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Sugar Addiction - Dr. Dovec and April Watts at Magic 95.9

July 24, 2017
Is your idea of a treat a chocolate chip cookie, bowl of ice cream, or slice of pie? Then like most Americans, your sweet tooth may be making it hard for you to lose weight and might even be putting your health in jeopardy by increasing your risk of diabetes and other serious diseases. Dr. Elizabeth Dovec, Director of GBMC’s Comprehensive Obesity Management Program, talked with Magic 95.9 host April Watts, who’s on her own quest to get healthier, about the negative impact sugar has on your health, how to making healthier eating choices, and why exercise alone isn’t the answer to weight loss.

One shocking fact that Dr. Dovec shared was that while you should strive to eat less than 15 grams of sugar a day, including the sugar found in foods like ketchup, fruit juice, and pasta sauce, most Americans eat about 73 grams a day or 180 pounds of sugar a year! Why do we crave sugar? “Sugar is incredibly addictive,” said Dr. Dovec. “In fact, it’s eight times more addictive than crack cocaine. And while most people who want to decrease the sugar in their diet try to just cut back, the only approach that really works long-term is to quit cold turkey. You may have a few days of cravings and headaches, but you’ll find it easier to stick to and your health with really benefit.”

If you still want something sweet to eat, Dr. Dovec recommends berries, which are sweeter than grapes or bananas. Whole fruits do contain natural sugar, but they also contain beneficial nutrients, enzymes, water, and fiber, so you can get your sugar fix in a healthy way. Dr. Dovec’s tip for not feeling hungry and keeping your cravings under control? Make sure you eat enough protein and healthy fats, which keep you full longer.

Viewers also asked how to keep their kids from getting addicted to sugar, whether sugar increases your belly fat (an indicator of your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health problems), and whether honey or agave nectar are better choices than sugar. “To make real healthy changes in the way you eat, you have to figure out your ‘why’,” she added. “Set your goals, whether that’s being around to walk your kids down the aisle, feeling more comfortable in your own skin, or improving your self-esteem. Once you have your why, it’s easier to stick with your new, healthier eating habits.”
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