You Are Not Eating Enough
Whether you are cutting carbs to drastic levels or just not eating enough, being too restrictive on your diet may be whats driving you to eat more sugar.
This is purely survival mechanisms at work. Under-eating can signal a request for more calorie dense foods that will supply additional energy and quick energy in order for you to support your daily needs . Since sugar is one of the fastest sources of glucose you can get, it would make sense that you crave it when calories are sparse.
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Identify Your Trigger Foods
Not all of us struggle with the same food triggers. The foods with which some of us completely lose control, others do just fine. In fact, your genes play a part in determining the degree of sugar addiction. Although a DNA test can help you determine if youre more prone to getting a sugar addiction, you can also simply pay attention to your eating habits.
The first step to break your sugar addiction is to identify which foods, specifically, you struggle with. You might find that a food journal comes in handy, here. Write down what you eat, how much of it you eat, and if you have trouble stopping. This doesnt have to be some detailed account of foods and calories, as it might simply be a record of what you eat and why.
You might write down how you felt before, during, and after eating different foods. In your journal or food diary, you could also write about any occasions of binge-eating, where you ate one of something, and just couldnt stop.
Get a crystal-clear picture of which foods or types of foods are causing you the most trouble. Reflect on the situations, times, places, thoughts, and feelings that are often present when your cravings kick in.
Often, we turn to food for distraction, coping, entertainment, stress relief or comfort. Be honest with yourself and work to cultivate a sense of self-awareness.
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How To Stop Eating Sugar
1) Understand your sugar addiction is real. I dont want you to get caught up in a victim mentality, but there is some power in understanding that sugar is addictive.
When you eat sugar, it changes the chemistry in your brain by releasing the feel-good chemical called dopamine. There is a chemical change happening inside your brain you arent weak or pathetic for craving sugar.
If you feel shame about your inability to give up sugar, you will probably deal with the shame by eating more sugar.
Theres nothing to be ashamed of. Sugar is addictive for everyone because everyone has dopamine in their brains. If you crave sugar, then youre normal.
Theres a great book by Dr. Brene Brown called I Thought It Was Just Me . Shes a shame researcher, which sounds funny, yet shes great at putting the issue of shame into perspective. I highly recommend the book.
2) Flood your body with nutrients. When you stop eating sugar, your body removes toxins. These toxins are what lead to the withdrawal symptoms that pull you back.
The quickest way to rid your body of these toxins is to flood it with foods that are naturally high in vitamins and minerals. These nutrients help flush out the toxins.
In my free video series, I show you how to do this using 4 simple daily habits. If you want more nutrients, but dont know what to eat, then youll want to watch those videos before giving up sweets.
You can wake up in the morning, will yourself to give up sugar, and be back on it by noon.
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Cut Out Sugar In Foods That Aren’t Sweet
If you can’t give up your ice cream and chocolate, try to eliminate ketchup and salsa. “Sugar is in many condiments and sauces, and one must be careful not to assume that because it’s not a dessert or a sweet food it must not have sugar,” says Ilene Ruhoy, MD, PhD, a doctor trained in both pediatric and adult neurology and a gut council member for Jetson. “Sugar is found in many kinds of ketchup, mustards, salsas, marinaras, and other sauces. It can also be found in some meals such as sushi rice and polenta.”
In fact, according to Dr. Drucker, manufacturers add sugar to 74 percent of packaged foods! “Sugar is the most popular ingredient added to packaged foods a breakfast bar made with ‘real fruit and whole grains’ may contain 15 grams or more of added sugarâsugar is literally hidden everywhere in our food supply. Adults, children, toddlers and even babies are unknowingly conditioned to desire sugar.” Making a habit of checking ingredient labels will open your eyes to just how much sugar is added to some of the most unexpected foods.
Know The Difference Between A Craving And Hunger
Oftentimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just having a craving. What’s the difference? Next time you want to reach for that chocolate cake, ask yourself: if the only thing I had to eat right now was an apple, would I eat it? If the answer is “no,” then you’re probably having a craving and not actually hungry. When you’re hungry, what you’re willing to eat is flexible, when you’re having a craving, it’s not. The next time you answer “no” to that question, take 20 minutes before you act on it. Often you’ll find that the craving goes away if it doesn’t then allow yourself to mindfully indulge.
“You can also try to replace that craving with a healthy substitute,” says Kien Vuu, MD, a performance and longevity doctor and the author of Thrive State. Whenever I experience a craving, I’ll either go for a walk or sip on sparkling water. I find that if I don’t act on my initial craving and allow some time to pass, my craving will usually dissipate on its own.”
