CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - As addictive as cocaine, and likely in something you're having for dinner, new research suggests sugar is even more addictive and damaging than ever before.
Cambridge researchers found 77 percent of food on grocery store shelves is laced with hidden fructose so it's hard to avoid.
But one Heartland mom says it's possible.
"The answer is, it's just not here," said Sheri Grippo as she opened her pantry.
Grippo is a mother of two and she said it's possible to keep bad sugar, fructose, out of your life.
"Bottom line is if it's not there they don't have the option to consume it. It's the same thing for adults," said Grippo. "I explain to her your immune system is like a soldier, and if it has to clean up sugar, it will make it easier for you to get sick."
Doctors say unnatural sugar rewires your brain and the problem actually heightened during the low fat craze in the 1990s.
More companies replaced products with sugar and that meant more stress on the feel good dopamine hormones to the point you almost never get enough sugar. From there, researchers say that ended up leaving us with higher obesity rates and increased cases of heart disease.
In the long run it even alters your immune system and sets you up for disease, according to Cambridge researchers.
"We want our kids to be healthy. We want to set our kids up for success." said Grippo. "I don't just tell her to suffer through eating those greens, I tell her what they are doing to her body and if she has a donut what it will do to her body on the other side."
Nutritionists acknowledge the lifestyle is not easy to pull off when researchers estimate less than a quarter of what you find in store shelves is clear of fructose, but Grippo believes we have to find a way. She started educating herself filling her kitchen with nothing but whole foods and all natural items
"First of all stop buying the junk," said Grippo.
She transitioned over time. Sprouted grains fruits, raw honey and even went soda and dairy free after reading several books and realized a long life meant a healthy sugar-free immune and digestive system to fight off disease.
Doctors say she has the right idea. They say sugar is actually an anti-nutrient. Only natural sugar, like what's contained in certain fruits and vegetables, is beneficial.
Nutritionists in the holistic health field say they believe sugar will age your skin faster than if you were a heavy drinker and smoker combined.
Grippo knows it's hard, but she suggests doing your homework and making the transition in steps.
"Choose almond butter instead of something sugary or a soda. The raw almond butter has no added sugar. Instead of chocolate milk have almond milk with cacao powder. We love chia seeds or steel cut oats or almonds," she said.
Her daughter Aslyn Titus was excited to show us the healthy foods she enjoys.
"I like cucumber or apple slices," said Grippo's nine-year-old daughter Aslyn. "Mom will pack greens in my lunch in a bag. I love raw red and green peppers. At school a lot of other kids have donuts and stuff but mom explained to me what those sugars can do to your body so we only have them on special occasions. I mostly just like to eat the fruit and a special cereal that's healthy she buys without the bad sugar. If I go to my friends house and they don't eat healthy I just make good choices and get back on track the next day. I know it will make me strong."
"That's what her taste buds are used to, She has raw almonds or an almond milk smoothie for a snack. We do Ezekiel brand sprouted bread and she loves avocado toast or a really ripe pear is going to quench that sweet tooth," said Grippo.
"I'm glad she feeds me healthy," said Aslyn.
One in five are addicted to sugar, consuming about 60 pounds of added sugar a year mostly through soda. Artificial sweeteners are not a smart swap, according to nutritionists because they can be just as addictive and are not a natural food.
Nutritionist suggest natural sugars like fruit, local raw honey and natural spices. They suggest organic raw foods in their natural form with few ingredients. Check the label and avoid high-fructose syrups and the word sugar over all.
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