Exploration into the effects of sugar on our lives in the 21st century
More and more, the increasing sugar intake has been recognised as an addiction and sugar’s capacities to alter the behavior, especially in growing children, acknowledged by health practitioners. Sugar has also been related to various illnesses and health diseases such as attention deficit disorder (ADHD), candida, digestive complaints, heart diseases, diabetes mellitus, anorexia, and dental caries.
When sugar first came to the continent it was very expensive commodity and used mainly as a treat, and rarely, by those able to afford it. Today the daily sugar intake for an average adult is estimated to be around 25 spoons per day. In the food industry of the the 21st century, sugar has become a necessity, it is vastly used and is even added to savoury products such as hummus and mayonnaise.
Today the daily sugar intake for an average adult is estimated to be around 25 spoons per day
Children, who are naturally much more sensitive and receptive to their food and environment, seem to be the main victim of sugar industry. Unless we cook from scratch and avoid pre-packaged foods, pretty much anything on the market that is ready to buy for our children’s snacks and meals contains sugar.
This high content of sugar in our foods creates a continuous craving for more and more and is the prime suspect for the mid afternoon ‘low-energy-need-of-a pick-up’ episodes many of us suffer from.
Sugar is 50% fructose, the so-called sugar free snacks are packed with fruit juices (fructose) and do nothing less than to feed the cravings. Saying that, keeping up with supermarket labeling and nutritional advices is nearly impossible, many mums going about their daily life doing the right thing for their children without being aware that these sugar free snacks are not so free after all.
Sugar is a quick and easy source of energy and we are prone to both like it and crave it. When high amounts of sugars are taken with our food, a hormonal change, the increase in dopamine is triggered and the cravings for more follows quickly.
Other ways to observe the effects of sugar is in the growing obesity, especially in children and young adults. A high in sugar diet has also been related to ADHD (attention deficit hyper active disorder). However, reducing the carbohydrates and controlling the diet would usually yield an immediate significant change, but would not deal with the underlying issues and if anything it often increases the frustration for the child and puts a strain on the family.
The homeopathic remedy Saccharum officiale, made from the sugar cane, is useful with all the above complaints and has a marked affinity for children struggling with alternating mood, children with intense cravings for sugar and sweets, these that seem out of control, and these who express an intense need for love and affection. Saccharum is a good remedy for children who have suffered abandonment and lack a true sense of being loved. In the picture of Saccharum there could be seen an aetiology of an early separation, detachment and abandonment; also, very common is the presence of a mark disorder around food which could go back to early childhood, for example, the child was not breast-fed or mother's milk has stopped suddenly.
More often than not, the common way we chose to distract ourselves from our feelings and compensate for the emotional sufferings is a controlling behaviour around our eating habits. Whether becoming anorexic, bulimic, or over eating, it is always around food, and always food high on sugar. Saccharum is a useful remedy to consider in disturbed carbohydrates assimilation, loss of weight, or obesity. It is a good remedy for these hyperactive children with ravenous appetite, with insatiable hunger and constant need for attention, always asking questions and finding it hard to stop talking. In the picture we find a very aggressive behaviour and jealousy, need for stimulants, smoking or thumb sucking or never sucking their thumb in some children.
The theme of lack of love, and especially lack of self-love in the central picture of those addicted to sugar and in the homeopathic remedy Saccharum officiale is not surprising.
The history of sugar production has a lot to answer for with regards to the above symptoms. When sugar cane was first discovered, the Europeans use to call it the ‘white gold’ and for more than two centuries it was the driving engine for slavery trade. In order for ‘white gold’ production to be continued and satisfy the demand of the continent, African people were being pulled out of their homeland and transported across the ocean to work on sugar cane plantations as slaves. Instead of love between humans, and the love of the mother, the world had the trade triangle. African people were separated from their ‘motherland’; many separated from their mothers and sold to work elsewhere, many children with unknown fathers. People were continuously humiliated, abused and made to feel worthless.
‘It is not love, it is only food’ is an expression that resonates with many of us in our modern society. When people used to sit by the fire and share their food, wrapped around with the feelings of belonging to their group and a sense of love and togetherness, their hunger was satisfied with much less food for their hearts were full of warmth. The modern way of living, uprooting families due to better job opportunities , or being constantly busy rushing around, has driven people into the habit of eating alone, eating standing up, eating while reading, whilst watching television and doing all sorts of other things but hardly being aware of their food and themselves. The sense of separation from the group and the lack of love have been compensated by food…and food high in sugar.
Sugar has had a profound and unfortunately a profane effect on our lives. The high we get from sugar is very much in tune with the high our society is becoming obsessed to search for. The quick fix, the stressful living, the busy cooperative world, the self-involvement, the detachment are all expressed in the relationship with sugar. From addictions, to substitutions, to total self-denial, to life long chronic illness and children’s restless behaviour, sugar is everywhere. From the beginning of its discovery, it has been the cause of separation between white and black, sweet life and sour existence.
For a long time these divisions have been discerned in the political world and we are beginning to see a vast rise in the awareness of these bitter truths and awareness of the effects of sugar on our health. And what is more, this is a powerful indication that people are ready for a change, and not only a change in their diet and health awareness, but also a change in life style. And hopefully the profane effects of sugar will soon give place to that sacred awareness we all crave for.