Leaving Bad Habits Behind: Sugar and Smoking
We live in a world caught up in a wide variety of addictions. Millions suffer from addiction to drugs, alcohol, and smoking, but there are also those who are addicted to other things, like television, food or sugar. Everything we do can turn into a habit or obsession and can become an addiction, including even sports or an active life. The recipe for a healthy, happy life is moderation, and the keyword is balance.
In everyday life, we encounter various energy drainers, but we are often unaware of this, either because we are used to them or because we try to comfort ourselves by thinking the whole world does the same thing. Sugar, sweets, wheat, soda, juice drinks, smoking, and drugs are some of these. Some might say putting sweets in the same basket with drugs is not fair, since they are not on the same level, but I would say those people are wrong. Why? Just like drugs, sugar can easily lead to addiction. Just like drugs, sugar is hazardous to the body. Because sugar is widely available and affects how we feel, it has become the drug of choice for all of us in recent years, more so than alcohol. For that reason, let’s talk a little more about this sweet disaster.
Most of us use refined sugar on a daily basis, but what does it really do to our bodies? Refined sugar robs the body of essential vitamins and minerals, and unrefined sugar only robs it a little less. A higher quantity of vitamins is required for the processing of sugar. Depletion of these vitamins can also lead to diabetes, heart disease, and other degenerative conditions. Another hazardous effect of sugar on the body is depletion of the immune system. Sugar contributes to fermentation, gas, and candida overgrowth. Sugar also acts as a diuretic and quickly dehydrates the body.
Refined sugars hide in so many products these days. You may not realize that ketchup or pretzels contain refined sugar, but they do. When it comes to tomato soup, taste testers almost always choose those that are higher in sugar, so the high sugar variety is exactly what the food industry produces for sale in grocery stores.
Sugar undeniably adds flavor, so it is added to many products that might otherwise be healthy. It is all about sale, and products that taste better sell better. The only true interest of big food corporations is making more money, so they will never sell truly healthy food, knowing people will always go for something that tastes better, and refined sugar is the magic ingredient. Sugar lurks in bakery products, bread, pasta, pizza, potatoes, bagels, donuts, cookies, cakes, candies, etc. If you had to name products with no sugar in them, you would have a big problem trying to find any.
It is important to know what you are eating. Don’t be ashamed to read the labels in the store before you throw various items in your shopping basket. You have every right to know what you are going to put in your body and the bodies of your loved ones. As you read those labels, you will be surprised where you find sugar, you can find it even in unlikely to have sugar products like ham or mustard!
There are several types of sugar. Besides refined and unrefined, sugar has many names: fructose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup. You should avoid all of these as much as possible.
Another trap for poorly informed buyers are products that claim they are diet or light. Never fall for this! As we’ve already discussed, these contain artificial sweeteners and are extremely hazardous to your health and toxic. Some studies actually show that people gain more weight eating diet products than eating the regular varieties. Any product that claims to be zero calories is also fraudulent; there is no such thing as a product with null calories. What they really mean is that the sweeteners are not broken or burned down completely to water and CO2. They may stay unbroken, however giving us side effects and lots of trouble.
The most widely used artificial sweeteners are aspartame, NutraSweet, Equal, Sucralose, saccharin, etc. None of these are good for you in any way. They are entirely unnatural and are number one on the complaint list at the FDA, but it is a billion-dollar market that will not easily give up its profits for the sake of human health. The only better, natural sweetener is natural honey or maple syrup, and these should be used very sparingly as they too raise insulin levels.
As diabetes is a disease of glucose or sugar cellular overwhelm, even the zero calories products will have their respective sweeteners penetrate, invade and sometimes intoxicate the cells with the sweet ingredient. This penetration into the cells may happen with or without insulin help. Since most of these products are toxic at the cellular level, even though they are labeled zero calories, they are extremely damaging to the cells and to the body, they all lead to diabetes and chronic illness.
