The Science of Sugar: Is Your Child (or You) Addicted to Sugar?


“Some candy bars had more protein than many cereals. [Jean] Mayer dubbed them “sugar-coated vitamin pills” and wrote, “I contend that these cereals containing over 50% sugar should be labeled imitation cereal or cereal confections, and they should be sold in the candy section rather than in the cereal section.” 
― Michael Moss, “Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us

Stacy D. Fehlinger
Certified Health Coach
Owner ofHealthy 4 Life, LLC(678) 719-2283
LongevityCoachStacy@gmail.comRegister for a complimentary 30 minute consultation with Stacy at Healthy Habits Strategy Session.


The Science of Sugar:
Is Your Child (or You) Addicted to Sugar?

Does your child or you constantly crave sweets? With Halloween right around the corner are your kids super excited to go trick-or-treating to receive a bagful of chocolate bars and candy? I can say that my kids are most definitely sugar addicts.  I have quite a few sweet teeth myself and watching sugar is not always easy because it is hiding in many products.

Let me start off by saying that sugar in itself is not “bad” and our bodies need sugar (glucose) to function properly. The problem we have is the QUANTITY of sugar that the majority of us consume on a daily basis.

First, let’s discuss some different types of sugar:
Sucrose – common table sugar
Sugar cane – tropical grass, sustainable crop pure sugar cane is non-GMO
Sugar beetsunderground root planted every year.  These plants are GMO.
Glucose – found in plants and the human body and is used immediately for energy.
Fructosenatural in fruits, vegetables and nectars – can also be manufactured. This type of sugar is metabolized in the liver.
Dextrose –crystalline glucose from starch – majority began as corn starch.
High Fructose Corn Syrup – metabolized only through the liver and this type of sugar is not the preferred energy source for muscles or brains.  This type of sugar does not stimulate the hormone leptin- the hormone responsible for filling full.  Chronically high levels of high fructose corn syrup react as a fat in the body more so than any other carbohydrate.
Sugar Alcohols – neither sugar nor alcohol and are mostly manufactured from corn. Typically, sugar alcohols are used in sugar free food, since it has little to no calories.  As it doesn’t promote tooth decay this type of sugar is found in gum. It can cause bloating, gas or diarrhea.
Artificial Sweeteners – these include aspartame, acesulfame K, saccharin, and sucralose. Artificial sweeteners are chemicals created by food manufacturers.  These vary from being 200 times to 600 times sweeter than actual sugar. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to a 47% increase in BMI per a European Clinical Nutrition Study in 2007 because it is believed that using artificial sweeteners cause us to consume more calories by increasing our need for sweets.

Is Sugar Actually Addicting?
Yes, it can be addicting. In fact, best-selling author Dr. Mark Hyman calls sugar a recreational drug.  Sugars in processed foods stimulate your brain similarly to the effects of drugs. Food cravings stimulate certain brain neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.  Dopamine enhances pleasure and well-being while serotonin increases feelings of comfort, relaxation and security. Ultra-processed sugar that has been stripped of its fiber, phytonutrients and minerals can actually change the neurochemistry of the pleasure center in the human brain. Intake of large amounts of this processed sugar on a regular basis and you can consider yourself a sugar addict.

What Amount of Sugar Does our Bodies Actually Need?
Our bodies only need 2 teaspoons of sugar daily. The majority of the sugar ingested should come from natural sugars found in fruits and vegetables. Eating smaller portions throughout the day also helps stabilize your blood sugar level.

Sugar Related Diseases
The following diseases have been linked to over-consumption of sugar:

  • Obesity
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease

Sugar’s Effect on the Immune System
Are you aware that excess sugar can impair your immune system? After eating a high sugar meal or snack our white blood count is impaired for 5 hours.  Also, our antibody production is reduced, it interferes with transporting Vitamin C throughout our bodies, and there are mineral imbalances. Some people can experience allergic reactions that they believe are more of a seasonal allergy. Sugar also neutralizes our essential fatty acids and fructose produces yeast which can raise our triglycerides.

Suggestions for Kicking the Sugar Habit
Re-train your taste buds and cut out one sweet food per week. Most importantly, just take baby steps to reduce your sugar intake. Small changes are more sustainable over the long run.

  • Choose a good for you sweet such as a piece of fruit.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink extra water.
  • READ LABELS – very important since there are so many types of sugar – need to look at the ingredients of processed foods to determine the amount of added sugar in the product.
  • Just don’t buy high sugar foods – leave those donuts, high sugar cereal and snack cakes on the shelf at the grocery store.
  • Replace white flour with whole wheat flour or almond flour.
  • Eat more protein.
  • Eat more high fiber foods.
  • Get outside and exercise – 30 minutes per day 5 times per week.
  • Skip artificial sweeteners since they may make you crave more sugar.
  • Limit natural sugars too – 100 daily calories for women, 150 daily calories for men and 130 daily calories for children.
  • Experiment with spices – coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom are sweet tasting spices.
  • And the most important advice – JUST EAT REAL FOOD! Real food is naturally low in sugar and high in fiber.

Of course, we will all have a sugary treat from time to time. I’m sure I’ll be sneaking some of my favorite candy bars out of my kids Halloween trick-or-treat bags, but what’s important to remember is not to eat the entire bag of candy and practice moderation. Also, add some protein to your sweet treat and it will help your blood sugar not spike quite as badly.

Have a safe, happy and healthy Halloween!


Does your pantry contain food that could be hurting you or your family’s health?Schedule your HEALTHY PANTRY MAKEOVER today to find out!

Here are the details of a pantry makeover:
  • Nothing you currently have in your pantry is thrown out!
  • Receive handouts on topics such as healthy substitutions
  • Introduction to traffic light eating
  • Learn how to read a food nutrition label
A pantry makeover takes approximately an hour to complete and costs $45
Contact Stacy D. Fehlinger at (678) 719-2283 or

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Do you have any other suggestions for dealing with your kids love of sweets?

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 Healthy 4 Life Kid-Friendly Snack of the Month
Witches’ Broom Snack

These witches’ brooms are ‘sweeping’ the nation!  Not really, but they should be.  Crunchy veggies combined with smooth, salty cheese?  Wowsa. What better snack to combat all of the sugary sweet candy your kids are likely to be bombarded with this Halloween.  These crunchy brooms can be whipped up in a matter of minutes and your kids will be munching away.


Cheese sticks (white and yellow)


Witches' Broom Snack. Combat increased sugar intake with this super fun snack recipe!
Begin by cutting your cheese sticks in half.



Witches' Broom Snack. Combat increased sugar intake with this super fun snack recipe!
Make the broom by cutting small slits in the bottom part of the cheese.



Witches' Broom Snack. Combat increased sugar intake with this super fun snack recipe!
Take the tip of the knife and round out a small hole so that you can insert the carrot or celery.



Witches' Broom Snack. Combat increased sugar intake with this super fun snack recipe!
Put the celery or carrot stick in the cheese.



Witches' Broom Snack. Combat increased sugar intake with this super fun snack recipe!

And Abracadabra!  A witch broom!

Your kids will think you are the most fun parent ever!

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