Why Sugar Addiction Is Like Drug Abuse And Why It Must Be Treated As Such
A 2016 research at the Queensland University of Technology revealed that consuming excess sugar increases dopamine levels, just like cocaine and heroin. The study suggests that individuals who are addicted to sugar should receive the same treatment at rehab centres as those who are addicted to illicit substances.
In the research, rats who are addicted to sugar could receive addiction treatment. Selena Bartlett explains that excess sugar consumption has a direct bearing on weight gain and elevates dopamine levels to control the brains pleasure centre. Youll feel the urge to eat high portions of sugary food for long periods of the day, which accelerates the journey to addiction.
When you attempt to quit, youll experience withdrawal symptoms, which causes an imbalance in the brain as it adjusts to perform with high levels of dopamine. Professor Bartlett suggests that nicotine addiction medication such as Champix could alleviate sugar craving and help balance dopamine levels. The study also found that animals with high sugar levels risk psychiatric and neurological difficulties, such as mood swings and depression.
You Can Quit Your Sugar Habit
Quitting sugar is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Youll feel better, slash your risk of developing many diseases, and make room in your diet for more nutritious and satisfying foods. So why not get started right now?
It wont necessarily be easy, but its not complicated with these tips at hand. Approach quitting your sugar habit one day at a time, and before you know it, you wont even want to eat those sweet treats anymore.
Balance Out Your Meals
Whole foods can be beneficial substitutes for sugary substances and offer health benefits while also toning down your addiction to a minimum. They are a foods natural form, so they present no health risk and contain no processed sugar. Oat milk and nut milk are prime examples of whole foods. Dont forget a balanced breakfast. They are the most important for cutting down sugar intake. The right amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats in your body will enable you to feel less hungry and not go for that bowl of ice cream in the fridge. If you start off your day with a breakfast full of carbs and fats, it will make you crave sugary foods all day.
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Get Rid Of Three Of Your Biggest Salt Craving Foods A Week For One Month
Most of the salt in our diets comes from processed and packaged foods like snack foods and chips, canned foods, frozen entrees, condiments, salad dressings and prepared meals. Make a commitment to get rid of three of your salty go-tos and keep track of how it is going for you each day. After one week of this, drop another three of your favorite salty foods. By the end of the month you will have dropped 12 to 15 big salt contributors to your diet.
But this doesnt mean you have to completely sacrifice salt. Take some of those foods you love, like salsa or a certain salad dressing and experiment with making it yourself. Salsa at home can be made with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lemon, and spices, and the homemade version is relatively salt-free. In addition to this, each week try dropping a fast food or convenience food, like your usual 3 p.m. vending-machine buy or drive-through stop. Fast-food grabs are some of the worst salt offenders in our diets, so its important to drop one of those a week as well.
What Are You Craving
Lastly, dont ignore why you are craving something. Its a sign that our brain is starving and our biochemistry is out of balance. Overconsumption of carbs can lead to a brain that is not properly nourished.
We have a and a Private Free FB Group you can join for added support. Randy and I want you to know that you are not alone in this battle, that there are people who want to stand beside you and encourage you on your decision.
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First Steps In Overcoming Food Addiction
A few things can help prepare for giving up junk foods and make the transition easier:
- Trigger foods. Write down a list of the foods that cause cravings and/or binges. These are the trigger foods to avoid completely.
- Fast food places. Make a list of fast food places that serve healthy foods and note their healthy options. This may prevent a relapse when hungry and not in the mood to cook.
- What to eat. Think about what foods to eat preferably healthy foods that are liked and already eaten regularly.
- Pros and cons. Consider making several copies of the pro-and-con list. Keep a copy in the kitchen, glove compartment, and purse or wallet.
Additionally, dont go on a diet. Put weight loss on hold for at least 13 months.
Overcoming food addiction is difficult enough. Adding hunger and restrictions to the mix is likely to make things harder.
After taking these preparatory steps, set a date in the near future like the coming weekend from which point onward the addictive trigger foods wont be touched again.
To overcome food addiction, its important to plan. Make a list of trigger foods and know what is going to be eaten instead.
How To Break Your Sugar Addiction In Only 4 Days
Robyn Openshaw – Updated: February 1, 2021 – – This Post May Contain Affiliate Links
On the GreenSmoothieGirl lecture tour of 450 U.S. cities, I was asked one question, over and over:
How do I break my sugar addiction?
And I suspect that far more of us want to ask this question, relative to the few brave enough to say it out loud.
Because we all have Shame about our food addictions. Wed all love to get off sugar.
Im going to talk about how the Shame Monster is your worst enemy, if youre addicted to sugar. Worse than the chemical addiction, maybe. And then Im going to tell you the somewhat triumphant, somewhat humiliating story of my Year of No Sugar.
