I have a love/hate relationship with sugar. On one hand, I love how it tastes, I love sweet foods like cookies and cakes, and I definitely LOVE milk and white chocolate. On the other hand, I know that consuming sugar can be almost like being addicted to a drug – eat enough of it and you start to need a “fix”.
I did some preliminary research on sugar and sugar consumption when my trainer recommended that I change my diet to decrease the amount of sugars and carbs I was consuming (including things like HFCS). I remember him telling me that the first day or two would be great, followed by three or four days of detox torture – headache, dry mouth, etc – and to be prepared.
OMFG. That headache was torture and lasted nearly a week. I was desperately thirsty all the time. I had the sweats, even when I wasn’t working out. There was no doubt about it – I had been massively, majorly addicted to sugar.
But I came out on the other side feeling energized and happy. I lost weight over Christmas because I’d so limited my carb intake. I seriously felt great!
But things creep up over time and as the months progressed, I found myself eating more and more indiscriminately. Handfuls of dark chocolate almonds instead of limiting it to a proper portion. Bread with dinner. Yogurt covered pretzels. I told myself that “just a handful!” wouldn’t kill me. You can’t feel yourself becoming addicted again. You think that you’re in charge.
But, clearly, I’m not in charge. I’m seriously addicted to sugar again and am facing down a potentially miserable detox that needs to happen but will make me miserable in the short term.
Coincidentally, there was a large segment on 60 Minutes recently about sugar as a toxin. I recommend both that article and an article from the Huffington Post about the dangers of sugar addiction. There’s a lot of research yet to be done, but early evidence seems to point at sugar as being a key factor in obesity, heart disease, and cancer. And as someone currently fearing the withdrawal pains, I can certainly vouch for its addictive nature.