Friday, February 17, 2012

Sugar vs. Cocaine - Suprisingly Similar!

If you're anything like me, your mentality is "drugs are bad".  I don't even like to be around those who choose to do drugs.  Why would you want to put such fowl things into your body?

In a casual conversation with a friend a couple of weeks ago, I was informed that sugar is just as addictive (if not more so) than cocaine.  I quite possibly think my jaw hit the floor.  I always knew that sugars were bad for you, just never to this extent.  I, of course, did some follow up research and everything that I can find confirms the truth of this statement. 

I have been such an anti-drug "freak" only to come to find out I've been feeding my body what is typically a drug in so many like ways to cocaine.  The difference is, society believes this to be OK.  The US is considered one of the most obese countries but nothing is being done to change that.  They make refined sugars so cheap and easily accessible.  It's no wonder so many people think there's nothing wrong with this slow kind of poison.

Let me take a second to share some key points on the effects of sugar.  I'm sure I haven't even listed everything here.  Just a few that I came across while researching. 

* Sugars don't have fibers, vitamins, proteins or minerals... only empty calories.
* Just one teaspoon can causes a metabolic imbalance. 
* Sugar can decrease growth hormone (the key to staying youthful and lean)
* Sugar feeds cancer
* Sugar increases cholesterol
* Sugar can weaken eyesight
* Sugar can cause drowsiness and decreased activity
* Sugar can interfere with the absorption of protein
* Sugar causes food allergies
* Sugar contributes to diabetes
* Sugar can contribute to eczema in children
* Sugar can cause cardiovascular disease
* Sugar can impair the structure of DNA
* Sugar can cause hyperactivity, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and crankiness
* Sugar contributes to the reduction in defense against infectious diseases
* Sugar greatly assists the uncontrolled growth of bacteria that cause yeast infections
* Sugar contributes to osteoporosis
* Sugars can cause withdrawals, cravings and binging. 
* Sugars can rot teeth and cause gum disease

 Now I'd like to do a comparison with the effects of cocaine.  Take a look at how similar some of these are!  Again, I'm sure there are plenty of other side effects that aren't mentioned here.

* Increasing sense of energy and alertness
* Extremely elevated mood
* Feeling of supremacy
* Irritability
* Paranoia
* Restlessness
* Anxiety
* A cocaine high last anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours
* Increases heart rate and blood pressure
* Constricts blood vessels in the brain
* Can cause ulcers
* Possible kidney failure
* Depression and anxiety
* Fatigue
* Difficulty concentrating
* Increased craving for cocaine after extended use

It's hard to believe that something that we have been told is so bad for us has very similar side effects to ingesting sugar!  I've shared this with a few friends, one of which told me of a study that she had read about.  In this study scientists took cocaine and sugar and gave it to rats.  It was said that 90% of the time the rats would go back to the sugars.  Could sugar really be that much more addicting!?

After having this information overload dumped on me,  I started paying more attention to what my body was telling me. Superbowl Sunday is what helped me see sugar in a whole new light.  Let me share my experience.

I think for most normal, red blooded American's, the Superbowl is a chance to chow down on scrumptious food, diet or not.  I was no exception.  I had started my healthy journey a few weeks prior and had made some good progress.  One day wasn't going to make it or break it in my mind.  
I made what may have been my most favorite fudge brownies with semi-sweet chocolate chips, topped in a delicious caramel frosting.  Needless to say, I ate way more than I know I should have.  Sinfully indulging in these brownies took me down a sugar paved road that I don't think I'll ever forget.  Here's why...

After Superbowl Sunday was a thing of the past, I jumped right back on the healthy bandwagon.  Breakfast and lunch as usual.  Come home from work and make dinner.  Almost immediately following dinner the intense sugar craving kicked in.  I was hankering for a sugar fix in a bad way.  Sadly, there were some brownies still left.  "Just a sliver won't hurt."  The next day the same thing happened.  And then the next day too!  Damn you brownies! 

The brownies were finally gone BUT the sugar cravings weren't.  Thank goodness the sweets were finally out of the house.  The cravings continued for the next couple of days and then miraculously vanished.  Sugar out of my system = no more cravings for sweets. 

I've been naughty this week, not too naughty but naughty enough.  I have been having coffee with creamer in the mornings.  A total weakness of mine.  Come next week though, I'm kicking the coffee and creamer.  Not only will I be kicking the coffee and creamer, but also anything that contains refined sugars.  I'm very curious to see the difference it makes in 2 areas: 1. the amount of weight I can lose next week (with the support of a healthy diet and exercise) and 2. to see the sweet cravings vanish!

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