‘Sugar-free’ is a firmly established definition that associates with positive and healthy quality of the food. However, we wouldn’t be able to exist without this sweet ingredient. I’m absolutely not saying that you need to go and eat a muffin instead of continuing to read this post. Instead, I suggest you finish this little excurse into sugar science and then decide whether you really need this muffin.
By the way, do you actually know what all this hassle around consumption of sugar is about? Do you know what it does to your body?
Here’s just a quick brief …
To increase your levels of insulin you don’t even need to put 3 spoons of sugar in your tea or coffee. Even eating more carbohydrates than your body needs can cause your insulin level to spike.
How much sugar do I need?
Various organizations and institutions, such as WHO and the NHS, suggest their own sugar consumption guidelines. However, if you’re not ready to give up all forms of added sugar completely, I strongly recommend you treat added sugar as an exception rather than a day-to-day inevitable part of your diet.
Remember, wholesome food that is not created by humans (and our stone-age predecessors had no idea of it) has sugar in it already.
You can look up different guidelines here:
WHO – World Health Organisation
AHA – American Heart Association
NHS – National Health Service
- 0,4 g of sugar in 100g of cooked brown rice
- 1,7 g of sugar in 100 g of broccoli
- 4,7g of sugar in 100 g of carrot
- 7 g of sugar per 100 g of beetroot
- 10 g of sugar in 100 g of apple
Are you still hesitant about whether to treat sugar as a natural ingredient or a poisonous substance?
Although sugar became an unnoticed part of many everyday diets, it’s important to understand that adding sugar in your food was solely a human creation.
Different forms of sugars – white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, date syrup, corn syrup, and palm sugar – were all invented by humans. Yes all these types of sugar come from the natural sources, but these forms don’t exist in nature in this concentration as such.
Even to use honey – which is claimed to be the healthiest of all sugars – was humans’ idea. Bees didn’t make it for us. They make it for themselves to feed on honey during the winter periods when flowers are not blooming and they cannot collect nectar.
By the way, petrol and diesel are also created from natural ingredients…
Why do we still love sugar regardless all these facts we know about it?
Here we have two major participants involved – dopamine and neuroplasticity.
Consumption of sugar creates a so-called ‘non-drug’ behavioral addiction caused by behavioral (neural) plasticity.
How does it work?
In other words, every time you perform the same action, you strengthen your habit. Soon your habit can work either for you (driving a car) or against you (eating sugar when you are upset or adding three spoons of honey in your morning porridge).
Apart from this habit-building feature of neuroplasticity, there’s one more reason that builds up this sugary addiction: dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for controlling the brain’s of reward and pleasure centres.
Dopamine is released each time you eat food. If you eat the same food over and over again, the dopamine levels starts to drop, and you no longer find this dish satisfying. This happens because your body wants to make sure that you have a variety of food in order to get all necessary nutrients for healthy body functioning.
Food that contains a lot of sugar produces a massive amount of dopamine compared to low-glycemic food. Basically, sugar and high-glycemic carbohydrates are a shortcut to a pleasurable feeling of reward.
Do you fall victim to the perpetual cycle of sugar addiction?