Loss of health, delusion and addiction
Our love affair with sweets began when our parents used them as panaceas and bribes. When combined with untruths the result is often behavioural deviance.
One cannot categorically state that sugar is the root cause of all deviant behaviour, however it is a significant factor. The consumption of sugar as sweets gives a boost of sensory delight and energy that is addictive.
Food manufacturers know this and add sugar to most processed foods to keep people consuming their products.
Many of us as children were introduced to sweets and many of us continually pushed the margins for sweet rewards.
This affair was reinforced by the use of sugar in our everyday foods.
It is impossible to list the endless variety of ways in which we experience pleasure, but pleasure when we find it, it can be habit-forming.
Then when we ourselves found the means, easy access often lead to addiction.
Natural pleasures have their own ebb and flow. Sometimes there is not enough and sometimes there is excess, but it rarely becomes a health issue.
What is of concern are those sweet treats.
Two hundred years ago over most of the world, sugar was unknown and the sweetest treat was honey and that often came at a very high price. The only other mildly sweet foods were root vegetables.
In the mid to late 1800s when sugar became a commodity in the European diet, a new era in tooth decay was launched along with a new disease they called diabetes.
When we were children, a sweet treat was reward for being good or helping out in some way. Before the industrialisation of our food supply, we knew how much sugar we were eating. But now a large percentage of our food is laden with sugar and consequently the pleasure we get from eating sweet treats has reduced.
Therefore to get the same amount of pleasure, we are consuming far more sugar in its various forms than at any time in our history.
The two main consequences of course are tooth decay and diabetes, but the less recognised problem is that of addiction and the constant need of reward.
Sugar in our body
When we need a complex whole grain cereals, and digestive system breaks these carbohydrates down into simple sugars for use by our body where they essentially provide energy.
When we eat sugar, that sugar as either utilised as energy for our physical activities at the time, or it is stored as body fat.
When we eat sugar with complex carbohydrates as in cookies and cakes, our digestive system rapidly absorbs the sugars, but there is no need to break down the carbohydrate into sugar, so that is passed along through the digestive tract for elimination. A consequence of this is that the undigested food ferments in the colon and that creates the conditions for colon cancer to evolve, and this is exacerbated by excess animal protein.
Self-denial is not easy and in fact it rarely works. If we are to deny ourselves what has become a regular pleasure, we need a substitute.
Substitution requires that we acquire the knowledge to reprogram our brains and to generate a new desire.
If we are overweight or unwell anyway, a review of how much sugar we are actually eating is a good idea. I looked at one of the cookies and my pantry this morning and it contains almost 50% sugar. Now there was no way I could physically eat 50 g of sugar, but when is baked into a recognisable treat form, it's very easy and seen people eat 34 of these cookies in a sitting.
Some people love the sugar rush and the sense of euphoria that sometimes floods the mind with excessively sweet treats, but unfortunately we don't learn anything about this in school.
By the time that we realise we are addicted, it's often too late and the health of our body chronically undermined. Once we reached the stage, pleasure is to be found in avoiding a premature death and other distractions.
One's life has been compromised and the ability to enjoy pleasure reduced.
This process applies to the many substances we use and consume. Sugar is simply an example of a hidden pleasure with terrible consequences. The problem of alcohol and addictive drugs is better known and talked about, but the processes are similar.
Short-term pleasure equals desire for more, gradually health is eroded, we sense of pleasure diminishes as dopamine becomes inactive. The next step is increasing the dose, instead of one chocolate bar, there are two. Instead of one glass of wine, one drinks the whole bottle and so on.
Stem the tide and take responsibility