This weekend, while perusing through some information on healthful living, I found some flooring information on the effects of sugar. Did you know that sugar suppresses the immune system? When considering the total sugar content within the foods we consume day to day, it is clear that we are leaving our immune system more vulnerable than we might assume. But we love sugar! It stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain and offers a short-term energy boost. Instead of denying sugar all together after learning its harmful effects, I looked into the August 2013 edition of National Geographic for more on its history.
Sugar became domesticated in New Guinea almost 10,000 years ago, and was then recognized by those who chewed on the cane sugar that they harvested as, “A kind of elixir, a cure for every ailment, an answer for every mood”. In the 1500’s sugar was expensive and rare in the West. It was only consumed by nobility and was considered a spice.
Today the average American consumes 22.7 teaspoons of added sugar a day—that’s 180 lbs of sugar a year– well beyond the American Heart Association’s recommendations. Too much sugar can lead to metabolic syndrome, obesity, heart disease and many other health issues.
Reading labels is your first defense to help you track your sugar intake. Because it is almost unavoidable, quitting sugar may be as hard as quitting an addiction. We need to take a different approach to how we consume sugar. The good news… The more you reduce your sugar intake, the more sensitive you become to the sweetness.
How about this? When you choose to indulge in a sweet treat (and you know I will never give up my whoopie pies!) imagine it’s a delicious, rare, expensive spice. Take a few bites and then, like a grand King or Queen, share it with a friend!
Be well…it’s a state of mind.