Dr Frank Lipman On Sugar
As a serious sugar addict still struggling with my addiction I know first hand how difficult it is to get off sugar, and to stay off it. Part of the reason its so hard to kick the habit is that over time our brains actually become addicted to the natural opioids that are triggered by sugar consumption. Much like the classic drugs of abuse such as cocaine, alcohol and nicotine, a diet loaded with sugar can generate excessive reward signals in the brain which can override ones self-control and lead to addiction.
Detox To Help With Addictions
Stopping sugar addiction will improve your health significantly. It will also help with other addictions, like caffeine and alcohol. You can really help your body give up sugar, caffeine, and alcohol by detoxing your body and drinking lots of water. Water and supplements will help diminish the die-off effect by bringing the toxins created by the bacteria out of your body. Saunas and Epsom salt baths help with the detoxification process as well. And did I mention, drink more water?! Minimum of 11 cups for women and 15 cups for men of pure clean water. You can read more about drinking water here. Read more about detoxification through drinking water here. Children have the same water requirements. Make sure to calculate it for their weight and activity level.
How To Fix A Sugar Addiction
- Eat regularly. Eat three meals and two snacks or five small meals a day. For many people, if they dont eat regularly, their blood sugar levels drop, they feel hungry, and are more likely to crave sweet sugary snacks.
- Choose whole foods. The closer a food is to its original form, the less processed sugar it will contain. Food in its natural form, including fruits and vegetables, usually presents no metabolic problems for a normal body, especially when consumed in variety.
- Have a breakfast of protein, fat and phytonutrients to start your day off right.Breakfast smoothies are ideal for this. The typical breakfast full of carbs and sugary or starchy foods is the worst option since youll have cravings all day. Eating a good breakfast is essential to prevent sugar cravings.
- Try to incorporate protein and/or fat with each meal. This helps control blood sugar levels. Make sure they are healthy sources of each.
- Add spices. Coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.
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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!
Give Into Your Craving Then Move On
“If a craving for something sweet like a piece of chocolate or a scoop of ice cream persists, just have it,” says Jessica Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN, and author of 52-Week Meal Planner. “Trying to satisfy cravings with other ‘healthier’ foods or restricting yourself from having a food you’re craving often leads to overeating. As is often said, the forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.” So, eat your piece of cake, don’t feel bad, and then move on.
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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.
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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Gradual Vs Cold Turkey
I bet you are wondering, is it better to quit sugar gradually or cold turkey?
Well, the answer is, it really depends on you. Some people prefer a gradual process, while others find doing abrupt changes more effective. So, it is up to you to figure out what works for you.
Gradually reducing your sugar consumption
Instead of eating a big slice of cake after every meal, try reducing it to half a slice. Then once you are used to half a slice, decrease it to a quarter of a slice until you are no longer feeling the intense craving to eat more sweets than what your body actually needs.
This method is especially great if youve already tried going cold turkey but failed. If youve already tried sudden withdrawal and you noticed that you tend to yo-yo when you do, then try the gradual method instead!
If you think going cold turkey will best work for you then you must do it right. Clean out your pantry and your fridge!
Like what they say out of sight, out of mind.
Steer clear of your favorite ice cream shop before going home from work, and make sure to keep yourself fed. Avoid feeling hungry, at least for the first few weeks. Since the hunger might intensify the cravings. Hunger most often than not results in binge eating.
Tip for going cold turkey: If you find yourself suddenly craving sugar, try to distract yourself with an activity.
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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So Why Do I Crave Sweets
So why do we crave sugar if its bad for us? When we eat sugar, dopamine levels surge. Dopamine is associated with the pleasure and reward center in our brains. These dopamine bursts helped us survive over the course of history they drive us toward things like food, water, and sex, all of which keep the human race going.
The problem is, this dopamine response occurs whether you eat a banana or a candy bar. Our primate brains cant tell the difference.
Keep Your Meals Diverse
Make sure you incorporate all food groups when you prepare a meal. According to Nutrition Stripped founder, McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN, people don’t realize they’re what they’re missing in their meals and it could be detrimental. “I’ve found in my practice that often people crave sugar because of generally imbalanced diet as a whole,” she says. “At mealtimes, they might be missing out on enough fiber to keep them physically full or can be lacking enough protein to keep them satiated, or enough healthy fats. All the macronutrients work together to keep our blood sugars stabilized and keep us satiated so we need them all.”
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Sugar Addiction Is Destroying Your Health
Sugar is one of the hardest ingredients to give up. The bacteria that feed off sugar inside the body releases chemicals into the brain to crave sweets. When we stop eating sugar, the bacteria start to die off. And even more of those chemicals are released in the process. That is why to beat sugar addiction you need to:
- Start slow. It is easier to give up sugar by gradually reducing the amount of sugar over time.
- Read the labels carefully. Sugar is hiding under so many names. See the list above.
- Drink a glass of water every time you crave something sweet. Alkaline water will make the process easier because it will neutralize the toxic-acidic environments from all the bacteria and yeasts begging for food.
- It is not easy, but it is a battle worth fighting!
