by Linda Dulicai
Pre-diabetes. It’s a kind of quasi-diagnosis that traditional medicine has been giving for a while now. Pre-diabetes refers to a condition in which glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Apparently, pre-diabetes is reason enough to refer patients to dieticians who spend many billable hours outlining low glycemic diets and handing out blood sugar meters without addressing the bigger problem, which is sugar addiction.
Sugar addiction is not a new idea, nor is it a faddish way of explaining what amounts to consistent, self-destructive behavior. Sugar addiction is real, and, like any other addiction, it can do a number on your body and your life.
We reach for sugar when we do not get the energy from food, often because we are unable to digest properly. The energy must come from somewhere, so the quick fix is sugar, (or its partner, caffeine).
Why do some people get addicted to sugar?
BBC Science says that sugar is a mood booster, that it tells the body to release serotonin, a chemical that sustains feelings of happiness. Sugar gives us an instant lift, which some call a “sugar rush.” The problem is, that rush creates an increase of insulin and a calcium dump from the bones because the body attempts to bring glucose and blood alkalinity levels back to normal. The result is a kind of crash, which makes the body crave more sugar. The after effect for sugar addicts is the need to do it again.
Now here’s another challenge. Sugar is hidden in common, processed foods. We think we are eating something healthy, when in reality, we are eating more sugar than we know. Take, for example, spaghetti sauce. We think we are buying bottles of pureed tomatoes mixed with other ingredients that have natural sugar only, when in fact, the sauce has as much or more processed sugar as a small bowl of breakfast cereal like Trix or Captain Crunch. These cereals have 12 grams of sugar per serving. Newman’s Own Tomato and Basil spaghetti sauce has 12 grams of sugar per half cup. So does Bertolli Vineyard Marinara. Prego Fresh Mushroom and Prego 3-Cheese are only slightly better, with 11 grams.
And then there’s peanut butter. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contain about 3 grams of sugar. While that might not seem like a lot, consider this: 3 grams is equal to about a teaspoon. This means about 17% of each serving of peanut butter is actually sugar. And while pure peanut butter has health advantages, peanut butter with sugar added can turn what should be a wholesome food into a trigger for overeating.
It does not look like the food industry is going to change any time soon. After all, it’s profitable for them to produce cheap, sugary foods that encourage addiction. So it’s up to us to ensure we’re buying unprocessed foods and foods that feed our needs but not our addictions.
When it comes to sugar addiction, think of it like this. Are you satisfying true hunger, or are you putting a Band-Aid over it? Are you eating into your strengths or weaknesses?
A practitioner for more than 38 years, Linda Dulicai is a Certified Natural Health Professional and an Advanced Loomis Digestive Health Specialist educated in more than 25 modalities of wellness. She is CEO of The Healthy Zone.