It's not that I hate cookies, or the Girl Scouts; I was one for many years, and actually worked as a camp counselor for two summers. I also sold and ate plenty of Thin Mints, Samoas (caramel delights), and Tagalongs The real reason for this post was to highlight sugar and it's addictive nature. Some people will argue that sugar is not addictive in the same sense that tobacco, alcohol, or cocaine are addictive. However, after working with well over 1000 clients, I can tell you for many people, sugar has addictive properties. Have you noticed that Thin Mints don't actually taste that good? Seriously, if have some laying around go get one, sit down, close your eyes and eat it slowly. Hmmm...is that a faint taste of plastic? I bet you can't stop with just one. Soon that whole sleeve is gone, and you are left wanting more, but also feeling kinda awful with a weird coating in your mouth. That weird mouth feel, by the way, is from the processed vegetable oils. And that sleeve of cookies contains 10 tsp (3.33Tbs) of added sugar. What about another favorite cookie, the Somoa. As you can see from the picture, 2 cookies seem fine with only 2.75tsp of added sugar, but again....who eats just 2? Many people I know tell me they sit down and within a day or two eat up the entire box; which contains as much added sugar as a 20oz soda (19.25tsp).
FYI: The American Heart and American Diabetes associations recommend no more than 6-9 tsp of added sugar per day. Personally I think 9 is way too high; that's 3 Tbs.
Let's chat about another spring favorite, the Shamrock Shake. Recently someone told me about their daughter who they took out for lunch to McDonalds and decided to let them have a small Shamrock Shake (18.5tsp sugar). All afternoon and evening the little girl kept asking for treats. Mom has since made the connection that when her daughter eats something sugary, she craves sugar for the next 24hr. When she doesn't have it, she is fine with fruit for snacks and no treats.
Does this sound like you? Can you relate to feeling like all you do is think about sugar?
When we eat high carb/high sugar foods our brains spit out a bunch of serotonin and dopamine, and this makes us feel "good." This is the true sugar high. Sure some people get a burst of energy, but I have found that as my blood sugar passes about 150mg/dl I actually get very tired. This happens about 1hr after eating the offending food. By two hours when it's back to normal, I'm more alert, but I want to eat sugar, AGAIN!
What to do?
Some people are moderators and can eat a little sugary treat now and then and not be bothered by it. But many people cant. Some people need to abstain from sugar, and if that's you, that's ok. Sugar creates chronic inflammation in EVERY cell in the body. For some people it shows up as acne, for others joint/muscle pain, for others brain fog/ADHD and later on dementia, for others cancer. If you want to reduce your inflammation, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, and get rid of sugar cravings then maybe it's time to become an abstainer. Sound scary? What would happen if you tried it for 2 weeks or a month?
Ready to take the leap but want some support, come see me at Stepping Stone Clinic. Your life doesn't have to be run by cravings.
I'm a dietitian with a passion for good nutrition, bold flavors, playing in the dirt, and being with my family.