar, 16 grams!! This is also a 6oz container. If you want to calculate how many calories come from sugar you would multiply 10x 4 (4 calories per gram) and you would get 40 calories. Sugar is also the third ingredient in the product. 

Let’s look at plain non-fat Greek yogurt. 

See the difference? There are carbohydrates, but no added sugars. So, there is a difference between 16 grams carbohydrates and 7 grams of carbohydrates (the difference is added sugar. Most importantly look at all the ingredients in the Yoplait yogurt. Yuck! 

So how much sugar should we have in a day? The American Heart Association recommends that men have no more than 150 calories of added sugars in a day and women no more than 100 calories per day. 

What is the best way to reduce our sugar intake? Stop eating processed foods and cook! 

I worked a bit on my favorite cookie recipe to cut down on sugar and they were a hit! Only for you I weighed out the cookies, which were around 30 – 40 grams and for each cookie there is approximately 5 grams of added sugar. Much better than the Chips a Hoy! The best part is that all the ingredients are familiar.  

My lightened-up chocolate chip cookies: 

  • 2 generous spoonfuls of coconut oil 
  • 1/3 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt (I absolutely love Fage yogurt) 
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract 
  • 1 egg 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt 
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder 
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour 
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips 

In a kitchen aid mix the coconut oil, yogurt, egg, sugar and vanilla extract. Once combined add the rest of the ingredients. Cook at 350ºF for 10 minutes.