When flavored water doesn’t do the trick, Cassetty tells her clients that one of the easiest ways to lower your added sugar intake is to swap out your usual dessert for something like Lily’s Sweets. “They’re botanically sweetened chocolate treats with no added sugar. A sweet like this doesn’t count toward your daily added sugar intake.” Note, however, even botanically sweetened treatsâaka stevia-sweetened onesâshould be consumed in moderation, as previously mentioned.
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Retrain Your Taste Buds
You dont need sugar as much as you think you do. In fact, you can train your taste buds to enjoy things that arent as sweet. Try cutting out one sweet food from your diet each week. For example, pass on dessert after dinner. Start putting less sugar in your coffee or cereal. Over time, you will lose your need for that sugar taste.
Why Is Sugar Addicting
Sugar addiction can turn into a vicious cycle. At first, the sugar you eat tastes good, bringing on a “high” when your brain initiates the dopamine release. Then, the sugar causes your insulin levels to increase, leading to a drop in blood sugar levels. As your blood sugar falls, your appetite and hunger levels increase. Your body then craves sugar again to fix any hunger deficiencies or feelings of unease, even if the fix is only temporary.
What’s wrong with sugar, you ask? Everything. Outside of making things taste better, sugar has no nutritional value and is full of empty calories. These calories can create weight problems and, in turn, heighten your risk of heart disease and stroke.
That’s only the physical downside. The psychological component is real, too. Sugar releases dopamine and can increase serotonin production, a hormone that can boost your mood.
In reality, sugar isn’t any different than comfort food or a satisfying fast food meal loaded with simple carbohydrates. These carbohydrates are high on the glycemic index, meaning it takes less time to turn them into glucose. During this quicker digestion process, you may feel good in the short term, but hunger will quickly set in since sugary foods lack nutrients and leave you unsatisfied.
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Relief For The Keto Flu
If your goal is to transition to a ketogenic diet, then you will have to give your body time to adjust.
The ketogenic diet may have health benefits, especially for some people with epilepsy and other neurological disorders. If you are starting a ketogenic diet for health reasons, you may have to suffer the uncomfortable symptoms for a little while. Think of it like an actual fluyou just have to bear it. If your symptoms dont improve after three weeks, talk to your doctor.
If you are following a low-carb or keto diet for weight loss, consider altering your approach. A low-carb diet has many of the same health benefits as a keto diet, including weight loss. The only difference is that your body will not enter a state of ketosis.
Ketosis can lead to rapid weight loss, but it is usually temporary. Always consult with your healthcare provider before transitioning to a ketogenic diet.
To transition to a low-carb diet and put an end to the keto flu, all you have to do is eat some fruit. When the body has access to glucose , it no longer needs to burn fat for fuel.
Embrace A Gratitude Mindset
Its very difficult to replace a bad habit with a healthier lifestyle choice if we dont enjoy it. You can retrain your palate to enjoy healthier foods you may not have liked in the past. Get excited about feeling better and taking better care of yourself!
I find meditation to be a useful tool in changing subconscious thought patterns and breaking unwanted habits.
At the height of my unhealthy relationship with food, I thought of food in a negative way. I was so obsessed with it, that I would not even eat a banana, because it had too many carbs and too much sugar.
When I changed my perspective to understanding that food is good, beautiful, nourishing, strengthening, things changed for the better. While I no longer crave or even really enjoy sugary foods, I feel no guilt about eating a few bites of cake on a birthday, or even a double scoop of gelato on vacation. I dont believe in having any foods off-limits as we often want the things we cant have. Its the forbidden fruit syndrome.
I started to think like an athlete. Rather than dieting and exercising, I started training and eating. Can you feel the difference? The former is restrictive, while the latter empowering.
Think, know, and feel this: I feel best when I nourish my body and mind with whole foods. Sugar and processed foods make me feel sick, and Im tired of feeling sick.
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Do You Binge On Sweets
Do you tend to binge on sweets? Do you often struggle with the urge to eat more and more desserts? Is it hard for you to control yourself when you are around sugary snacks or desserts? If so, then you may be a sugar addict. You must know and recognize the fact that sugar addiction is a serious problem and one that is often glossed over. Identifying that you are a sugar addict is the first step to getting over it. One sign is your frequent urge to binge on sweets and that you can’t live without them. You can also test this by having a sugar-free day. If you cannot make do with a sugar-free day, you are probably a sugar addict and you need to see your healthcare provider or a counselor as soon as possible.
Homemade Oreos + My Thoughts On Sugar Addiction
Did you hear the news? Oreos are just as addictive as cocaine!
