Sugar addiction – think it cannot happen to you? Think again. In fact most of us walking around on this planet today have an addiction to sugar and may not even know it, or realize how badly it has taken over our life.
To add to that, our health, especially in the Western World is deteriorating rapidly and many of us do not give enough attention to what the main culprit of that may be – sugar.
It is facts like these, plus many more that are discussed by Dr. Scott Olson ND, in his latest book entitled Sugarettes – Sugar Addiction and Your Health.
I have had the pleasure of reading this newly released book from Dr. Olson and having just finished it, wanted to share it with you as it contains a wealth of knowledge that could potentially save your life! You may remember Dr. Olson from the article he wrote here on Evolving Wellness, entitled Cravings: When Sugar Calls Do You Come Running? that is extremely beneficial to read for anyone who has ever experienced a sugar craving.
Hence, in today’s article I will be going through an in-depth review of Dr. Olson’s new book and giving you some “food for thought” where sugar and your health are concerned.
Sugarettes: The Origin
Sugarettes was just released this past October and written by Dr. Scott Olson. Dr. Olson is a naturopathic doctor. He began his health journey early, being fuelled with passion for the health sciences. His journey was interrupted twice due to illness, that Dr. Olson not only overcame, but which also fuelled his passion in the natural health field even more. He thus studied to be a naturopathic doctor and today not only sees patients in his practice, but also writes articles and books.
His main area of study and passion is where sugar and our health are concerned. Through much of his research, he has discovered many links that all point to the fact that our ill health today is greatly the result of the vast quantity of sugar and sugar-like foods that we eat. Hence out of this paradigm, Sugarettes the book was born.
As you may have already noticed, the front cover of Sugarettes has a hand holding a box on it that resembles a package of cigarettes. That is how seriously Dr. Olson takes sugar in this book – comparing it to cigarettes in terms of the health damage that people suffer from it. The seriousness of sugar and its comparison to cigarettes also explains the title he chose for the book – Sugarettes.
Sugarettes: The Structure
The first great thing to note about this book, is that it is a very easy read. Regardless of whether you have any science or health background whatsoever, you will find the book very easy to understand thanks to the language, explanations and analogies that Dr. Olson uses. To add to that, the book is only about 150 pages and organized into well thought-out chunks of information. The majority of the book is quite exciting and may be very shocking, thus it keeps the reader on their toes and is sure not to bore.
The book has no formal chapters, but sections instead, which are as follows:
- The History of Your Dinner
- Let’s Talk Carbs
- Sugar Magnet
- Sugar Meets Body
- Foods That Act Like Sugar
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Sugar-Disease Connection
- Surviving in Carbo-Land
Throughout the book, Dr. Olson also includes a few graphs and diagrams that act as powerful tools to strengthen his ideas and research.
Sugarettes: The Content
Sugarettes begins with what for some may be a very controversial introduction. Here, right off the start Dr. Olson explains that sugar is not only comparable in its harmful effects to cigarettes, but in fact is even worse for our health!
Through various excellent analogies, he eloquently proves his point about how and why sugar is not only so damaging to your body but also just as addictive as alcohol, nicotine or opiate drugs.
Hence, in the introduction Dr. Olson provides a history of both cigarettes and sugar and shows the unmistakable links where marketing and medical consensus of the two was and is concerned.
He then takes the reader on a journey about the history of our food and traces for us the events that have led to the food that we have come to eat and accept today as normal and nutritious.
Dr. Olson also gives a brief, but excellent overview of what carbohydrates are and how they act in your body. This is a vital part of the book, as being a health and biology teacher I can relate to how few students take a course where carbohydrates are explained and to top that off, how many of those that do actually understand, take seriously and put into practice what is being said. It is thus no wonder that we have the majority of the population of adults today having no clue as to what carbohydrates are and how they really act in our body.
You can also expect to learn in this book exactly how sugar damages your body in many ways, but especially how it can be linked to weight gain, diabetes type 2, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and poor health in general.
