Sugar is in practically everything we eat – from indulgences like pop, candy and cookies to processed foods like pretzels and Worcestershire sauce. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that the average American consumes 12 teaspoons of sugar a day.
We eat so much sugar because it triggers production of our brain’s natural opioids, a key ingredient in the addiction process. Researchers have speculated that the sweet receptors, which evolved in ancestral times when the diet was low in sugar, have not adapted to the seemingly unlimited access to sugar in the modern diet. Therefore, the abnormally high stimulation of these receptors by our sugar-rich diets generates excessive reward signals in our brain, which can override normal self-control mechanisms, leading to addiction.
Americans’ addiction to sugar is a huge problem. Sugar is a primary contributing factor causing obesity, diabetes, and other chronic and lethal diseases, such as cancer. Try to kick your sugar cravings by exercising, which dramatically reduces insulin levels and food cravings. Also, to minimize your sugar intake, avoid processed foods, which contain added sugar. For optimal health, eat natural whole foods and limit your fructose consumption to less than 25 grams per day.