Sugar: It Hurts So Good!

CrossFit Victoria BC - Nancy Challenge
Nancy Challenge on Saturday

Just for a moment, allow me to play Devil’s Advocate here. I’m going to explore the possibility that sugar is a drug. Yes, you heard me correctly: a DRUG. I did some research, and there was so much information out there to support this topic that I just had to write about it.

Did you know that studies have shown sugar to be just as habit-forming as any narcotic? Sugar is traditionally classified as a substance which is the “cheapest instant source of energy” (ISMA, 2005) containing no nutritional value. (See that? NO NUTRITIONAL VALUE. Hmmm…) Recent research, however, has proven that “under select dietary circumstances, sugar can have effects similar to a drug of abuse.” I find this interesting. Let’s explore further.

Guess what else? Of all the foods consumed today, refined sugar is considered to be one of the most harmful. Consumption of processed foods (which are, of course, laced with sugar) cost consumers more than $54 billion in dental bills each year. Because excess sugar makes the blood very thick and sticky, it can inhibit much of the blood flow into the minute capillaries that supply our teeth and gums with vital nutrients. Hence, we wind up with diseased gums and starving teeth.

We have a nation that is addicted to sugar. In 1915, the national average of sugar consumption per person/per year was 15 to 20lbs. Today the average person consumes his/her weight in sugar, plus over 20 pounds of corn syrup. Holy heck! The human body cannot tolerate this large amount of refined carbohydrates. We’ve been told that the vital organs in the body are actually damaged by this gross intake of sugar. Why? Because refined sugar contains no fiber, no minerals, no proteins, no fats, no enzymes… only empty calories. What happens when you eat a refined carbohydrate like sugar? Your body must borrow vital nutrients from healthy cells to metabolize the incomplete food. Calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium are taken from various parts of the body to make use of the sugar. In some cases, so much calcium is used to neutralize the effects of sugar that the bones become osteoporotic due to the withdrawn calcium. If that doesn’t scare you, how about Diabetes, or Hypoglycemia?

Thanks to research, we can see more clearly how powerfully sugar acts upon the mind and body, behaving more like a drug than a mere food or food additive. Sugar “is a depressant and, consumed in large amounts, it affects the opiate receptor sites in the central nervous system” (Mumey and Hatcher, 1987, p. 104). When ingested, sugar has much more of an effect on the chemistry of the body and brain than simply providing them with energy. Research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology shows how rats respond to sugar binges the same as they would respond to morphine, cocaine or nicotine. “Our findings with lab rats show that intermittent access to sugar can lead to changes in the brain and behavior similar to those caused by drugs of abuse,” said Bart Hoebel, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Princeton University. Ummm….yikes!

Fun Fact: The average healthy digestive system can digest and eliminate from 2-4 teaspoons of sugar daily, usually without noticeable problems. One 12 oz. can of Cola contains 11 teaspoons of sugar. You do the math.

Of course, there is still a lot of debate out there as to whether or not sugar is chemically addicting. And let the record show, I happen to enjoy eating sugary foods, just as much as the next guy! But all this information in the back of my mind helps to keep me from overdoing it. If you have any doubts as to the ill effects of sugar, go ahead and try leaving it out of your diet for several weeks to see if it makes a difference! I dare you all to prove me wrong…

Today’s Workout:

Buy In – 5 min double under practice

WOD – “Every rep Counts”

Elite – AMRAP in 20 minutes:
• 10 Wall balls to 10ft (14 / 20 )
• 10 Box Jumps – 20 inches
• 10 Dead Lift ( 145 / 205)
• 10 burpees

Zone 3 – Wall Ball (10/14); Deadlift (115/175)

Zone 2 – Wall Ball (10/14); Deadlift (85/135), AMRAP in 15-20min

Zone 1 – AMRAP in 12 minutes, modify weights as needed!

Cash Out – rehydrate, recover!

Compare to July 22, 2009


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