I’ve been a sugar addict all my life. In fact, I was addicted to the sweet white powder before I was born—as my mom recalls it, she never had a sweet tooth until she discovered she was pregnant with me and suddenly started having voracious sugar cravings.
My love for sweet foods even motivated me to start a home cookie factory a few years ago. This was the beginning of the end of my relationship with sugar. Not long after I started preparing and eating cookies all day long, I began suffering from a number of symptoms that made me realize the harm from this way of eating. Among all the discomforts, the one that affected me the most was the intense anxiety I started feeling, which made me realize sugar not only hurt my body, but also my mind.
From the moment I decided to reclaim my health and my freedom of choice by banning added sugar from my life, I became a detective at reading labels. Most of you would never believe the amount of products (virtually all of them) that contain sugar, hidden or not. Finding savory crackers, peanut butter, yogurt, juices, and most other foods without this ingredient is not for the easily discouraged.
Why does so much of our food contain added sugars?
For one, it´s an easy way to make you addicted to any product! Sugar has been found to be many times more addictive than cocaine in studies with rats. Another reason for adding sugar to everything is that the fat free trend of the last few decades left most processed foods devoid of their natural fats, and hence, devoid of taste. An easy way to add flavor back to a food that has lost it is by adding sugar and other artificial (and equally toxic) flavors.
Sugar and Disease
With this kind of diet, diabetes and other chronic disease are having a field day.
According to Diabetes.org, by 2012 almost ten percent of Americans suffered from diabetes (close to 29 million people), and almost a third of them had not been diagnosed. If this weren’t gruesome enough, the number of people twenty years and older with pre-diabetes was a shocking 86 million. Amongst the people diagnosed with diabetes in the US, over twelve percent were Latinos.
If you don´t want to become a statistic, the first place you should go to is your pantry, and make note of every product with added sugar in it. This way, next time you go to the store, you can look for sugar-free alternatives for those items. The second place you should go to is the Internet to find recipes without sugar, and especially to find sugar-free sweet treats—these will help you curb your sugar cravings. Quitting sugar or lowering it´s consumption is the key. Learn to replace processed sugar with natural sweeteners like raw honey, grade B maple syrup, and stevia: Even if you don´t completely avoid it, becoming food label savvy is a huge first step in the right direction.
So why not start with this new and healthy way of eating right away? Show your family how much you love them by taking care of their health and serving them this luscious sugar-free dessert.