Sugar the “most dangerous drug” of our time?

I recently discovered an article via the Huffington Post which seems to have originated with the Daily Mail or the Telegraph, that suggests that a Dutch health official has claimed that “sugar is addictive, and the most dangerous drug of our time.”

sugarPal van der Velpen is the head of Amsterdam’s health service.

While the sale of cannabis is legalized in Amsterdam, this health official wants to see warnings on food and beverage items containing sugar — akin to warnings on cigarette packages.

cigarette“Just like alcohol and tobacco, sugar is actually a drug. There is an important role for government. The use of sugar should be discouraged. And users should be made aware of the dangers,” — the health official wrote on a public health website.

In perhaps his most poignant statement, the health official writes:

“This may seem exaggerated and far-fetched, but sugar is the most dangerous drug of the times and can still be easily acquired everywhere.”

sugar a drugSo why is sugar so dangerous?

According to this health official, it is highly addictive. Eating sugar makes you want to eat more.

sugar addict“Sugar upsets that mechanism. Whoever uses sugar wants more and more, even when they are no longer hungry. Give someone eggs and he’ll stop eating at any given time. Give him cookies and he eats on even though his stomach is painful,” the health official says.

Dr. James Mercola, who is a Paleo Diet advocate, has a very interesting and detailed article on the dangers of sugar on his website.

In that article, Dr. Mercola says:

“In 1700, the average person consumed about 4 pounds of sugar per year.

In 1800, the average person consumed about 18 pounds of sugar per year.

In 1900, individual consumption had risen to 90 pounds of sugar per year.

In 2009, more than 50 percent of all Americans consume one-half pound of sugar PER DAY—translating to a whopping 180 pounds of sugar per year!”

sugar consumptionThe problem — Sugar is in EVERYTHING! And our brain wants more!

Remember this commercial?

This is how our brains feel about sugar!

sugar1

Sugar is in everything from carbs like bread and pasta, to pure sugar, like candy and candy bars, to soft drinks, to FRUIT — which is a food group people think is healthy!

sugar fruitEven when you think you are being healthy by grabbing a piece of fruit, eating too much fruit, especially fruits high in sugar, can lead impede weight loss — and this is where a lot of folks get hung up!

Of course, a banana has less sugar than a footlong from Subway, BUT if you’re eating bananas all day long, you may not be getting the weight loss results you’d like — unless you’re working out CONSTANTLY to burn all the sugar and carbs.

hungryNot to mention, food items containing a lot of sugar don’t fill you up — but rather, stimulate your appetite, making you feel hungry. Your brain tells you to keep eating, even though your stomach is full. The message of fullness isn’t able to be delivered to your brain, because you’re brain is high on sugar!

This is why for optimal health, we should all cut the sugar — and eat more REAL FOODS. Meat. Vegetables. Low-sugar fruit. Healthy fats. And healthy beverages, like water, coffee, coconut water/milk and things like kombucha.

Because after all, it’s not the meat or the fat making you fat. It’s the sugar!

Medical Staff Tending a Patient ca. 1980s-1990sHere is a site that lists HUNDREDS of reasons why sugar is bad for you!

Additionally, if you have the time, here is an hour-and-a-half long documentary called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” posted to YouTube via University of California Television.

Those following the Paleo Diet learn to shun sugar, and I think that’s why a heck of a lot of people see success on the Paleo Diet –whether that success be measured in the curing of ailments or in weight loss.

whole 30It is also a reason a lot of success is seen by folks following the Whole30 — because it eschews sugar for a whole 30 days — essentially getting rid of the sugar addiction and re-training your brain.

sugar detoxThere’s also Diane Sanfelippo’s “21 Day Sugar Detox” which essentially has the same goal as the Whole30.

What do you think? Should sugar come with a warning label? Is sugar as bad for us as smoking cigarettes?

Have you done a sugar detox? WOULD you be willing to do one?

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