I lost a part of myself. My sweet tooth was no more. My taste buds had changed. A transformation that took me by complete surprise and startled my family as I was known to savour sweets. I don’t believe in curbing my natural instincts and it applied to my sweet tooth too. From being someone who loved gorging on hot chocolate fudge and sweets, I moved on to desisting from sweets.
Yoga for me began as a fitness protocol. Though I was never overweight but the idea of keeping fit made me go for it.
Practicing it continuously for 4-5 months led me to naturally cut down on sweets and sugar. My sweet cravings were shrinking and I began to grow leaner.
Forgoing sugar and sweets automatically was a blessing that shred extra baggage of 4 to 5 kgs off my body. I could have been on moon had I been someone seeking to get rid of sweet tooth but that was never the case as I never aimed for it.
I Loved Sugar! Not Anymore
Shunning sugar was not a conscious decision. It was the language of my body revealing itself in the feelings. As if there was a voice in my heart, signalling the red card to all the sugar around me.
I decided to find out more if this was a rare case of Yoga changing one’s taste buds or does it happen to others too.
I came across this amazing piece of wisdom from Dr. Swami Shankardevananda Saraswati, MB, BS (Syd.) from the prestigious Bihar School of Yogawho says “In yoga, you do not have to give up your indulgences; just become aware of them, their effect on you and your needs, cravings and desires. Regular practice of yoga will increase your awareness and discriminative faculties to the point where your life balances out to a natural, harmonious and healthy level. Sugar consumption will then be regulated naturally according to your need. At the same time some of the bad effects will be eliminated while the good effects are enjoyed”.
This made me understand that Yoga detoxifies in the true sense, by pruning all that’s undesirable inside the mind and body. It was not obvious but the proof lied in my changed taste buds. I flatly refused sugar.
Why Is Sugar So Addictive
The answer is consumption of sugar makes us feel pleasure as if enjoying a treat. This is the result of neurochemical dopamine that gets released. The more the dopamine the more the enjoyment and feel good factor. We want to keep rewarding ourselves and thus are addicted to pleasure derived from sugar. Some experts even equate sugar with drugs in the way it functions and affects human brain.
Sugar Is Toxic
Sugar has a bad reputation for a variety of reasons. It spikes the inflammation in body, increases erratic brain cell firing, is addictive, and has been found to promote aggression. “Soda, and even diet soda, is something that should be avoided at all cost. New research also shows that increasing sweet tooth is leading to “brain decay,” says Daniel Amen, America’s leading psychiatrist who runs a chain of Amen Clinics.
Excess Sugar Can Cause Early Death
According to a major research done over the period of 15 years on added sugar and heart disease, it was found that participants who had 25% or more of their daily calories via sugar were more than twice as likely to die from heart disease compared to those whose diets included less than 10% added sugar. This study has been published in JAMA Internal Medicine and has been reported in the Harvard Heart Letter.
This means even if you are not overweight, if your sugar intake is abnormally high, you are at the risk of dying of a heart disease.
Sugar is blames for two major reasons. One is its well-known links to weight gain and cavities. The other is that sugar delivers “empty calories” — calories unaccompanied by fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
Excess consumption of sugary drinks led to 184000 deaths worldwide in 2015. It meant that means one in every 100 deaths from obesity-related diseases was caused by sugary beverages, according to a study published in the journal Circulation. The study, conducted by researchers from Tufts University, found that the beverages would be responsible for 133,000 deaths from diabetes, 45,000 from cardiovascular disease and 6,450 from cancer.
Obesity caused by sugar is a global pandemic now. It has even been suggested that sugar shall be controlled like alcohol and tobacco to protect public health in the US. According to a team of UCSF researchers’ sugar is leading 35 million deaths annually worldwide from non-communicable diseases like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
After getting to know the side effects of sugar from this close, I am happy to be at arm’s length from the sweet spot.
Sugar and sweets have become an intrinsic part of human culture. Celebration is incomplete without sugar but what matters is how you limit your intake of sugar.
I know it is impossible to completely shut out sugar but being conscious of its harmful effects is the key to guarding against the health issues associated with its overdose.
I can say from personal experience that when you leave sugar say for a week or say 10 days initially, the pangs of craving won’t affect you as much as when you are daily consuming sugar. This is because the body stops receiving dopamine and pleasure associated with its consumption. The more pleasure you receive from sugar daily, the more you are incited to have it again, leaving you addicted.
After getting to know all this, it feels good to hold your ground against the giant killer.
I am not advocating total ban on sugar. Though small doses under permissible limits are fine but one needs to know where to draw the line as when you derive pleasure from something, the lines soften get blurred.
Stay healthy, stay informed and make good choices! Keep a watch on your relationship with sugar.
All that’s sugar is not really sweet. Not if you care for your health.
I hope you found this blog useful. I would appreciate if you could spare few seconds for your feedback. Do write to me about your relationship with sugar and has this blog affected it any way. Keep reading Letsfigureoutlife.com for enriching and empowering content.