Main Nutritious Intent Website

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sweets for the Sweet: Choose Wisely

We are a country of sweet-tooth addicts.  Notice that I didn't say "sugar-addicts"?  There's much more to the story than just table sugar.  It's true that sugar is very prevalent in our current food supply of processed, packaged food-like substances.  However, sweeteners of all kinds may be just as much to blame.  

The size and extent of the sweetener aisle in the grocery store says it all.

Artificial sweeteners may be more of a diet de-railer than other sweeteners since they trigger  the sweet-reward center of the brain more than natural sweeteners. Drinking diet may actually amp up your brain's sweet tooth and cause you to get caught up in the unhealthy loop of more and more craving. 

Is there any cure?  You bet!  We can all retrain our tastebuds.  After 2 weeks of cutting down the amount of sweet foods you eat you'll start to notice that you are more content with less sweetness.   A few months will turn that into a habit, and soon you'll lose the desire for overly sweet treats altogether.  

Case-in-point: my nephew could down soda, candy and other sweet things with the best of his teenage peers, but after spending 2 years in Ghana and consuming essentially no added sugars, he lost his taste for sweet.  Just prior to returning home, he was served pancakes with syrup and had a hard time choking it down because it was sickeningly sweet to him.  

Do we all need to remove sweeteners altogether from out diets?  No - which is good news since apart from moving to Africa or some other low-sugar country, it would be very difficult.  The take home message is this: Don't miss the forest for the trees.  The forest - or the big picture - is our out-of-control sweet tooth and the trees are the sweeteners.  Moderation, moderation, moderation.  

  • Enjoy nature's dessert (fruit) more often
  • Don't drink sweet 
  • Enjoy sweet treats on an occasional basis.  

No comments:

Post a Comment