In this post:
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Enjoy A Piece Of Fruit
“I don’t know if it’s possible to eradicate sugar cravings because they’re part of being human. But I do think that nature gave us fruit for a reason,” Largeman-Roth says. “It’s naturally sweet and loaded with fiber to help us feel full. It also delivers a host of benefits, including antioxidants that help our bodies and skin stay young and healthy.” Training your body to crave fruit instead of processed sugar will be greatly beneficial to your overall health.
How To Sugar Detox: When An Apple Tastes Like Candy
Once the first three days of the sugar detox are completed, you can add an apple.
By the fourth day, an apple tastes like candy, Alpert said. The onions are sweet! Almonds are sweet! Once you take sugar away from your diet cold turkey, your palate recalibrates, and you start tasting natural sugars again.
Starting with day four, you can add one apple and one dairy food each day. Dairy, such as yogurt or cheese, should be full-fat and unsweetened. Fat, fiber and protein slow the absorption of sugar, so taking out fat from dairy will make you absorb sugar faster, Alpert said.
You can also add some higher-sugar vegetables such as carrots and snow peas, as well as a daily serving of high-fiber crackers. Three glasses of red wine in that first week can be added, too.
During week two, you can add a serving of antioxidant-rich berries and an extra serving of dairy. You can also add back starchy vegetables such as yams and winter squash.
For week three, you can add grains such as barley, quinoa and oatmeal, and even some more fruit including grapes and clementines. You can also have another glass of red wine during the week and an ounce of dark chocolate each day.
Week three should be quite livable, Alpert said.
Week four is the home stretch, when you can enjoy two starches per day, including bread and rice, in addition to high-fiber crackers. Wine goes up to five glasses per week.
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How To Detox From Added Sugar
In as little as 1 week, you can begin to train your taste buds to stop craving foods loaded with added sugarwhile still eating carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to stay satisfied. The key is to prepare food at home when you can double-check the labels of foods you buy and use fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices, rather than sweeteners, for flavor. “When your diet is bland and boring, you’re more likely to seek out sugar,” says Wendy Bazilian, a registered dietitian and a Prevention advisory board member. Here’s what to do.
STEP 1: GET IN THE RIGHT MIND-SET.
It’s important to avoid labeling yourself. Saying things like “I’m powerless around sugar” or calling yourself a sugar addict can hurt your chances of success. “These phrases can be a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Blatner says. It’s also best to avoid the word can’t during this detox: Instead of telling yourself I can’t have that when you’re faced with temptation, think I don’t eat that. The former feels like you’re punishing yourself, while the latter is empowering.
STEP 2: CUT SUGAR FOR 1 WEEK.
Turn the page for our sugar detox meal plan created by Bazilian. It guides you through your first week as you eliminate added sugar to recalibrate your taste buds. Note that fruit is included in many of your meals and snacks.
Common Attributes Shared Between Sugar And Drug Addiction
Sugar shares several attributes with recreational drugs, some of which include:
Dopamine levels: Your body releases higher levels of dopamine when you consume sugar, more than the natural levels produced in the brain. The euphoria associated with dopamine reinforces repeat usage until you build tolerance. Research has shown that the brain reacts to sugar in the same way it does to addictive substances. The intense feeling could lead to addiction if you continue to consume a high amount of sugar.
Cravings: If you ever feel like you need a soda or scoop of ice cream to function properly, that will likely be sugar craving at work. The cravings you experience when you go a short while without taking sugar is similar those experienced by a drug addict who is trying to quit.
Common Brain response: A recent research found strong similarities in how the body and brain respond to both addictive substances and sugar.
Tolerance: Once youve developed a tolerance for sugar, sex, alcohol or any substance its difficult to quit. In this case, youll need higher amounts of sugar with subsequent intakes to feel the original high.
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Is A Sugar Addiction As Powerful As Cocaine Addiction
I think wed all agree that cocaine is a very addictive substance. So how does sugar addication compare?
Consuming sugar sparks your nucleus accumbens , the area of the brain often referred to as the reward centre. When your nucleus accumbens is stimulated, it releases dopamine, and you begin to feel very good very quickly.
The more sugar your food contains, the more dopamine is released, and the bigger high you experience. But…
Just like cocaine and other addictive drugs, over time your brain requires more sugar in order to generate the same high. Your dopamine receptors become less sensitive to the presence of sugar, and your addiction to sugar grows stronger.
Some people even experience physiological changes within the brain when they eat sugary or highly refined foods . Their brains change and the sugar addiction gets stronger.