I was kind of shocked to find that out, actually, because its not at all my experience with Oreos. I generally feel more of a heroin-like effect when I eat them. Oh, waitthats probably because sugar is similar to heroin to the body. Yeah, it all makes sense now.
Ok, friends, I hope you know I am totally joking here. I have zero experience with either cocaine or heroin . Im going to share a recipe for Homemade Oreos with you in this post, but first I have some other things to say.
Im getting really tired of all of these this food is the equivalent of a street drug references out there . Im sick of all of the articles that scare people into thinking they are poisoning themselves if they consume cookies or anything else containing sugar, too, without any mention of context or dose.
Below are some quotes folks left on just the other day:
- Addictions are all the same! They control your life and often ruin it! Sugar is an addiction!
- Proven fact sugar addiction is as tough as heroin
- This whole country is addicted because our food manufactures add sugar to everything
- People can become addicted to simple carbs just as they can to smoking or alcohol
My intention here is not to call people out for being ignorantits to draw attention to how damaging it can be to not have correct informationto be trapped in dogma thats not evidence-based.
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Understanding Sugar’s Power Can Help To Set You Free
A friend and I were talking the other day about our addiction to sugar and fatty comfort foods .
We do so well for a while, and then somehow find ourselves back at it, eating large amounts of whatever the sweet food drug of the moment is. It’s a slippery slope we somehow find ourselves sliding down yet again.
I’ve written before about my challenges with emotional eating and have truly done so much better for many years. I get swept up by sugar cravings much more rarely and even now when I fall off the sugary treat wagon, I do it by eating large amounts of high fiber, all-natural, gluten-free, dairy-free treats.
The damage to my body is much less than in the days when my drug of choice was a cheap grocery store cake full of transfats and junk. But organic cane sugar is still sugar, and I simply can’t seem to use it in a healthy way. I end up on the same unhealthy, compulsive wagon again, albeit in a more nutritious form.
In whatever form, sugar has an unhealthy impact on my skin, my body, my moods, and my weight when I eat too much of it. I realized recently, while talking to my friend, that I need to take this issue more seriously than I ever have if I ever want to truly leave it behind.
Here are some strategies that we discussed that have been working for me:
1. Find rewards that really work.
Find ways to take care of yourself in place of sugar things that deeply nurture you without the side effects and addictions.
Find The True Rewards
For many people, foods with sugar are an emotional comfort. They are a reward after a long day, they help you relax, they make you feel good. But you must realize that this is only in your head, they are rewards learned.
Look for another series of rewards that also help you feel good without having to reach for candy or sugary foods. Some of these rewards can be a hot bath, a healthy dinner, calling a loved one, a massage at a spa, reading a book, etc.
Taking care of yourself does not mean that you should consume sugar, there are other ways without side effects and that cannot increase the risk of it becoming an addiction.
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How I Overcame Sexual Addiction
My name is Jordan, and Im a sex addict.
As soon as the words left my mouth, I felt like a total impostor.
The men and women seated around me, legs crossed and arms folded, draped over orange plastic chairs, would see right through me any second now. Even though I was staring down at the floor, I could feel their eyes burning in to me.
These people had real addictions my problems felt so entry-level by comparison. They had serious problems, not me.
I mean, sure, Id slept with countless women who I felt no emotional connection to.
Sure, Ive felt a deeply permeating sense of shame at the core of my being after compulsively acting out sexually.
The more I listened to the stories of the people around me, the more I realized that I was in the right place.
Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe
Artificial sweeteners received a bad reputation years ago for their link to cancer, but subsequent studies haven’t found a clear connection to causing cancer in humans, according to the National Cancer Institute.
With those concerns out of the way for now, the FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners for use: aspartame , acesulfame-K , neotame, saccharin and sucralose .
But just because the FDA approves their use doesn’t mean you should swap sugar for artificial sweeteners and keep the same diet. Artificial sweeteners can temporarily help by weaning you off added sugars, but long-term use could play a role in how you view foods.
Think of artificial sweeteners as a concentrated version without the calories a little goes a long way. According to Harvard Health, the sweetness from artificial additives can make you more likely to develop a sweet tooth and crave sweets even more. Plus, the psychological component can alter the way you think. For example, if you tell yourself you’re saving calories by drinking a diet soda instead of a regular soda, you may be more inclined to eat cake for dessert. In this case, you cancel out any benefits of drinking a diet soda with something full of added sugars.
Before you make any dietary changes or consider cutting sugar from your daily routine, connect with an INTEGRIS Health primary care physician to learn more about how to implement changes.
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