Natural sugar from fresh fruits and vegetables is okay in small amounts. These come with natural enzymes and the vitamins necessary for their processing. Do not choose the sweetest fruits, like grapes or melons, just to satisfy a sugar addiction, and do not eat these excessively, especially if you want to lose weight. Eat fruits that do not taste sweet, and enjoy small berries. Sugar resulted from canned or processed fruits and vegetables is not okay, as the vitamins and enzymes that would have naturally accompanied them are destroyed in the processing. Never believe that canned fruits are as good as eating fresh fruits.
Liquid sugar is just about the worst thing you can do to your body. Unfortunately, sugary drinks have taken over the world. Avoid soda and sweet drinks, carbonated or not, under any name or form. One can of soda contains nine to thirteen teaspoons of sugar or a sugar equivalent. This is far above the recommended intake for an adult. Do not think fruit juices are a better option, as these also contain high amounts of sugar and preservatives to keep the color vivid and to improve the taste. If you are going to have juice, drink homemade ones occasionally, and be aware that all fruits contain fructose, a fruit sugar that should only be used in moderation.
One sugar habit many people have is eating ice cream, especially in the evenings. Some eat a pint or more, even up to a half-gallon. This is also a habit that needs to be changed, as ice cream is full of sugar and this too raises insulin and promotes fat production.
People believe that because glucose is used as fuel they have to ingest a lot of it. Don’t worry much! When the liver does not have glucose to process anymore, the liver will make the glucose. The liver will make it, first from fats, then from proteins. In fact, this is exactly the mechanism by which we lose weight. The reason our body makes and stores fat is to be able to use the fat later by converting it to glucose.
There is no question that smoking is toxic and in no way helps anyone. It is toxic to both the body and mind, as well as to relationships and to your pocket. Cancer and heart attacks are common for smokers.
If you smoke, the time to stop is now. The most efficient method to quit is cold turkey, as those who accomplish this, experience the fewest relapses. Crutches like patches and medications work minimally at best. For smokers, an addiction to nicotine can be even more difficult to conquer than an addiction to heroin. It is one of the most difficult addictions to overcome.
Nevertheless, the less you smoke, the better you feel. It takes many years for the body to rid itself of the effects of smoking. For lung cancer, this interval is over ten years.
Smoking used to be considered a cool thing to do, thanks to television and advertising. Today, it is still cool and more accepted in other parts of the world, but in modern North America, it is seen for what it is: A dangerous habit that ruins health and wastes resources. Every smoker can recite the reason why they started and why they still smoke today. Some smoke when under stress, some out of boredom, and some because they want to fit in or be cool, but they all have one thing in common: a bad, destructive habit.
Habits are hard to change, but one method that seems to work effectively is to replace a bad habit with a better one. Change your smoking habit into something more productive and less hazardous. Have a piece of chewing gum every time you have the urge to light a cigarette, or call someone on the phone and talk for a few minutes. Distract your mind from wanting to smoke.
All habits take time to be inserted in our daily routines. It will take time to replace them with better habits, so be patient with yourself and don’t give up. Your health is too important! The first small steps are always the most difficult, but they are also the most important. Whenever you want to buy a pack of cigarettes, put that money in a designated jar. Think of something you really want to save up for, and use the money you would have wasted on cigarettes to buy that desired thing. Set a goal and stay focused on it. Save money for trips, for gifts for people you love, or for a nice meal in a fancy restaurant. Save it for anything that will be useful and make you happy. There is no good side to smoking, and the money spent on cigarettes could be spent in a million better ways.
- Sugar is very addictive, dehydrates the body, and leads to heart problems, diabetes, and fast aging.
- There are many names for sugar and sweeteners.
- There are no healthy diet, light, or zero-calorie products.
- Artificial sweeteners are hazardous to your health and are even toxic.
- Liquid sugar is the worst; a can of soda contains up to thirteen teaspoons of sugar
- Smoking is toxic to your body and your mind.
- The most efficient method to quit smoking is cold turkey.