It is important to realize that sugar addiction is NOT just an emotional reliance on sweets and refined foods. If you cant resist sugar, dont be too hard on yourself. It has nothing to do with your willpower, or your desire to change your body has adapted to depend on sugar and, just like a cocaine addict experiences tremendous withdrawal symptoms if she were to cut out cocaine, removing sugar from your diet can feel impossible.
This can sound very depressing, but dont worry because there IS hope.There is a sugar addiction cure!
What You Can Expect When You Go Off Sugar
If you take a break from sugar, you’ll find your tastes and cravings begin to change very quickly.
Its a simple science experiment that will prove something interesting to you: that you are stronger than you think.
You are actually innately drawn to the colors, textures, and flavors of real food. That is your genetic programming, and those natural, whole foods are what your ancestors ate for thousands of years.
You cant discover this UNLESS you quit sugar for four days.
I know you can do it. My first four days off sugar were much, much harder than the subsequent 361.
Choose the days of the week you face the fewest temptations, and plan ahead with delicious, flavorful, whole-food meals that will fill you and satisfy your taste buds.
Now, if you dont find the sugar cravings completely disappearing after four days?
Whatever you do, dont let Shame grab you by the throat. It serves no one. Behaviors driven underground flourish in the darkness. Say no to Shame!
Youre no different from meand I make a living telling people how to eat healthy.
It takes some people a little bit longer, often because they have candida yeast overgrowth or they eat higher-than-average amounts of sugar or soda.
Sugar is more addictive than crack cocaine. Multiple studies have proven it.
But its actually quite amazing what four days off the nice girls crack will do for your confidence level. Sugar does not own you, and you CAN break your sugar addiction.
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Watch Your Intake Of Simple Carbs
Refined carbohydrates, like white bread and pasta, can spike your blood sugar and cause cravings, just like sugar. Two good rules of thumb: avoid foods that are highly processed and replace refined grains with their whole-grain counterparts.
For example, choose brown rice instead of white rice, and swap your white bread and pasta for the whole-wheat versions. Whole grains take longer to digest than refined grains, so they dont cause such severe blood sugar swings. While you may eventually choose to go completely grain free, if you want to transition slowly, whole grains can be a good start.
Add Some Protein To A Carb
“A study that looked at MRI scans of people eating a high-protein breakfast found reduced activity in the regions of the brain associated with cravings,” Cassetty says. Try adding some protein to your breakfast and see if it helps you cut down on sugar later in the day. “You can serve your hot or cold cereal with some Greek yogurt, or have it with a couple of eggs on the side to boost your protein intake. If you’re eating a bagel or toast, include some smoked salmon to get the benefits of protein.”
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Weight Loss The Easy Way
Ok, its not easy giving up sugar but doing so cuts out a lot of calories. All labels had to be checked, most convenience supermarket foods and condiments were a no-go. Desserts, sugary drinks and most types of alcohol were to be avoided and if I could find an alternative it tended to be significantly less calorific. While focusing on avoiding sugar rather than calories, weight loss just happened.
How Much Sugar Is Okay
If sugar is so bad for you, then is any amount of it okay? Sugar is not a required nutrient in the diet .
The Institute of Medicine, which sets the Recommended Dietary Allowances, has not issued a formal number for recommended or allowable grams of sugar per day one should consume.
The American Heart Association, however, suggests that the average man consumes no more than about 9 teaspoons of added sugar per day, and the average woman consumes no more than 6 teaspoons per day. That is about the amount in a 12-ounce can of soda.
Natural sugars, like those found in fruits and dairy milk, do not count. The focus is on added sugar, found primarily in things like ice cream, candy, cakes, cookies, regular sodas, and other ultra-processed foods.
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Why Do We Crave Sugar
There are many reasons why we go for sweet things.
That appetite may be hardwired. “Sweet is the first taste humans prefer from birth,” says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, a dietitian and American Dietetic Association spokeswoman. Carbohydrates stimulate the release of the feel-good brain chemical serotonin. Sugar is a carbohydrate, but carbohydrates come in other forms, too, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
The taste of sugar also releases endorphins that calm and relax us, and offer a natural “high,” says Susan Moores, MS, RD, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in St. Paul, Minn.
Sweets just taste good, too. And that preference gets reinforced by rewarding ourselves with sweet treats, which can make you crave it even more. With all that going for it, why wouldnt we crave sugar?
The problem comes not when we indulge in a sweet treat now and then, but when we over-consume, something thats easy to do when sugar is added to many processed foods, including breads, yogurt, juices, and sauces. And Americans do overconsume, averaging about 22 teaspoons of added sugars per day, according to the American Heart Association, which recommends limiting added sugars to about 6 teaspoons per day for women and 9 for men.