Give Me Some Sugar, Baby

Natalie Bejarano-Dugarte, Staff Writer

What is it with kids and sugar? I mean, seriously. You walk down the aisle at a grocery store and all you see is M&M’s, cookies, brownies and KitKats by the bundle.

And of course, you can’t miss the screaming toddler with a parent that gives in and places their sweet treat of choice on the conveyer belt for checkout. We all know what that looks like: suddenly red, glassy, teary eyes start to sparkle, a small smile creeps on the child’s lips and all of a sudden they’re one happy-go-lucky child.

I know many kids, teens and adults that despise sugar. They won’t even let it touch their lips. I used to be one of those people; a college that was very conscious about what I ate. I’d avoid artificial sweeteners and soda like the plague. I only ate one piece of chocolate once a month. Yes, you read that right, once a month.

I was an extremist for everything anti-sugar, since diabetes runs in my family. However, two weeks ago something inside me snapped. A late night Wal-Mart trip turned into a junk-food shopping spree: cookies, ice-cream, chocolate, chocolate, and did I mention chocolate? I was a total pig-out.

Since then I’ve had something sweet to eat literally every day. I know it’s ridiculously unhealthy but here’s the thing: it’s addicting.

Why is it addicting? Because it affects dopamine receptors in the brain, making you feel a sense of reward after you ingest it. No wonder why kids love sugar; they feel “rewarded” after they eat something that unhealthy.

The truth is, there’s sugar in almost everything, including many of the “healthier” alternatives out there. There’s sugar in bread, fruit and even agave nectar (a natural-based sweetener derived from the agave cactus plant). So there’s literally no way you can fully avoid it.

We know there are certain nutrients our bodies need in order to survive; from minerals, electrolytes form sugar in the form of glucose to fuel our bodies and produce ATP to give us energy. The main issue is how we get that sugar. Is it through that doughnut you had for breakfast or through a healthier alternative?

When you consume refined-sugar it’s a quick source of energy, but it spikes up your blood sugar and then leaves you to crash later on in the day. You’re better off trading that refined sugar for something more sustainable, such as: fruits, whole wheat and even brown sugar as a replacement for white sugar.

Refined sugar is deadly. Some may question, “If you think its deadly, why do you keep eating it?” Well, because like I said before it’s addicting.

But I know that’s no excuse. Honestly, if we can all be a little more conscious about what we’re ingesting and what it will do to our bodies in the long run, alot will change. Your skin complexion, your energy levels and your mood, just to name a few. It all starts by making that conscious choice to cut out the sweet-stuff.