The Science of Sugar
In Solomon's day, honey was a prized commodity and he reminds us that self-control must be practiced when eating it. Unfortunately, we now live in a society where almost all of our foods contain sugar, and manufacturers dupe us into eating foods designed to make us addicted to them for the sole purpose of eating more. How are we to fight against this unseen enemy? By educating ourselves on the dangers of these addictive foods that are hijacking our brains and rendering us powerless to do anything about it.
You know the feeling—that strange, relentless feeling in our body that is difficult to pinpoint. It feels like a bit of anxiety, mixed with anticipation, mixed with yearning. It consumes your thoughts and no matter what you do, eating something is all you can think about. It can show up after a meal when a certain emotion hits, or just out of the blue—that's the addictive power of sugar. Its pull is relentless and can leave even the most strong-willed person feeling powerless.
Here's why . . .
Although overconsumption has always been a problem for us human beings, even back in Solomon's day, they did not have to contend with the issues of refined sugars that overstimulate our palettes and lead to sugar cravings. Refined sugars are natural sugars that have been further processed to increase the sweetness and the flavor of certain foods. This processing also removes most, if not all of the nutritional benefits found in natural sugars, such as fiber and some vitamins.
When too much refined sugar enters the body, over time it can trigger uncontrollable cravings which can be blamed on the 'feel-good' neurotransmitter (a chemical that sends messages to the brain) called dopamine. You might have heard of it in relation to drug addicts. It helps control feelings of pleasure and reward. It's released when you exercise (ever heard of the runner's high?), but it's also released in response to the consumption of stimulants such as nicotine, caffeine, narcotics, and you guessed it . . . sugar.
This dopamine hit you get when you eat sugar sends a signal to your brain to eat more and more sugar despite the often negative consequences. This means our attention can be drawn to sugary foods like cakes and chocolates even when we’re not necessarily hungry.
Refined sugar contains no nutritional value, so it's pretty-much wasted calories that provide no nourishment for your body. That's one of the reasons why you can keep eating more and more sugar and never be satisfied. And to add insult to injury, sugar robs your body of other essential nutrients. That's why it's so important to eliminate excessive amounts from our bodies.
1. Reflect on Solomon's simple statement that it is not good to eat too much honey. What effects does sugar have on your body specifically?
2. How much sugar do you estimate you consume each day? If you use Myfitnesspal.com, it will tell you exactly based on the foods you eat.
3. What are your sugar triggers?
"Dear Lord, I confess to trying really hard to find something that will fill the void. Foods that contain high amounts of sugar are so appealing to me. I crave them and seek them out, but no more, Lord. Knowledge is power and now that I know better, I will commit to doing better. These counterfeits only provide a temporary fix and work as a band-aid, giving me short-lived relief and trick me into thinking that all I need is 'just one more' to feel better. But, in all my efforts, all I've ultimately found is frustration, pain, and more problems. Lord, I confess that I've bought into the lies that say I need some external thing to complete me, although I know you. I confess that I have fallen short of letting you be the Lord over my health. With your help and strength, I will overcome my dependence on sugar. On this day, I invite your Holy Spirit to take over and give me a spirit of self-control. In your Holy Name, I pray. Amen."