Walk With the Doc
Saturday May 20th, 7:00 am
Is sugar addictive?
Research has shown that highly refined
foods and refined sugar in particular have
characteristics similar to addictive drugs. In
animal studies, sugar has been shown to be
more addictive than cocaine.
Most addictive are refined foods with a
high glycemic index (GI). This places chips,
cookies and ice cream high on the list of
addictive foods. Pizza also list high due to
hidden sugar in tomato sauce which can
exceed the sugar content of a handful of Oreos.
When we eat high GI refined foods like
wheat flour and sugar our body responds with a
spike in insulin. The resulting hormonal
disturbance turns the excess sugar into fat. The
addictive cycle soon creates a feeling of hunger
and the cycle of over consumption repeats.
Foods like sugar with a high glycemic index
also come with the prospect of unhealthy side
effects like cardiovascular disease, liver
disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity
Foods like cucumbers, lettuce, carrots
and beans have a lower glycemic index and are
far less addictive. Being less addictive leads to
less craving and less likelihood of overeating.
It’s important to differentiate between
refined and intrinsic sugars. While refined sugar
has the potential to cause adverse health
effects due to their concentrated nature, intrinsic
sugars like lactose in milk and fructose in fruits
have a lower GI and aren't necessarily unhealthy
when consumed as part of an unrefined food. It
is hypothesized that people were originally
drawn to sugar as a survival mechanism that
helped store fat to survive long winters. Today it
would be highly unusual to need this survival
trick. Today the trick is on us if we are inactive
and consume large portions of high GI foods.
A characteristic of addictive substances
is their ability to alter the brain's
neurochemistry. The result of ingesting sugar
is followed by an intense release of dopamine.
Withdrawing from sugar then causes the
dopamine receptors to become less
responsive. The resulting symptoms can
include ADHD-like symptoms and depression.
Eliminating refined sugar would be ideal
but difficult given the number of foods it has
been used in. The best plan is to become an
avid reader of food labels and minimize where
you can. Then when you have a craving for a
snack try to substitute lower glycemic foods like
whole fruits, dark chocolate or almonds.
The American Beverage Association, the
trade group for Coke and Pepsi, claims soft
drinks aren’t the cause of our national obesity
epidemic since soft drink consumption has
eased off a bit in recent years. Most likely
addicted taste buds have not been denied and
have turned to sugary coffee drinks along with
new sugary foods promoted as “nutritious and
healthy.” Unfortunately, the government
continues to subsidize corn, a source of high
fructose corn syrup, which keeps it a cheap
food source. As a consequence, a candy bar
often cost less than an apple.
A 20 oz bottle of soda has about 17
teaspoons of sugar.
80% of packaged foods contain added
Soda is the leading food source
for added sugars.
Sugar consumption is the primary
cause of tooth decay.
One soft drink a day can add
10-15 pounds per year
More sugar statistics
What is the Glycemic Index (GI)
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a relative
ranking of carbohydrate in foods according to
how they affect blood glucose levels.
Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less)
are more slowly digested, absorbed and
metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise
in blood glucose and, therefore insulin levels.
The smaller the number, the less impact the
food has on your blood sugar.
• 55 or less = Low (good)
• 56- 69 = Medium
• 70 or higher = High (bad)
Glycemic index can vary depending on
how food is prepared. The longer you cook
starches, the higher their glycemic index will be.
The glycemic index of fruits like bananas goes
up as they ripen. By combining a high GI food
with foods that have lower GI you can reduce the
overall glycemic index of a meal. The goal is to
eat smaller portions of high GI foods and offset
their effect with nutritious, low GI foods.
For more about the GI of specific foods
try resources at Glycemic Index And Glycemic
Load For 100+ Foods and Search For The
Regardless of the source, calories need
to be used, not stored. Join me Saturday and I’ll
show you one of my favorite ways of putting
them to use. BTY, we walk come rain or shine.
Let’s take a walk
Date: Saturday, May 13th
Location: Jones Family Park (see map)
Time: 7:00 am (Meet in front of Yogurt Mt.)
Yogurt Mt. is the last store at the end of Valley Bend
Shopping Center). If cloudy, bring an umbrella, we walk
come rain or shine.
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please phone (256) 882-6085.