Curb Your Killer Sweet Tooth

December 21st, 2009

Suicide by Sugar
By Dr. Nancy Appleton
Square One Publishers
180 pgs, Oct. 2009

For Dr. Nancy Appleton, sugar was more than the occasional sweet treat; it was an addiction that impacted her physical and mental wellbeing. In her newest book, Suicide by Sugar, Dr. Appleton shares how she licked her sugar habit and offers the information and tips we need to curb our own.

Dr. Appleton argues that our desire for sugary foods follows the same pattern as other addictive substances. Increased dosage, withdrawal symptoms, cravings and relapse are all present in America’s love affair with sugar. Once we begin a cycle of sugar consumption, our bodies crave more to keep our levels of serotonin and dopamine (two pleasure-producing brain chemicals) at their peak. This reaction has resulted in a 22% increase in the average American’s sugar usage since 1966. We now consume an astounding 48 teaspoons of sugar and similar sweeteners every day.

The highs and lows associated with sugar addiction disrupt homeostasis, or the body’s natural internal balance. When we consume sugar, our bodies must readjust their composition to compensate. In order to do this, minerals that would otherwise aid in the absorption of nutrients are pulled from the bloodstream. This impacts our body’s ability to digest and use healthful foods, which can lead to a multitude of aliments.

Dr. Appleton recommends that we gradually reduce our sugar intake one week at a time to improve our overall health:

"It’s better to ease out of the addiction. Try dividing your sugar from all sources in half’Do this for one week. The second week, try limiting yourself to just one bite of the sweet food you want to eat.’

Take Dr. Appleton’s advice and try a healthful, sugarless recipe this Monday to prepare your body for this week’s holiday treats.