Dr. Olson also takes some time to explain foods that act like sugar and the whole idea of the glycemic index, pointing out its strenghts and weaknesses.
I was also very pleased to find a section on artificial sweeteners. This has got to be one of the best parts also that Dr. Olson added to this book as they have got to be one of the worst groups of chemicals humans are putting in their bodies today, so the more that they are exposed the better.
Finally the book finishes off by first concluding with more proof how sugar indeed harms our body and leads to the many common diseases we have today and secondly with three possible roads for the reader to take on their personal health journey. Each road is outlined with pros and cons and carved out to help us trek through a very high sugar and carbohydrate induced society, including helpful hints and tips on what to do to overcome sugar cravings and addiction.
After reading this book, one cannot argue that it is very compelling indeed and it will give you lots to think about where sugar is concerned.
Personal Thoughts on Sugarettes
My first thoughts as I started reading this book were of very little shock. I guess sometimes I underestimate how many people in our society DO NOT realize just how destructive sugar is to their health. Personally, I have felt without even looking into any great studies that sugar is very harmful to our bodies. I knew for years now that sugar has got to be responsible for most of the weight problems we are seeing and that it has a direct link where diabetes type 2 is concerned.
So what I did get shocked by, was when Dr. Olson explains that the medical and scientific communities officially only link sugar to be harmful where our tooth health is concerned and nothing else! I found that beyond shocking. I really thought in our day and age it was apparent how obviously harmful sugar is to our health and no health professional could argue that.
The part that I most enjoyed about the book is the urgency with which Dr. Olson speaks when it comes to society waking up from its sugar-induced coma. He points out what I have been seriously advocating for over the past year and that is how our holidays all revolve around sugar and are constructed in a way to make it almost impossible to be healthy. Sweets for Christmas, sweets for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, birthdays and any other occasions you can squeeze in there. You are almost made to feel as if there is something wrong with you if you do not have cake on your birthday.
What made me laugh and sort of drove this point and many others that Dr. Olson brings up in his book was when I was reading this book at work on a break and a co-worker came over offering me some freshly baked sweets. I joked and said “that would be great eating sweets while I’m reading a book on sugar addiction”. After a few more sentences of the other person trying to convince me to try them as they had baked them themselves, the conversation ended with “You’re depriving yourself of such goodness.” To this I just silently laughed and shook my head, this is indeed how most in society think. I agree partly with them, I am depriving myself, but not of goodness, rather of disease.
So ultimately although I may not agree with cutting out whole unprocessed grains from my diet like quinoa, oat bran, amaranth and others, and am still swaying back and forth when it comes to potatoes, I totally agree with not just reducing, but cutting out completely sugar and refined and processed sugar items from one’s diet completely. I know, I know some people may say “but it is so hard”. For me though, when I compare getting a few minutes of pseudo-pleasure or a lifetime of good health, the choice becomes extremely easy.
From a consumer’s point of view, the book is highly informative and very valuable for all to read in our society today. If you are eating sugar or any processed carbohydrates, this is a must read that will hopefully awaken and inspire you to make some drastic dietary changes before it is too late for your body and health.
From a scientist and health professional’s point of view, the book is well researched and documented with lots of studies to examine both sides of the story. One has to remember though that it is a book about sugar and its link to health and it does not necessarily address the other major nutrient groups, like fats and proteins and their effects on your health. As Dr. Olson also states, “it is not meant to be a diet, meal plan or recipe book, but a book to educate you on the addictive qualities and harm that sugar can cause.”
I specifically say that, because I know that when some people read a new health book or claim, they drop everything they were doing, forgoing all common sense and wholly adopt a new way of life without considering the whole picture.
Bottom line, I feel that Sugarettes is a must read, especially for those who consume large quantities of sugar foods daily or feed it to their kids and are sucked into society’s paradigm to see sugar and sugar-foods as a “treat”. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth and it is time that we start seeing sugar for what it is and labeling it with a much more deserving and appropriate label that is nowhere near the word treat, but closer to the word drug.