For the vast majority of human history, sugar was virtually unknown. But when a Persian university refined sugarcane juice into a solid form after 600 AD, the transportation and trade in sugar became possible. Human dependence on sugar became so voracious that it spread from Persian empires to Islamic empires to European empires, ultimately resulting in more than two-thirds of the transatlantic slave trade from the 16th to the 19th century. By 1700, the average person was consuming about 4 pounds of sugar per year. That figure rose to 90 pounds in 1900. Today, the average American consumes almost 152 pounds of sugar in a year!
But what motivates these urges? And what’s so bad about sugar anyway?
Sugar has a powerful impact on dopamine or the “reward” system in the brain. The neurotransmitter dopamine is released in the brain in response to a rewarding event, encouraging brain cells to act in a pleasurable and euphoric way. Drugs like cocaine, heroin and nicotine hijack this same system.
Many can testify that they crave sweets when they are stressed or depressed and in need of comfort. Breast milk is very sweet and large doses of dopamine are released in the infant’s brain. Dubbed “the love hormone,” large doses of oxytocin are also released in an infant, and the combination creates a deeply primitive brain connection between the taste of sweetness and the experience of pleasure and comfort.
The wrong side? The human body is not designed to process a lot of sugar. Nature dampens the sugars in the fibers in the form of fruits, grains and vegetables, which slows the release of glucose into the blood. Refined sugar devoid of fiber causes a “big dump” of glucose in the blood, which the body perceives as poison and desperately tries to get rid of it as quickly as possible. This results in a wide variety of modern illnesses, from diabetes to cancer, obesity and even heart disease and depression.
Sugar is also damaging to the immune system. A research study at Loma Linda University found that the effectiveness of white blood cells decreased by up to 50 percent one to two hours after consuming sugar, an effect that lasted for up to five hours! As if that weren’t enough, cancer cells are well known as “glucose energy guzzlers”.
While we know that sugar is “bad for us,” we tend to downplay the severity of its daily consumption. The truth is, sugar is a powerful addiction – and because of it, it should be treated as such. At Vital Health, we use a highly effective combination of acupuncture and targeted nutritional supplements to quickly reduce sugar cravings while correcting the ravages of long-term sugar use.
Find out more by attending our next health class, “Conquering Sugar Cravings & Sugar Diseases,” at 7:30 pm Wednesday, October 27 at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene. Price: $ 10. Attend in person or online via Zoom. To register, dial 208-765-1994 or go to vitalhealthcda.com/health-classes/
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Darcy Greenwald has a Masters Degree in Oriental Medicine, is a Licensed Acupuncturist, is Board Certified in Western Herbalism, and has extensive training in Nutritional Therapy. She has over 20 years of experience in natural medicine.
Darcy is a “health sleuth,” she looks beyond the picture of your symptoms and researches WHY you are experiencing your symptoms in the first place. Darcy is currently accepting new patients and providing natural health care services and whole food nutritional supplements at Vital Health in Coeur d’Alene.
Visit our website at www.vitalhealthcda.com to learn more about Darcy, check out the list of upcoming health classes, and read other informative articles. Darcy can be reached at 208-765-1994 and will be happy to answer any questions you may have on this matter.