This is your brain on sugar.  Sound familiar?  This is your brain on drugs.  Turns out it might not be as far off as we think.  Recent studies show that sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine or heroin!  We all know “crack is whack.”  Well, news flash- so is sugar!

When I was young, my dad taught me that we had two separate stomachs, one for dinner and one for dessert.  No matter how full you are there is always room for dessert.  Thanks a lot dad…

The scary thing is, this ridiculous notion, happens to be somewhat true.  Of course we do not have two separate stomachs but one of the many dangers of sugar is that it fails to turn off our appetite hormones.  Fructose (found in sugars and naturally occurring sweeteners) does not trigger the release of leptin or insulin, key hormones that control appetite and satiation.  So, while my dad’s separate stomach theory didn’t exactly pan out, he was onto something when he said no matter how full you are, you can still be hungry.

For far too long, I took these “words of wisdom” literally.  No matter how full I was, I always had dessert.  When I thought I needed something sweet after my meal, what I really needed was sugar rehab!     

Detoxing from all sugar and sweeteners is no easy feat!  Not only do we crave it like crazy, but nowadays it seems to be hidden in EVERYTHING.  Take a look at any label.  It doesn't even have to be obvious like candy or cookies.  Guaranteed, there’s still probably some sugar.   I started finding sugar in the most unassuming of places- tomato sauce, chicken sausage, deli meats, the list goes on. 

Furthermore, labels list sugar in grams.  What a meaningless measurement for a society that measures sugar in teaspoons.  So let’s decode this gram measurement.  4g are equivalent to one teaspoon.  Now take a look back at these labels and you’ll realize that one serving size contains 5, 10, even 15 teaspoons of sugar?  Would you sit there and eat 15 sugar packets in one sitting.  I hope not, so why are we doing it in our food?

I encourage all of you to channel your elementary school days in D.A.R.E. class and turn the cold shoulder to sugar!