Refined sugars (e.g., sucrose, fructose, high fructose corn syrup) and synthetic sweeteners were absent in the diet of most people until very recently in human history. Today though, overconsumption of diets rich in sugars contributes together with other factors to drive the obesity and chronic disease epidemic that we currently are witnessing in America.

Overconsumption of sugar-dense foods or beverages is initially motivated by the pleasure of sweet taste and is often compared to drug addiction. Though there are many biological commonalities between sweetened diets and drugs of abuse, the following study has shown that the addictive potential of processed sweeteners can be more addictive than even cocaine.

The findings clearly demonstrate that intense sweetness can surpass cocaine reward, even in drug-sensitized and -addicted individuals with the potential to override self-control mechanisms and thus to lead to addiction.

If you’re interested in all the scientific details about this study you can visit the link at the end of this post to read more.  But I want to take a minute to address some of the major implications I see about this finding.

The Sugar Poison Epidemic

I watched a great talk by Dr. Mark Hyman recently, and in it he explained in great detail backed by major scientific and medical studies how sugar is the number one cause of many major diseases like obesity, diabetes and cancer, which is why I call it a “sugar poison epidemic”.  Combined with being more addictive than freakin’ COCAINE, these various “sugars” are being used by food companies in order to make consumers eat more so the corporations can sell more product. The ingredients are NOT there to benefit your health.

Seriously, 80% of the food sold in American grocery stores has processed sugars in it such as fructose and sucrose.  They even put it in things that should never have it or need it in the first place, such as with most brands of mass-produced breads. (for more on this, see the post about toxic bread ingredients)

Unfortunately, people who choose to ignore or stay ignorant of the facts regarding the food they eat and what’s in it, will only inevitably lead to consuming repeated doses of toxic chemicals that will at some point create negative effects in the body – which then leads to various forms of disease and chronic suffering.

What About High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)?

HFCS is an inexpensive substitute for real sugar and is used primarily to sweeten beverages, including soft drinks. The American Heart Association identifies sugar-sweetened beverages as the main source of added sugars in our diet, suggesting that liquid calories are more likely to lead to weight gain than calories obtained from solid foods.

HFCS, made from yellow dent corn, has been shown to promote increased belly fat and insulin resistance—not to mention the long list of chronic diseases that result directly. The fructose in high-fructose corn syrup goes directly to the liver, where it converts to fat and can ultimately lead to heart disease.

New research shows that fructose (like the fructose in HFCS) causes cancer cells to metastasize in a way that other sugars don’t, proving that there is a difference between fructose and other sugars. All sugars can lead to health problems, but high-fructose corn syrup is worse in terms of cancer risk.

In 2006, the U.S. government gave the corn industry $4,920,813,719 in subsidies, allowing them to sell their crops very cheaply and still make a profit. It’s no wonder food manufacturers prefer to use this sweetener over real sugar.

Side effects include:
– Heart disease
– Insulin Resistance (the step before type 2 diabetes)
– Increased belly fat

Here is how you can spot high-fructose corn syrup on a food label:

[pictured above: Kraft Asian Toasted Sesame Lite Anything Dressing]

Warning: High-fructose corn syrup is not only limited to food. It can also be found in medication such as the one below so always read the ingredients carefully:

[Pictured above: Kroger Children’s Pain Relief Acetaminophen Oral Suspension Pain Reliever]
[snippet source: NaturallySavvy]

What’s the Solution?

C’mon, we need to all start getting smart about this issue of food quality and what we choose to put into our bodies and our children’s bodies.  Of course you don’t like seeing yourself, or any of your loved ones, suffer from any kind of disease or chronic condition.

So why not take the time to really get educated about the ingredients you’re consuming, so you can not only improve your own health and happiness, but also share what you learn with those around you so they too can take their health to the next level.

A good place to start would be reading about Toxic Bread Ingredients and the

If you had information that could potentially save the life of one of your friends or family, wouldn’t you be excited to tell them about it?

Of course you would, who wouldn’t be?

The choice would then be up to them to either heed your advice and learn more about it so as to create a different health outcome, or to ignore the facts and continue down the same health path they’re on now.  But at least you’d have given them the chance to make an educated decision on the matter instead of being blindly led around by the hypnosis and deceit of the big food companies.

That is why I feel that it’s so important for each of us men to step up and be that solid foundation of health and wellbeing that our friends, family and community can be inspired by.

Food matters.  Ingredients matter. The root cause of obesity, cancer and disease is poor quality nutrition and lifestyle choices.  What you eat and drink is what literally becomes the actual blood and cells that flow through every part of your body.

With that image vividly in your mind, can you really ignore or be silent about the toxic and addictive chemicals being added to 80% of the food sold in the grocery stores?  Doing so would be a grave disservice to everyone around you.

But with knowledge comes power, once that knowledge is acted upon and applied in one’s life. Having knowledge of nutrition, and the ingredients that make up the food we eat, gives us the power to control our own health destiny and to avoid the high risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes and many other horrific ailments that are inevitable otherwise.

I hope this information will help you in making healthier food and beverage choices.

Study source: Lenoir M, Serre F, Cantin L, Ahmed SH (2007) Intense Sweetness Surpasses Cocaine Reward. PLoS ONE 2(8): e698. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000698