Here’s the scary truth about sugar addiction: It’s a real thing. Numerous studies have shown that sugar and sweetness can induce the same feelings of reward and craving that come from addictive drugs like cocaine and morphine.
Ready for another disturbing fact? The average American consumes more sugar in one year than our ancestors did in their entire lifetimes. It is not surprising because in today’s society, hidden sugar is lurking everywhere: there are about 600,000 food items in America, and 80% of them have added sugar.
We aren’t born with sugar cravings, we develop them over time with our food and beverage choices. Think of it this way: we have thousands of taste buds, which send messages to our brain. If we keep sending the same signal—sugary sweet signals, in this case—then our brain will learn to crave it when it doesn’t receive it.
Excess sugar creates a plethora of pro-inflammatory responses and is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, dementia, metabolic syndrome, and even cancer. Every time we give into our sugar cravings, we turn on the pro-inflammatory response to disease and rapid aging.
For decades we have been swept along with the anti-fat movement, heeding advice from respected government figures and dire warnings from food manufacturers. No one ever seemed to mention that we should be watching our sugar intake instead of fat. Because if you analyse the nutritional evidence correctly, it is incontrovertible: sugar and refined carbohydrates such as bread and pasta — which are rapidly turned into sugar by our bodies — are our number one dietary enemy. Not fat.
Now it’s the time to change your choices and give your taste buds the chance to develop a liking for the opposite of sweet. Start incorporating foods and beverages that are bitter—like 85% dark chocolate, green tea, endive, kale, apple cider vinegar—and tart or sour—like plain yogurt, fermented food, lemons, Granny Smith apples. Adding these foods to your daily consumptions will help reset your taste buds. After you reset your taste buds, you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. You’ll actually crave superfoods like berries or dark chocolate for dessert.