Americans consume an enormous 152 pounds of sugar each year – most of it hidden in processed food and drink. Despite the sugar mania that has taken over America, however, the deleterious effects of this sweet substance is rarely documented.
Sugar is actually linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Studies have shown that an overabundance of sugar consumption makes the liver convert it to fat, leading to tumor growth and arterial plaque. Certain tumors have even been found to have insulin receptors that feed on glucose.
Sugar is also disturbingly addictive, as most people very well know. “[It] is eight times more addictive than cocaine,” says Dr. Mark Hyman in the article “Sweet poison: How sugar, not cocaine, is one of the most addictive and dangerous substances.”
With twenty years as a practicing physician, Dr. Hyman brings a lot of expertise in the field to the discussion. He is the chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, as well as the founder and director of the Ultra Wellness Center in Massachusetts.
The problem with sugar is that it has already successfully wormed its way into the entire processed foods industry. During the 1970s, when the belief that fats were unhealthy first emerged, food manufacturers began reducing the amount of fat in their products. Turns out, without fat, food tasted bland and unappetizing.
Enter sweet, delicious sugar.
From bread, to Starbucks coffee drinks, and even salad dressings – the once temporary “fat replacement” has now become the staple go-to ingredient in almost all food products. The processed food industry relies on sugar to keep you hooked.
“The $1 trillion industrial food system is the biggest drug dealer around, responsible for contributing to tens of millions of deaths every year and siphoning trillions of dollars from our global economy through the loss of human and natural capital,” says Dr. Hyman.
How to break out of sugar dependency
Staying off desserts and sweets is a great start to get off sugar. Dr. Hyman has also developed a 10-day detox diet for blood sugar disorders, in which he recommends eliminating the following:
Wheats and grains, as these trigger cravings, not to mention are inflammatory.
Soda and other sugary drinks, which cause insulin levels to spike.
Convenience foods, which are designed to be addictive.
Dairy, which is also inflammatory and promotes weight gain.
If you want more information about detoxing from sugar, take a look at this shopping guide developed by Dr. Hyman.