Metabolic Syndrome Epidemic

I know, I know. I harp on sugar a lot. So I’ve held off on this particular post. Still, you need to hear it again. Sugar and sugar substitutes are far more addictive than we realize.

 ImageDr. Joseph Mercola writes, “Research has demonstrated that refined sugar is more addictive than cocaine, giving you pleasure by triggering an innate process in your brain via dopamine and opioid signals. Food manufacturers have gotten savvy to the addictive nature of certain foods and tastes, including saltiness and sweetness, and have turned addictive taste into a science in and of itself.” (

The YouDocs, Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, wrote in a newspaper article last March: “Some food manufacturers engineer products to contain (from their point of view) the optimal balance of sugar and high fructose corn syrup.” That optimal balance creates “maximum crave,” so that we continue to consume the engineered products.

“It’s what they call your bliss point,” Oz and Roizen tell us. “We kid you not; they aim for that sweet spot that keeps you coming back for more. It’s why you’ll find sugar in spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, ketchup, yogurt and even low-fat, processed, frozen foods that say ‘Healthy’ or ‘Lean’ on the package.”

Manufacturers also use sugar substitutes to retain customers, according to the YouDocs. “These fake sugars trick your body into thinking that you’ve had real sugar, but then leave you wanting more, more, more.”

The crazy thing is, once you get away from the overly sweet stuff, it no longer tastes good, and the artificial stuff tastes like what it is, chemical soup. Once you’ve made the taste-bud switch, you can enjoy a wide variety of foods. Last weekend, at a launch party for my latest novel, Winds of Freedom, my daughter and I provided sugar-free, dairy-free and gluten-free foods because we knew certain attendees could not tolerate sugar, dairy and gluten. Several people, even non-allergic individuals, commented on how much they enjoyed the food and asked for recipes. We served items like turkey meatballs, fresh fruit, nuts, non-dairy cheese, and veggies and crackers with hummus dip. Mini fruit kabobs and apple pie bites lightly sweetened with brown rice syrup were the sweet treats of the evening.

I’ve mentioned Dr. Lustig before, whose work is cited in a NY Times article called Is Sugar Toxic, and a Segment on 60 Minutes with the same name. Dr. Robert Lustig, is the pediatric endocrinologist whose lecture, Sugar: The Bitter Truth, has been viewed almost four-million times on YouTube. Dr. Carolyn Dean ( says that “Lustig and his fellow researchers have concluded that it’s the fructose component in sucrose (processed table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup that’s causing the epidemic of Metabolic Syndrome with its components of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, elevated cholesterol and triglycerides, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, inflammation, and non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease.”

The important takeaway from this information is that retraining our taste buds (or even losing weight) is not the main issue. Our well-being and lives are at stake. Be kind to your body. 


One thought on “Metabolic Syndrome Epidemic

  1. I can personally testify to the amazing yumminess of the launch party food Becky mentions! I haven’t cut sugar completely out of my and my family’s diet, mainly related to our love of dark chocolate. However, I’ve never trusted sugar substitutes, and now I have completely cut out high fructose corn syrup and most processed foods, and I’ve stopped using any refined sugar in anything I make. When I hit my mid-thirties a decade ago, I found my weight slowly creeping up, and the only thing I changed was cutting anything that had trans fats or high fructose corn syrup out of my diet. That did the trick. Amazing what happens when we just eat real food…


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