Slavery and sugar have a common story. An infinite number of African people were enslaved and brought to the West Indies and the Reunion island to work in sugar cane fields to satisfy a great demand of westerners sugar addicts.

Just the Dominican Republic alone produced in 1767 the amount of 63 thousand tonne of sugar what led to an increase in ten times the number of enslaved black , child, women and men that were needed to sustain those production rates that would be spread sweetly in the west.

Since then the consumption of sugar has increased dangerously to the extent of placing the general public health in a pitfall. In fact, according to an USDA survey, the quantity of sugar consumed has increased annually since 1982. The main reason of this fact is closely related to hidden sugars (cane sugar, beet sugar, corn syrup and corn sugar) included in soft drinks and processed foods. You will be surprised to know that a can of soda correspond to 7 cubes of sugar and a 8oz glass of orange juice with 22 grammes of sugar is the same as 5 and a half cubes of sugar which is not good for your health.

Sugar is not bad per se. Actually, our brains and muscles need sugar to turn them into glucose which is indispensable energy for our bodies and minds. The problem is, as usual, the quantity and the quality of sugar we decide to consume.

The bitter side of sugar is that it makes us sick. Great consumption of sugar is directly correlated to the increase of risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, tooth decay, hair loss, hypertension, insomnia, ADD/ ADHD. Besides sugar makes us gain weight because the sugar that our bodies do not use is stored as fat, and make us age quicker. The first step to overcoming sugar addiction is by leaving junk food behind and including more natural sugars in your diet.

By incorporating more complex carbs foods, which make you feel full for more hours, such as pulses, whole grains, sweet potatoes, manioc, squash and chestnut your the level of glucose will not rise so quickly in your blood whereby you will feel more stable and craving less processed sugar. Other foods such as dark chocolate (from 70% of cocoa), nuts and fiber, found mainly in fruits and vegetables, will also help in the process of getting rid of the “sugar crack”.

For those who really need to leave sugar behinds I would suggest the following:

  1. Say au revoir to sodas and orange juice and substitute it for fresh fruit
  2. Avoid industrial sauces as much as possible due to the amount of sugar hidden in it.
  3. Avoid fat-free products and eat real healthy fat products because in most cases the food industry substitute fat from sugar which is a way much worse for your health.
  4. Learn how to read a label to calculate the quantity of sugar included in each serving
  5. Exercise more. Is relaxing and anti-depressant and will break you free from sugar slavery by making you feel good and less in need of comfort foods and guilty pleasures
  6. Know your safe sugars. Stevia and rice malt syrup, would be the healthiest sweet option to opt for.
  7. Stop taking food as a reward and instead enjoy your favourite foods and balance your diet by increasing your intake of veggies and decreasing the consumption of sugar the day after indulging by eating a caloric meal or an irresistible dessert.

Sweetening your life is possible without taking a toll on your health so make better food choices and your body will thank you later.