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  • Writer's pictureamyk73

Why We Eat Sugar

Sugar comes in many forms these days. It is hard not to find sugar. I think I am most surprised to find where I wouldn’t think it is needed and yet there it is. Subtle and sweet underlying almost everything we eat.


It is not that sugar is inherently bad for us but rather that most sugar contains artificial ingredients which does make it one of the least healthy things we consume. Sugar is also one of the highest consumes things we eat regularly which doubles down on the effects it can have on our health.

Your body needs some sugar which it gets from natural sources such as fructose from fruit. It doesn’t need much but there is a need for it in the body. Physically, real sugar’s role in our body is to support energy functions within the cells. Its the little bit of gas you give the car to get up a hill. Your body again gets all it needs from food, real food, where sugar is in its purest form. We don’t often think of raw pure sugar but it is actually fructose in fruits and vegetables that is a nutrient in micro form.


The problem with sugar though is our overconsumption of it and the type of sugar being sought after. Let’s be real honest here and admit, we are not seeking apples, oranges, green peppers and other veggies to fulfill our sugar needs. These real sugar forms are farthest from our minds when we have a hankering for something sweet. The body actually wasn’t designed to crave sugar at all again because we need so little of it as a nutrient. That means of course…


Sugar is an emotional food

We eat sugary sweets for pleasure only. There is no nutritional need our body has for anything beyond what it gets in the very minimal forms of fruit and vegetables. So any time we eat something sweet or crave them, it is an emotional need done for pleasure and comfort.


Emotional eating is not something easily admitted or recognized for most of us either. For a long time I had this vision that emotional eating meant someone who couldn’t stop eating something from a break up or depressive situations. It was temporary in most cases. I mean seriously how many movies have you seen where break-ups are best recovered from through sweat pants and ice cream on the sofa until your girlfriends come get you for margaritas?


Yet, we all have some form of emotional eating because our emotions are part of who we are. Too often we are taught to hold back what we feel so we lack the means by which to process emotions. They are still there though and often they come out as these big waves of emotional responses when they’ve built up enough. We cannot separate our emotions from our physical being. This is one of the biggest fail points within our Western medicine culture in my opinion. Recognizing our emotions and understanding how to adequately support them is a big part of living as a whole person.


Your emotions affect your physical body. When emotions are not in balance or being processed well, they can come up as physical cravings for certain foods, such as sugar. This is because sugar gives us pleasure. Who can eat a birthday cake and still be sad? That’s because we associate sugar with goodness, fun, happiness, comfort, joy, inclusion, hope and all the feel good feelings we have and want to experience in this life!


Disregarding this aspect of ourselves in favor of sugar restriction will only get you so far in your health journey. This approach disconnects the emotions from the body and punishes the body through harshness. It creates the feelings of guilt and shame over wanting something we naturally were made to feel but lack in our life either temporarily or long term. This is why when we come off a harsh diet we find ourselves easily spiraling back into old patterns and habits.


Emotions are held in our body’s cells

We regain the weight plus some because emotions are stored in our cells. As we lose weight through harsh restrictions, our body condenses what it is holding but it doesn’t actually get rid of it. Once the harsh diet is over our cells literally bounce off the walls of our body expanding once more. We experience ups and downs in our emotions, see our face break out with acne and struggle to lose weight. This is known as insulin resistance yet it is often just treated on a physical level again through harsh dieting.


The chemicals in processed sugar alter our taste buds and rewire our brain causing a dependency on sugar. This happens for most of us at a young age. Our brain links certain feelings and experiences that feel good with the food that we are also provided in those situations. Often it is cake, cookies, candy, sodas and fun foods. Those sweet moments in life become recorded in our brain so when we have moments that are not to that level of experience our brain triggers a call for something that will recreate it.


This emotional response from our brain is where sugar addiction comes from. It creates a vicious up and down cycle of energy bursts and crashes that prevents us from processing feelings that are causing these situations to occur. When we notice things like our clothes not fitting or the scale stopping on an unlikable number we punish ourselves with a restriction of things like sugar.

It is actually not the sugar that caused the problem with our weight though, but our inability to process emotional needs in a healthy way. -Amy Kramer, Dragonspit Apothecary

Yet we take it out on our body. We punish ourselves through guilt, shame, anger, frustration and hate towards our body because of our struggle to balance emotions and use sugar in a healthy way.


Yes, I did just say use sugar in a healthy way. While we may not need much of sugar in our body as a nutrient, I do strongly believe sugar’s role is important in our life overall. A life without wedding, birthday, special because cakes is not a life I want at all. We need those experiences and culturally sweet foods are a part of what makes them special. Restricting them through avoidance of the foods means cutting away a part of life we were meant to enjoy.


Rebalancing Sugar in Our Life

The largest aspect of having a better relationship with sugar in our life is in the very rebuilding of our emotional and physical body relationship. When we reconnect our being and treat our needs as a whole person things not only become clearer but easier to support in the healing process.


Changing how much sugar we consume in a day and what we crave starts with understanding how we are feeling emotionally. It is here we find what we truly are wanting in our life and creatively begin to outline how to fill those needs. Through this process we develop a deeper understanding of who we are and what makes us happy. We release all the lies we’ve been told about what happiness looks like and start getting really real with ourselves.


There is no doubt that is a large amount of work but what I have come to realize in my own journey in this area is that by doing so, things like insulin resistance and weight loss struggles heal much faster and easier. I no longer feel the need to harshly treat my body with restrictive diets that leave me even more miserable.


To begin your journey with resetting your sugar relationship, sign up for the “How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Sugar” workshop. Inside you will learn the tips needed to create that improved relationship between mind and body so sugar is not the enemy and your body doesn’t need to be punished for it.


Sign up here: dragonspitapothecary.com


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