Wednesday, October 16, 2013
It is now apparent, as we are all well aware, that sugar in excess is very unhealthy for us to consume and can lead to obesity and diabetes. Sugar, or high fructose corn syrup, can be found in almost any processed or packaged food sold today in America. Particularly in soft drinks, fruit juices, baked goods and condiments.
High fructose corn syrup is made from corn and goes through a series of processes that eventually turns it into the extremely popular sweetener that is known as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or glucose/fructose. While HFCS is made from corn, it is still a type of sugar. However, this sweetener is much sweeter than sugar.
It became popular in the United States in the late 1970’s because it became a much cheaper alternative to regular cane sugar. On average we are consuming 27 teaspoons of sugar per day, while the recommended daily allowance from the American Heart Association is no more than six teaspoons a day for the average woman and no more than nine for the average male. Why are we consuming so much sugar? And why exactly is sugar added into almost everything we eat?
Paul van der Velpen, head of Amsterdam’s health department warns that sugar is a dangerous, addictive drug and sugary foods and soft drinks should be labeled with warning labels similar to those on cigarette packages, except these would be warnings for obesity, diabetes and other health concerns. If sugar really is an addictive drug, does it come as a surprise that it is added to so many of the foods that we consume on a daily basis?
Is high fructose corn syrup really addictive? Is this why we can’t seem to get enough? Dr. Francesco Leri certainly seems to think so. Dr. Leri is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Science at the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada. On May 23 Dr. Leri presented his study that caused behavioural reactions in rats that linked to the same problems produced by addictive drugs. Dr. Leri stated that, “Addiction to unhealthy foods could help explain the global obesity epidemic.” Professor Leri also said “We have evidence in laboratory animals of a shared vulnerability to develop preferences for sweet foods and for cocaine.” David Kessler a former head of the Food and Drug Administration believes that sugar is just as addictive as cigarettes and he says that it is “highly pleasurable, it gives you this momentary bliss. When you’re eating food that is highly hedonic, it sort of takes over your brain.” 
Dr. Jennifer Lee said that “Rats addicted to sugar ingest it in a binge-like manner that releases dopamine in the accumbens during and right before consumption, much like heroin use in humans. And also like drug addiction, this sugar bingeing causes changes in the expression and availability of dopamine receptors in the brain: the next “high” will require even more sugar to achieve the same effect.”
Is it possible that sugar and high fructose corn syrup is being used as another means of control to keep us mindlessly consuming and addicted to very unhealthy products? It is doing a great job keeping us sick and distracted, that’s for sure. There have also been studies that show that HFCS actually contains mercury and is in fact a neuro-toxin.  There is some food for thought…
How to Avoid It
There are many ways that we can avoid ingesting this substance and begin to detoxify our bodies from its addictive properties. First things first: look at the labels of the food that you are buying! This is very important, know what’s in your food. Avoid anything that contains high fructose corn syrup or glucose/fructose. Don’t make assumptions, you may be very surprised to know that everyday food items such as: breads, salad dressings, tuna, canned vegetables, crackers, ketchup, soups, yogurt, vitamin drinks, sport drinks and many more products that contain large amounts of HFCS. Luckily it is actually very easy to avoid and you can do this very easily by shopping at health food stores, avoiding overly processed packaged foods and by preparing and making your own foods.
Sugar in excess is not good for you, but if you are making your own cookies, sweets, sauces and dressings at least you can control the amount that you are putting in. If you are a person who likes soda, there are more natural types of soda that you can buy that contain real cane sugar and no artificial colors and flavors. HFCS is easily avoidable, you just have to kick the addiction to it. Try replacing water for soda for even just one week and it won’t take long before you physically feel a difference, and if you usually drink a lot of soda, you’ll probably lose a few pounds too!
Also, please don’t try to avoid sugar altogether, because then you may get stuck on sugar alternatives and sugar substitutes. When a product is openly advertising as “sugar free,” or “diet” and it is generally a sweet product, be weary. These products most likely contain aspartame, which is also a neuro-toxin and is dangerous for you to consume. Read more about that here.
With all this information that is now available about the dangers of sugar and high fructose corn syrup it is truly a wonder how substances such as these are added in such abundance to the foods that we eat everyday. Being educated and well informed on topics such as these is our first step to reclaiming our personal freedom.
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