Why something so sweet is so bad…for your bones

By: | Posted in: Blog, Featured | Tuesday, May 24, 2016 - 1:03am

When I was on Wall Street, every day was a whirlwind. Sitting down to a meal was rare. Instead, I snatched what I could, when I could. For a quick energy fix I often grabbed something sweet like a Peppermint Pattie.

Now, I knew eating sugar could rot my teeth. But what I didn’t know at that time was that sugar could also “rot” my bones. Here’s what I mean.

You’ve heard me talk about the acid-alkaline balance. Basically it means that your body likes to be slightly Silver Sugar Bowl with Sugar Cubesalkaline. But sugar is acidic. When you eat too much, your body tries to get back in balance. To do that it leaches calcium out of your bones to buffer the acid. And when the buffering is done your body excretes that calcium.

If you do this often enough, you’ll lose lots of calcium and your bones will be weaker. And it doesn’t help just to take in more calcium. Animal studies show that eating too much sugar can cause osteoporosis even when calcium levels are good.[i]

Excess sugar also depletes your body of phosphorus, a mineral that is important in helping your bones absorb calcium.

And sugar raises your cortisol levels. This stress hormone can lead to thinner bones.

How much sugar do we consume?

Americans today eat a whopping 139 pounds of sugar per year.

That averages out to about 43 teaspoons a day!

(for my label readers….1 gram = 4 teaspoons)

Compare that to our grandparents who ate just about four teaspoons a day.Peppermint Pattie

And when I talk about sugar I don’t just mean my Peppermint Patties or a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee. I mean all the foods and drinks that easily break down into sugar when you eat them. Things like bagels, bread, crackers, and pretzels will get you to the same place as sucking on a few lumps of sugar. And sugar is hidden in most processed foods today like ketchup, salad dressings, canned soup, and sports drinks.

All that sugar may be more addictive than drugs. In one study researchers allowed rats access to two areas.  In one area, the rats were fed Oreo cookies. In another they received rice cakes. All the rats started hanging out in the Oreo area hoping for another fix. 

Then the researchers looked at the rats’ brains. They found “…Oreos activated significantly more neurons than cocaine or morphine” on the brain’s opioid receptors.  In other words, the Oreos were more addictive than heroin and cocaine.[ii] 

And there’s more:

“The data is so overwhelming the field has to accept it.  We are finding tremendous overlap between drugs in the brain and food in the brain.”  Nora Volkow, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse [iii]

The New Science of Sugar Addition

You and your bones don’t have to be the victims of a sugar addiction. Here’s what to do.

  1. Avoid low-fat foods. “Low-fat” processed foods contain sugar to compensate for lack of flavor and fat. That sugar will send you on the roller-coaster ride of sugar highs and lows. Stick with whole foods as nature provided them – fats and all.
  2. Eat a good breakfast. Sugary breakfast foods like bagels, donuts, or cereal set you up for a sugar spike and mid-morning crash. Instead, start your day off right with a breakfast low in sugar and high in protein and unrefined carbohydrates. Try my recipe of whole grain oatmeal with nuts and fruit.
  3. Go for naturally sweet foods. We evolved to enjoy the subtle sweetness of natural fruits and vegetables. Whole grains, fresh fruit, and sweet vegetables like sweet potatoes, beets, onions and carrots satisfy sweet cravings. And they’re also full of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Sometimes sweet cravings are really a signal you’re dehydrated. Before you grab for something sweet, try drinking a glass of water and then waiting a few minutes. The sugar craving often subsides.
  5.  Use natural sweeteners. Rather than using artificial sweeteners and white refined sugar, try using natural sweeteners that also have some nutrients still intact. Good choices are raw honey, maple syrup, and dried fruit. Remember that even these should be used sparingly.

Would you and your bones like to spend a weekend with me?


Take a break from the speed of your life and REBOUND in our Healing Sanctuary in Bucks County, PA. Your body, bones, heart and mind will thank you.  You will be pampered, fed an organic bone strengthening breakfast and dinner, rest, restore and rejuvenate.  I promise!

Find out more HERE.

Ahh nature

Please let me know how I can better serve you and your bones.

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From my sweet and delicious bones to yours,



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[i] Saffar, J. L, et al. 1981. “Osteoporotic effect of a high-carbohydrate diet (Keyes 2000) in golden hamsters.” Arch Oral Biol 26:393-397.

[ii] Connecticut College News, October 15, 2013. https://www.conncoll.edu/news/news-archive/2013/student-faculty-research-suggests-oreos-can-be-compared-to-drugs-of-abuse-in-lab-rats.html#.VztpI76o3BQ

[iii] “The New Science of Sugar Addiction” Why Diets Fail – Because You’re Addicted to Sugar by Nicole M. Avena, PhD and John R. Talbott.

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