Archive for the tag - sugar addiction

Is Juice Healthier Than Soda?

Dear Davey,

I always assumed that drinking juice was healthier than drinking soda. Due to my dislike of water, I tend to drink huge amounts of it. Is drinking juice really any healthier than soda? Or am I just replacing one unhealthy beverage with another.

Sincerely,
Jared

Most fruit juice’s are really just soda’s evil twin.

First and foremost, a recent study found that the average “fruit” drink contains less than 10 percent of actual fruit juice. The rest is just sugar, water, flavoring, coloring and a few added nutrients.

Second, even 100% real fruit juice beverages are nothing to celebrate. They are a very calorie-dense food product. A half cup of apple juice, for example, contains as many calories as an entire apple – but without the fiber that makes it both healthy and filling. You’re left with a sugary beverage that’s marginally healthier than soda. Sugar consumption, regardless of the form in which it is consumed, has been linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes to cardiovascular disease and liver disease.

And don’t be fooled by clever packaging. “No sugar added” doesn’t mean, for example, that a product is low in sugar. Serving sizes are also often manipulated. Though the package my list the serving as a half cup, consider how much juice you’ll actually drink in a glass. Your actual portion may be 2 or 3 times larger.

Moreover, the sweetness of fruit juices can be addicting. When you consume sugary foods or drinks, you feed your sweet tooth – and then crave more sweetness. In many ways, sugar is like a drug – and fruit juice contributes to that negative cycle. In fact, a 2009 study concluded that sugar bingeing causes withdrawal symptoms and cravings much like addictive drugs.

When you’re reaching for a glass of fruit juice, you’re not doing your body a favor; water is the preferred beverage of choice. Having said that, if you can’t get yourself to drink water, try these tips:

  1. Water down your juice. Doing so will cut the calories and sugar per serving, and you’ll still get much of the flavor.
  2. Try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to your water. You won’t be adding calories – but you’ll get an extra kick.
  3. Switch to vegetable juice. Vegetable juices tend to be lower in sugar, but check the label.

Most people recognize that soda is an unhealthy choice. I’d recommend thinking of most fruit juices in the same way. The bottom line is that you’re certainly not doing your health, your body or your fitness goals any favors by drinking fruit juice.

Are You A Sugar Addict?

The effect of sugar on our bodies is anything but sweet.

Sugar looks a lot like cocaine and acts a lot like heroin when it interacts with our brains. But is it really addictive – and if so, what can you do to overcome it?

I just finished reading an email from an obese 19 year-old boy who is unable to control his sweet tooth. He claims that even after exercising, he craves sugar and inevitably binges on the sweet stuff.

He’s not alone. Sugar is a huge contributor to America’s obesity and health problems. Sugar consumption has been linked to everything from heart disease to diabetes to cardiovascular disease and liver disease. Moreover, sugar is flushed with empty calories, meaning they are devoid of nutritional content.

In the last few years, research has been done to illustrative sugar’s addictive qualities. In 2009, a study titled Sugar and Fat Bingeing Have Notable Differences in Addictive-Like Behavior concluded that sugar bingeing causes withdrawal symptoms and cravings much like addictive drugs.

So… are you addicted? You may be addicted to sugar if:

  • When you don’t get your daily dose of sugar, you become cranky or irritable.
  • You are unable to cut down on eating sweet foods.
  • You have had a “sugar hangover”.

But fear not: Sugar addiction can be overcome. If you are looking to cut down on sugar, it’s recommended that you eat foods that are low on the glycemic index. These foods are digested slowly, and they help keep blood sugar levels stable. Surround yourself with support, and forgive yourself if you fall down or “cheat”. Get up, and keep at it.

When modifying a diet, I always recommend focusing on those delicious things that you can eat rather than what you can’t. Instead of operating from a place of weakness and deficit, you can come from a place of abundance and power. Instead of focusing on Skittles and cupcakes (and inevitably developing a craving), think about all the wonderful foods you are able to eat.

And if you aren’t addicted to sugar, use this knowledge as a cautionary tale. Keep your sugar consumption to a minimum, and do your best to get it from natural, unprocessed sources.

Are you or someone you know addicted to sugar? Tell me about it in the comments below.