Sugar Withdrawal And Detox Symptoms
When people quit this substance, physiological changes occur. Within hours the hormonal levels change. The levels of insulin will start to decrease, allowing the body to access stored fats to burn for energy. After a few days, lipid levels start to drop, especially triglycerides. Over a prolonged period, palate changes, and things that used to taste normal later taste unpleasantly sweet, and palate adjust to require a lot less of it to feel satisfied. These are some of the benefits one will experience after quitting this substance but not before going through a withdrawal phase.
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You Try To Quit And Have Unusual Symptoms
Sugar addiction can be both a behavioral addictionyou get used to eating sugar after meals or at certain times of the dayand it can also be a chemical addiction. When you quit or interrupt your normal schedule, your body may show signs of distress or withdrawal. Quitting sugar too abruptly can cause your body to have withdrawal symptoms, says Adam Kadela, founder of Dexafit.
Some of the most common sugar addiction symptoms may include headaches, lethargy or feeling tired, cravings, muscle pain, nausea, bloating and even insomnia. In most cases, these symptoms intensify after 24 hours. The best way to give up sugar is slowly, by cutting back a little at a time. Here is what happens when you try to give up sugar for a month.
Sugar Addiction Or Dependency
There is no doubt that for the majority of people, sugar can cause addiction-like symptoms. Obsessing over sugar, being unable to moderate your intake, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms without it are all good markers that you have an addictive pattern with sugar consumption.
Sugar consumption, like that of all hyperpalatable foods, triggers our brains reward system. A release of dopamine and a rise in serotonin associates these foods with pleasure, and rewires our brain to crave more of them to continue releasing dopamine.
Quitting sugar is sometimes more than breaking a habit or a matter of willpower it is breaking an addiction.
Sugar addiction is more comparable to that of nicotine or caffeine addiction that that of a drug addiction. Others think that sugar addiction is a psychological addiction rather than a physical addition. However, that doesnt decrease the significance of the addiction or dependency.
Please note, that with any sort of addiction or dependency, its important that you work with a professional healthcare or mental health provider. The information in this article gives an overview of how to break a sugar addiction, but its always best to consult with your provider to develop a plan for your individual situation.
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Pair Fruit With Protein
Pairing fruit with a protein will calm your craving and the protein-packed ingredients will keep you feeling satisfied longer. Kathy Siegel, MS, RDN, CDN New York-based registered dietitian and nutrition consultant for Triad to Wellness suggests trying a banana dipped in natural peanut butter, mandarin oranges, toasted almonds and cottage cheese or a smoothie made with berries, a banana, milk and ice.
Why Sugar Addiction Is So Prevalent
Despite health warnings asking people to cut back on their intake, sugar makes up a third of your daily calorie intake. Researchers at Yale University revealed that eating bad carbohydrates leads to low blood sugar and affects impulse control in the brain. Some individuals might argue that sugar is not bad, because its natural. However, that only rings true for certain naturally-occurring sugars that provide nutrients and vitamins.
There is no dietary requirement for sugar in the body. You need protein and healthy fat more than you do carbohydrates. Excess sugar consumption has been blamed as the cause of developmental issues in children and the current obesity crisis in the US.
Dependence creates the need for more sugar. You wont become fat overnight, lose bone density or develop heart problems immediately, but the harmful effects happen over a long period of time, which make it even more dangerous.
When you eat sugar, your body and brain crave more sugar your blood sugar level spikes as dopamine is released in the brain hunger and cravings set in, reinforcing the need to eat more sugary food and blood sugar levels fall. This leads your body to crave another sugar high to increase blood sugar levels and induce the feeling of pleasure. This cycle of addiction explains how difficult it is to give up sugar and the grasp it has on your life.
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What Happens After One Quits Sugar
Within hours after stopping sugar consumption, a bodys hormone levels will change. The insulin levels will start to decrease and allow the body to burn stored fats for energy. After a few days, lipid and triglyceride levels will drop, and taste buds will crave less sucrose to feel satisfied. However, one may suffer from many of the side effects listed above. Since the addiction is more mental than physical, it is not out of place to ask, is sugar a drug? Those who are addicted to sugar may suffer health problems, but it is not a controlled substance and does not alter cognitive abilities hence, it cannot be referred to as a drug.
There are cases where individuals who realize that they have a sweetener problem seek counseling on how to stop eating sugar. The following are simple techniques on how to stop eating sugar.
How To Beat Your Sugar Addiction
In this article:
Most people have a heightened preference for sweet taste it is in their genetic makeup, it ensures survival, and it is the first taste they are exposed to when they are born, through their mothers milk.
However, some people claim that they are addicted to sugar and that their desire for sweets is so strong it is almost impossible to overcome.
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Main Sources Of Sugar In Our Diet
According to the NHS, sugar should only make up 5% of your total calorie intake. Figures from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey reveal that children aged 11-18 get 15% of their daily calories from added sugar. All sugar is the same, so the term healthy sugar is a fallacy. You need to read the labels on food packaging to compare products, choosing those with the lowest sugar content. Names of sugar on food labels include:
- Maple syrup
- Invert sugar