Why Our Brains Love Sugar - And Why Our Bodies Don't

“That glazed doughnut is calling my name. Oh yes, it is!  It’s so sweet and pink and full of sprinkles. I long to taste those delicious sweet tidbits melting in my mouth, giving me a rush of pleasure and energy and making everything okay even when it isn’t.”  How many of us have had this feeling around mid-afternoon on a particularly grey and miserable day, when nothing seems to be going our way.  I know I have!  Longing for the comfort of a sweet treat, a blanket, a cup of coffee and a reality show on the TV.  Just wanting to check out for a while when life gets too demanding and difficult. And if we do this occasionally, we can just call it a “Mental Health Day” and leave it at that.  We don’t need to buy into those Sugar Nazis foretelling gloom and doom if we eat one doughnut, especially if we turn off the TV for a bit and eat it mindfully J

 On the other hand, if this is our way of life or our habitual way of coping with stress, or, even worse, if we starve ourselves for a week or two, then give in and binge with half a dozen donuts, all the while feeling intense shame and self-disgust, we can get ourselves into a lot of trouble.  In this case, we may be addicted to sugar.  And, unlike other addictions, we can’t just stop eating or stay away from all the things that remind us of sugary food, because we have to eat to live and the sugary stuff is all around us, from the grocery aisle to Pinterest !  Just look at the facts below.

 The Facts

- The average American eats 156 lbs of added sugar a year – That’s more than I weigh, and, I must admit, the thought of eating my whole body weight in sugar each year is really gross!

 - We consume almost 500% more soft drinks than we did in the 1940’s, according to a US Department of Agriculture Study published in 1999. Approximately half of the added sugar we consume today comes from soft drinks, sports energy drinks, fruit drinks and the like. On the positive side, consumption is 40% down since its all-time high in the 1970’s.

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