Sweet Tooth or Sweet Brain?: August 14, 2014

“I’m eating a chocolate brownie, chocolate-peanut butter brownie,” says Tina Boulton.

Like many of us, Tina Boulton is a sugar junkie.

“I like candy. That’s my sweet tooth and I do eat that about every day,” says Boulton.

Researchers are looking at sugar addictions. Asking the question: are you controlling your sweet tooth, or is it controlling you?

“When you have a lot of sugar your body kind of gets used to that sugar and you start craving sugar,” says Jeanne Struve.

Jeanne Struve is a registered dietitian who finds packaged foods and restaurant menus are fueling the sugar rush.

“They’re trying to get people not just to buy it, but actually to crave that food. So they’ll look for the exact amount of sugar, the exact amount of salt, the exact amount of fat that makes a consumer keep coming back for it. You know those foods that call your name, there’s a reason they call your name,” says Struve.

By some estimates, the average American downs 152 pounds of sugar a year. And it’s coming at us from every direction. The sweets we eat combined with added sugars in everything from bread to sauces. The cost of convenience is heavy.

“Unfortunately we’re paying a price for that with our health. It may be easy and quick to put on the table but then you may end up with health problems later on,” says Struve.

It’s something Tina never considered.

“I watch my fats, and my cholesterols. That type of thing. I’ve never watched my sugar,” says Boulton.

To break the sugar habit, begin by sweetening food yourself. For example, buy plain cereal and add sugar. Look for sugar aliases on labels, and finally, approach eating with a pure heart.

“You want to get foods as close to grown as possible. As natural as possible,” says Struve.

It is possible to re-train your brain and taste buds.