We live in a culture where sugar is virtually unavoidable and oftentimes indistinguishable, carrying cryptic names like anhydrous dextrose, crystalline fructose, and evaporated cane juice. Sugar itself is a refined carbohydrate and source of calories that our bodies use as energy or store as fat. By the way, not all sugar is bad; it naturally occurs in fruits and other foods that provide our body with necessary nourishment. But excess sugar, those hidden added sugars we don't even realize exist aren't so good for us.
Did you know that consuming sugar causes the brain to release dopamine, the same neurotransmitter linked with cocaine usage? It boosts you into a momentary high, drops you like a ton of bricks, and leaves you craving more. A dangerous cycle for sure, and many of us can relate to being in what we affectionately call a "sugar coma." We tend to associate this tag with children, most likely because our adult bodies have become so accustomed to the nasty cycle that we don't even realize we have been suffering our entire lives from excess amounts of sugar. Increased appetite, insomnia, brain fog, mental chatter, depression, and far worse symptoms all generate from sugar consumption.
The World Health Organization first recommended that adults reduce sugar consumption to only 10 percent of their daily energy intake in 1989. And again in 2002. And most recently, in 2015, they are suggesting that it be further reduced to 5 percent of your daily energy intake. This means that we, as a population, have been ignoring their warnings for almost two decades. That, and the food industry has become increasingly stealthy in how they add those hidden sugars until now—almost 75 percent of the foods on the shelf contain added sweeteners. They know that consuming excess amounts of sugar will make you crave even more, so it is to their benefit to continue to find ways to hide it in plain sight.
If after all that, you're looking to get your health and sanity under control, you're not alone. Here's how to best set yourself up for success: