Depression And Sugar Addiction
When someone ingests sugar, they receive an increase in serotonin in their system. This temporarily makes them feel, for lack of a better word, happy. This false or externally driven increase of serotonin not only contributes to addiction but also affects the way that the brain naturally releases serotonin. In the long run, this can create a scenario where an individual will actually experience depression if they do not have sugar, or if they have a pre-existing issue with depression it can worsen it.
Why Is Sugar Addiction A Problem
Sugar is marketed everywhere. You cant watch a movie or a TV show or even walk down the street without seeing sugar being advertised somewhere. Its all around us and the idea only continues to grow.
Sugar in itself is not a problem. Overconsumption is the problem.
Humans that overeat sugary foods have been shown to have links to obesity and those conditions linked to it. This includes heart issues.
In addition, overconsumption can be carried from childhood into adulthood easily. Since many advertisements are targeted towards children, this seems to be no problem as children develop more sugary eating habits.
Sugar plays a major role in obesity all around the world, but it has made a great impact on North America. Sugar seems to be a default addition to all kinds of food for North Americans. Even those foods that are supposed to be savory are becoming sugary.
The worst part of this is that it is such a recurring cycle. The more you eat, the more you want. The more you want, the more you eat.
The cycle continues and continues for so many Americans and others around the world. Its time to break the cycle.
Reach For Dark Chocolate
Cocoa is a rich source of antioxidants and minerals, and out of all chocolates, dark chocolate has the highest percent of cocoa.
Compounds from cocoa found in dark chocolate can help raise good cholesterol and improve blood flow .
Eating about an 1-1.5 ounce serving of dark chocolate most days a week in place of other sweets can help you get the health benefits of cocoa without drastically increasing calorie intake.
Research from University of Copenhagen also suggests dark chocolate could help reduce cravings for other snacks.
Keep your intake of dark chocolate in moderation. Eating a whole chocolate bar in one serving isnt recommended keep your intake to around an ounce to an ounce and a half.
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Craving Sugar Your Body Is Probably Lacking This Nutrient
In This Article
Like most people who think about food constantly, I take snacking very seriously. Growing up, Id gravitate toward salty and crunchythe crisp bite of a Lays potato chip or whatever those disturbingly orange, peanut butterfilled biscuits were. Lately, however, Ive noticed my salt tooth taking a decidedly sweeter turn, and its baffled me to no end. Suddenly Im craving chocolate, doughnuts, candy, those green Haribo frog gummies that are inexplicably peach-flavored The list goes on. Surely this must mean something about the inner workings of my body.
This cant be a good thing, right? According to research, sugar is said to be as addictive as some street drugs, with similar effects on the brain. Excess sugar consumption may also lead to cavities, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and a slew of other health problems. Knowing all of this, I was determined to stop eating sugarbut each day, Id get tempted by a new sweet delicacy and thus, fall off the wagon . Why cant I quit something thats so clearly bad for my health, my brain, and my body? All around me, my fellow sugar worshippers bemoan the same question, all while stuffing more chewy morsels of Momofuku birthday cake into their mouths. I was determined to get to the root of the issue, and consulted two top nutritionists to help me find out what my sugar cravings mean, and hopefully, quell them.
Meet the Expert
Do Sugar Detox Diets Work
Can you beat your sugar habit by quitting cold turkey? Some sugar detox plans urge you to avoid all sweets. That means all fruit, dairy, and refined grains. The idea is to purge your system of sugar. Diet changes like this are too drastic to keep up. Changes that you can do only for the short term mean you’ll fall back to your old habits.
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What Can Your Sugar Cravings Say About Your Health
As discussed above, a sugar craving could mean that your body is lacking a vitamin or nutrient, or that your blood sugar levels are off.
Registered dietitian Farah Fahad recommends adding more protein to your meals, so your blood sugar levels dont drop. The body is a well-built machine, and if you are not giving it the right foods, it will say, Give me sugar! she explains. It wants energy for all the thousands of biological processes that are happening.
How To Beat Sugar Cravings
Eating more real food.
I cant stress this one enough. It was so important in helping me overcome my sugar addiction. It also encouraged me take a good, hard, honest look at the way I was eating and, ultimately, it helped me clean up my diet.
I realized that when I overdid it on sweets, I hadnt eaten much real food. For me, this means something with substance, like meat, fish, eggs, beans, Greek yogurt, avocado, cheese, nut butter, etc. I also realized I was eating a ton of carbs and not enough protein and healthy fats. Sure, I was eating plenty of whole grains, fruits, veggies, and other nutritious foods, but I always wanted something more to eat. This meant I wasnt fully satisfied, and Id go straight for the sweet stuff. When I started to increase the amount of real food in my diet, it was much easier to control my cravings. A little tip: Aim to eat at least two different servings of veggies with every meal. It really helps with satiety!
If I craved something sweet after I finished eating a meal, Id go back for a second serving. Usually, it was just a small portion, but I figured if I was craving something more to eat, it should be something nutritious and not sugar. Once I felt full from the second serving, I rarely wanted dessert. And if I did, a bite or two usually did the trick. I felt satisfied and in control of my cravings, so it wasnt difficult to stop eating sweets once I started.
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Foods That Curb Sugar Cravings
Filling my kitchen with my favorite healthy-sweet foods.
And Im not just talking about bananas! I fill my kitchen with raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mangos. You know, all of the expensive fruit that I love so much. I figure if Im spending the money on these pricey fruits, I wont let them go to waste . Theyll be the first thing I go for when a craving for something sweet strikes. One of my favorite snacks is microwaving fresh berries with a scoop of nut butter and then mixing it all up into a messy delicious mess!
Ok, youre probably thinking: Fruit is not dessert. I totally agree, and I wont tell you eating a bunch of strawberries is better than eating a Funfetti cake pop. Clearly, you cant compare these two things within the same dessert category. But, I discovered if I paired fruit with a more substantial food, it often satisfied my sweet craving. My favorite combos: sliced banana with almond butter, fresh berries with Greek yogurt, Adora disks dipped into peanut butter, or fruit smoothies with protein powder mixed it. Additionally, sweet potato wedges + peanut butter is an amazingly satisfying sweet snack. For added sweetness, Ill sometimes add cinnamon, shredded coconut, and/or raisins.
How To Beat A Sugar Addiction
Breaking a sugar addiction begins with reducing the amount of added sugar that you have in your food. Sweetened beverages are one of the main culprits, including sodas, energy drinks, and sweet iced tea. Opt for the sugar-free versions of your favorite drinks, or add sweetener yourself, gradually reducing the amount youre putting in your drink. Also consider reducing the amount of alcohol you drink. Beer and wine have a lot of sugar in them, too.
You may also like water with a few flavor drops added in. When you become dehydrated, its easier to cave and say yes to sugar. However, switching to foods and drinks with artificial sweeteners may delay the amount of time it takes to kick a sugar addiction.
Opt for the sugar-free versions of your favorite drinks, or add sweetener yourself, gradually reducing the amount youre putting in your drink. Also consider reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.
You can also stop buying desserts and sweet treats. If you think youll have a hard time moderating how many cookies or pieces of candy youll eat, simply stop bringing it into the house. If others in your family are asking for treats, ask them for their cooperation in helping you beat your sugar addiction. Or, you can buy small packages of your favorites instead of a large family-sized container.
When you feel a sugar craving coming on, try to do something to distract yourself. Exercise is a natural mood booster and can help take your mind off the craving for a sweet treat.
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Why We Crave Sugar And How To Beat The Habit
It is the end of January, and Instagram is bursting with self-effacing pictures of people who swore off sugar at the beginning of the month, only to fail. My boys both decided to cut back on the sweet stuff that became commonplace over the holidays, but they too are struggling. The soda they drank every time we went to a party, the leftover pie that seemed bottomless and the Pop Tarts I bought as part of my resolution to rethink restriction continue to call their names. Why is sugar so powerful, and how can we beat it?
Sugar has been shown to have an effect on the brain similar to that of an addictive drug. In fact, quickly removing it from your diet can cause withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, depression, headaches and muscle aches. No wonder it isn’t easy to quit.
Not easy, but not impossible, although there are a few questions to answer before weaning yourself off sugar. First, is your blood sugar unbalanced? Next, are you getting enough of the right nutrients? Last, do you sleep enough, and are you able to manage stress? The answers to those questions will help you figure out what, specifically, you need to address to beat sugar successfully. And there are some additional hacks that can help anyone trying to tame their sweet tooth.
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Healthy Hacks To Beat Sugar Cravings
7 Healthy Hacks To Beat Sugar Cravings 7 Healthy Hacks To Beat Sugar Cravings
As a holistic nutritionist with cravings just like everyone else, Ive developed an arsenal of tactics to conquer them. Controlling stress levels, getting seven to nine hours of quality uninterrupted sleep, burst training or even walking, and getting the right nutrients all do wonders to knock the worst sweet-tooth hankering out of the water.
Yet even with the best of intentions, sliding into momentary high-sugar-impact bliss becomes all too easy, and the repercussions of that show up around your waistline while destroying your health.
During times when those cravings hit, try these strategies. They’ve helped me stay on track and I think they could help you, too.
1. Try this rock star amino acid.
Meet glutamine, an amino acid that helps balance blood sugar and reduces your sugar cravings. Youll find this multitasking amino acid in capsules or powder, which can easily be blended into your protein shake or water.
2. Opt for sour over sweet.
When you retrain your taste buds, you become more sugar-sensitive but also appreciate other flavors like sour foods. Sour food can help to reduce sugar cravings and provide probiotics, which support digestive health. Sour dill pickles, anyone?
3. Go savory.
4. Eat more protein.
5. Aim for 50 grams of fiber every day.
6. Put some cinnamon in your coffee.
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How To Detox From Sugar
Overcoming sugar addiction is part physical and part psychological. Id say the psychological element is the most difficult, and in order to move beyond it you must change your subconscious feelings about food. Lets take a look at how you can take care of your body and mind during your sugar detox.
Add Spices To Your Meals And Snacks
To help avoid sugar crashes and cravings, add spices like cinnamon to your meals and snacks. Try banana, peanut butter and cinnamon on toast, vegetable curry with Indian spices, and baked pear with cinnamon and nutmeg.
“Cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg have shown some promise in improving blood sugar control, especially in people with poorly controlled diabetes,” Clark said.
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Swap Sugary Junk Food For Naturally
Instead of store-bought sugary food, make your own banana-sweetened muffins or loaf, colourful fruit salad, or homemade ice cream by blending frozen bananas with a splash of milk. Or try these seven easy, healthy desserts.
“Bake with overripe mashed bananas or unsweetened apple sauce,” Clark said. “You could also snack on a few Medjool dates, which are not only naturally sweet but also contain fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.”
While fruit does contain sugar, it also comes with fibre, which is the way to make sugar safe for our bodies.
Is Sugar Addiction Real
Imagine an alien came down to Earth to do a survey for the intergalactic community. What would he report back?
All humans, whether young or old, consume copious amounts of a substance that is slowly killing them. They put it in their food, they put it in their drink, they advertise it on the small square box in their living rooms. They know its bad for them, yet they cant seem to stopwe must never let this reach our planet!
The truth is, sugar addiction is very real. It has a similar chemical affect on our brains as recreational drugs, such as heroin, do. Every time you consume sugar, the pleasure centers in your brain reward you with a little dopamine hit.
But you dont need science to prove that to you. How often when youre feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, do you reach out for some Ben & Jerrys Ice Cream? Sugar makes you feel good, which is why cravings can be even more difficult to kick.
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Eat Fruits When You Crave Something Sweet
Beating sugar addiction doesnt have to mean you will never eat ANYTHING sweet ever again.
There are naturally sweet foods that can fit into a healthy eating plan.
Fruits are naturally sweet but also provide fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants unlike most sugary sweets that have zero nutritional value.
Eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables may help lower risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke and offer protection against certain cancers.
Eating fruit in place of other sweets can offer health benefits and lower your calorie intake.
Keep in mind fruit juice affects the body different than whole fruit. Choose whole fruit over juice options.
Get creative with fruit by making whole fruit smoothies, banana ice cream or freezing grapes for a cold treat.
Get On A Good Sleep Cycle
The benefits of a good nights sleep are innumerable: improved immune system, better metabolic functioning, and overall increase in energy and mental clarityjust to name a few.
But studies have long linked sleep patterns with certain cravings, and because we often attribute sleep deprivation to stress, guess what we reach for as relief? Yep, sugar.
John Douillard writes for his LifeSpa newsletter: When under stress, the adrenals go shopping for energy. Their favorite stop is the pancreas, where stress generates insatiable cravings for sweets to create the energy the adrenals can no longer provide.
The human body is designed to burn protein-derived fat throughout the course of the day and into the night, as healthy fat burns at a slow, steady rate that can sustain it for long periods at a timedefinitely during a good nights sleep.
Sugar and carbs, however, burn much more quickly, and for those who consume more of the latter than former, long periods of sustainable sleep are next to impossible, resulting in a kind of cyclical sleep-sugar dependence.
A diet high in protein, combined with at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night, means your body is burning healthy fuel, eliminating the need for middle-of-the-night and morning sugar fixes.
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Cover The Essential Nutrients
Protein and fat are crucial to kicking a sugar habit. Unlike sugar, healthy fats and protein provide slow and steady forms of energy, more like a flat, newly paved road rather than that glucose-flavored roller coaster. When your body doesn’t find sugar for fuel, it turns to fats, so eating plenty of healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil can help your body adjust to getting its energy elsewhere. Protein helps you feel satiated, which can reduce hunger and cravings, and many of the amino acids in protein help build the brain chemicals â such as dopamine â that make us feel good. When we feel balanced and energized, we are less likely to seek a sugar high.
Other important nutrients while trying to wean yourself from sugar include fiber, which slows digestion and stabilizes blood sugar iron, which when depleted can cause low energy and cravings and the energizing B vitamins, which are often depleted by sugar consumption and stress.