Those of you who are from or have worked in the UK will be familiar with the tradition of bringing sweets and chocolates into the office after returning from trips overseas. London after all is the global hub for travel.
To my not-so-surprise, my recent contribution of some Lindt ‘premium’ chocolates from Geneva airport were demolished in the blink of an eye. I remember looking at the empty tray saying, “what happened there? That was quick!” There were a few potential suspects sitting around the ‘chocolate contribution’ desk, but I thought nothing of it… until later.
Sugar. If it’s not plastic the world is obsessed with, it’s definitely sugar. Diabetes, heart disease, even cancer are all implicated with a diet high in sugar. I even read recently that sugar is more addictive than heroin or cocaine! It was only my local cafe Beanys in the City last Monday morning, where I was sitting outside enjoying a coffee and I could literally smell the stuff, which got me thinking.
My dear friend from the blogosphere, CJ, emphatically describes her battle with sugar addiction and ‘LMP’ (‘lemon meringue pie’). I can only empathise. Temptation is everywhere as per my Monday morning coffee experience and, alas, we often succumb to the devil. Sugar fixates us, often in uncontrollable urges to eat as much of whatever sugar-coated or filled sweet there is available. Try taking on a bag of Haribos and I know who’ll come out the winner. I’m often left on a bit of a downer in the office, after consuming one too many gummy bears. Talk about a concentration killer.
Let’s look at what’s going on here, especially when stress is involved. The brain starts craving ‘sweet’ (or salty) products as a result of certain hormones (“glucocorticoids”, or GCs for short) being secreted. The GC receptors are found in the taste-bud cells associated with sweet foods, thereby affecting the way we taste, and the types of foods we crave, when stressed.
The intake of sugar results in the production of insulin by the pancreas in order to absorb the sugar from the blood, which leads to the inevitable ‘sugar crash’ once the indulgence is over.
Such fixations and uncontrollable urges are often disguised as chocolate or other ‘fixes’. Not so when it comes to the “real deal”, it seems. Interestingly, when I presented a high quality ‘99%’ pure Panama chocolate bar from Vivani, the reaction was rather muted, even from the biggest ‘chocoholics’ in the team. Without that sweet smell of milk chocolate coated sugar, the ‘attraction’ wasn’t quite the same.
Which leads me to the next question: you say you love chocolate, but perhaps it’s really something else deep down you desire? Deceptively deceiving. “Of course not”, you say, “I love chocolate!” But then again, the ‘real thing’ doesn’t quite taste the same.
Case solved…you got me; it’s the sugar damn it – I’m hooked.