What is always in briefings, forever within the reach of dispatchers' fingertips and is always present at every type of holiday? If you named any type of sweet sugary substance, you would be correct! Sugar is overflowing in foods all around us, but did you know that sugar is an addicting food? Studies have shown it is eight times more addictive that cocaine! That is completely insane right? I am going to talk to you about some of the crazy names that sugar can go under cover as, effects it causes and how to try to break that addiction!
The average American eats anywhere from 19-22 teaspoons a day. The ideal averages for men should be 9 teaspoons and only 6 teaspoons for women. Clearly the majority of the good ol' US of A is going a slightly out of control with our sugar consumption.
Once you consume your choice of sugary goodness the addiction will start to kick in. Your blood sugar level will spike causing dopamine (the addictive property) to be released in to your brain. The high insulin levels will also cause your body to store it as fat. Your blood sugar levels will then begin to decrease which causes increased appetite and cravings. You desire that sugar rush once again. Once you give in and fulfill those cravings, that lovely cycle will repeat itself.
Sugar goes by many, many names and is added to just about everything! It is not only added for taste but is added also for texture and shelf life. Most sugars are usually a mixture of glucose, fructose, sucrose, galactose, lactose and maltose. Sucrose is what is naturally found in fruits and plants. Here are some of those names: High-fructose corn syrup, glucose, maltodextrin, dextrose, ethyl maltol, corn syrup, evaporated cane juice are just a few of the 56 different names I found.
Do you think that you have this sugar issue beat because you are one of those lucky ones that were born without a "sweet tooth"? Do you crave breads, pasta, chips or fries instead? These starchy foods are carbohydrates that will break down into simple sugars. These starches will also make your blood sugar rise and crash!
Sugar also can contribute to a lot of health issues. In law enforcement we are subjected to many health risks by just the job itself. In dispatch we are endlessly staring at computers anywhere from 8-12 hours, if your eyes aren't heavy and straining like mine are at the end of the shift….did you know that sugar can cause weakened eyesight, and cataracts? It even contributes to headaches, and migraines. Police officers and those in the police academy, one can hope that you are at your physical best. However continuously indulging in sugary products can attribute to heart disease, suppress the immune system (which is constantly attacked in your career), can increase the amount of estrogen in men, and slow down your adrenal glands functions which affect your hormones.
We are in a career that demands so much from us mentally and physically for both sworn and civilian. Sweets can often be seen as a reward and comfort food. With time, patience, and perseverance it is possible to retrain your taste buds. My habit has been to cut out things slowly so that you don't jump off the wagon and set it on fire. Cut out soda, or start using fewer creamers in your coffee. As time goes on you will see that you crave certain sweets less and less! Baby steps, slow and steady!