The first truth is, we need sugar to survive.
It is a fact that our brain only feeds on glucose, the form of sugar that gives it energy to function. Without sugar, we would cease to exist.
You know there’s a ‘but’ coming on next, right?
Indeed, even though the brain needs sugar, what kind, how much, and when we feed it will determine the quality of our brain function which in turn determines the quality of our mind and our body.
The second truth is, most of us consume more sugar than we need.
We evolved with nature and our body works best when we give it the fuel created by and in nature. The amount of sugar needed to feed the brain and the body can be extracted from most foods, even if it’s barely sweet.
Sweet is a taste and flavor that registers ‘safe’ and therefore ‘pleasurable’ to our brain. It triggers the reward center and creates desire for more.
When we eat naturally sweet foods like fruits and starchy vegetables, we enjoy the natural positive sensations we get from that reward.
In the past half century of our society, however, we have adopted ways to concentrate these sweet foods (apples into apple juice, sugar cane into refined sugar, wheat into flour, etc.) by processing them into various forms. We were also likely provided misleading information by companies that create these foods.
When we eat processed sweet treats, the brain’s pleasure center lights up unnaturally, and exponentially.
The more pleasure the brain perceives, the more it will want to receive.
The more we eat these treats, the more we surpass the body’s need for glucose and energy. For some people, this is how they pack on the pounds. When repeated over time, the body begins to show signs and symptoms of too much sugar. This is when people start their weight and health struggles.
The third truth is, we can enjoy sweet things without negative consequences.
If you are used to overconsumption of sweet things and processed foods, it will take some time for your body and taste buds to readjust to enjoying natural sugar in small amounts.
But it is possible, and may be mandatory, if you want to change your current reality, whether it’s weight, health, or mental sanity.
Begin by simply making small changes in your food choices.
Here are three simple rules to go by:
- Choose foods that will rot
- Cook your own meals when you can
- Go easy on all things sweet.
Sweetness can be experienced through natural foods, yes, but it can also come from other facets of life. When you are not hungry, but crave something sweet, think about what else you may be needing. It usually comes down to one or more of these basic human needs:
- connection (a hug, a conversation)
- rest (nap, sleep, reading)
- movement (walk outside, stretch, exercise)
- hydration (water)
One of the best thing you can do for yourself is to be aware of what, why and when you crave sweet things.
It might just be something that is not sweet at all!