Sugar and the effects on the body
The High Price of Cheap Sugar.
Sugar is an additive in nearly everything that Americans eat. Current estimates from the FDA are that every man, woman and child in the USA eats nearly 115 pounds of sugar each day. At roughly 40 grams (a bit over an ounce) per can of soda consumed, that's not implausible.
Sugar has several undesirable effects on the human body. The first and foremost is that it conditions the body to demand more of it; people who quit taking processed sugar completely cold experience withdrawal symptoms – headaches, inability to concentrate, low energy levels, and more. Sugar's addictive nature and omnipresence are tied to the fact that it's considered a food, rather than as a drug.
Human beings are evolved to desire carbohydrates. For Neolithic hunter gatherers, carbohydrates represent cheap and readily burned calories. Exactly the sort of nutritional energy you need to evade a leopard on the savannah or in the jungles; that craving has given rise to entire categories of industries devoted to producing sweets, and our current sugar consumption habits are the result.
A secondary result of all this sugar is endocrine imbalances. Type II (Adult onset) diabetes can be best described as an habituation to insulin, the hormone the pancreas produces to help the body digest sugar; while there's a strong genetic component to Type II diabetes, it is also strongly tied to diet. Additional research indicates that continual exposure to sugar will impact the kidneys, liver and lymphatic system. Sugars are also the primary food for bacteria, in the gut and digestive tract and in the mouth. The link between sugary foods and tooth decay is well established. The links between sugar and irritable bowel syndrome are still being established but are highly probable.
Lastly, sugar, with its ability to cause spikes in blood glucose levels, is tied to irritability, hyperactivity, and the "up and down" cycle of people's daily energy levels, including premenstrual syndromes.
There are lots of things you can do to wean yourself from your sugar habit:
First, switch to eating fruits and vegetables as snacks – go back to the foods your body is really craving when you're desiring sweets. This also has the benefit of reducing calories and increasing your dietary fiber intake, both of which have beneficial health benefits.
Second, cut out soda completely. Soda, if it were forced to go through the regulatory process that genetically modified foods have to go through, would never get FDA approval in America. It contains several ingredients (not just sugar) that are bad for the human body, such as phosphoric acid and benzoates.
Third, when you do sweeten something, use stevia, and other natural sugar substitutes, or use brown sugar or whole sugars. Talk to someone at your local health food stores for sugar alternatives. .