One of the biggest hindrances to eating healthier is the dreaded sweet tooth. Most of us have been there, wanting to behave and stick to our healthy diets, but then we give into the siren call of something sweet and loaded with sugar. Maybe we justify it by saying that we’re “treating ourselves.” However, at the end of the day, it’s essential that we keep our intake of refined sugar in check. According to an article from Harvard Medical School, added sugars make up at least 10% of the average American’s diet and even if you’re not overweight, a high intake of refined sugar can put you at an increased risk for various health problems. Yikes! Suddenly that donut from the break room doesn’t seem as much like a treat as it does a ticking time bomb.
That being said, why can it be so hard to quit eating refined sugar even when we know it’s bad for us? A 2013 study in France decided to question the idea that sugar is like a drug. According to their findings, “available evidence in humans shows that sugar and sweetness can induce reward and craving that are comparable in magnitude to those induced by addictive drugs. Although this evidence is limited by the inherent difficulty of comparing different types of rewards and psychological experiences in humans, it is nevertheless supported by recent experimental research on sugar and sweet reward in laboratory rats. Overall, this research has revealed that sugar and sweet reward can not only substitute to addictive drugs, like cocaine, but can even be more rewarding and attractive. At the neurobiological level, the neural substrates of sugar and sweet reward appear to be more robust than those of cocaine (i.e., more resistant to functional failures), possibly reflecting past selective evolutionary pressures for seeking and taking foods high in sugar and calories.”
“Okay!” you might be saying. “I get it! Sugar is bad!” And that’s true--about refined sugar. However, there is natural sugar in fruit that you probably don’t have to avoid. Unlike the empty calories of cakes and cookies, fruit contains a myriad of healthy components such as fiber, water, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. The fiber is especially important because “ fiber slows the absorption of sugar into your body, meaning you don't get the spike in blood sugar that comes with consuming sugar in other forms. Additionally, fruit typically contains less sugar by volume when compared to sugary treats such as ice cream.” If you do need to watch your sugar intake, even in regards to fruit, there are certain fruits that are lower in natural sugar like strawberries, grapefruits, and figs. Life can still be sweet--just avoid the refined sugar!
If you’re looking for an alternative to your favorite ice cream, check out our recipe for Frozen Berry Bites!
*Vemma Nutrition Company recommends following a healthy approach to weight loss by consulting with your physician or health care professional prior to starting any new exercise or diet plan.
 Corliss, Julie. “Eating Too Much Added Sugar Increases the Risk of Dying with Heart Disease.” Harvard Health Blog, Harvard University, 30 Nov. 2016, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/eating-too-much-added-sugar-increases-the-risk-of-dying-with-heart-disease-201402067021.
 Ahmed, S H, et al. “Sugar Addiction: Pushing the Drug-Sugar Analogy to the Limit.” Advances in Pediatrics., U.S. National Library of Medicine, July 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23719144.
 Casselbury, Kelsey. “Is the Sugar in Fruit Bad for You?” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 3 Oct. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/394197-is-the-sugar-in-fruit-bad-for-you/.