Symptoms Of Cutting Added Sugar From Your Diet
Cutting added sugar from your diet may lead to physical and mental symptoms.
How the body reacts to giving up sugar is different for everyone. The symptoms and their severity will depend on how much added sugar you were taking in through sweetened foods and beverages.
Some people find that their symptoms last from a few days to a couple of weeks.
As your body adapts to a low added sugar diet over time and your added sugar intake becomes less frequent , the less intense your symptoms and cravings for sugar are likely to be.
You may find that your symptoms are worse at certain times of the day, such as between meals. Stress may trigger for sugar, so you may find that your symptoms feel worse during times of stress.
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.
If You Are Hungry Eat A Healthy And Filling Meal
Its important to realize that a craving is not the same as hunger.
Its not your body calling for energy, its your brain calling for something that releases a lot of dopamine in the reward system.
When you get a craving when youre hungry, the feeling is difficult to resist.
In fact, a craving combined with hunger is a powerful drive that most people have a hard time overcoming.
If you get a craving while hungry, one of the best tricks is to eat a healthy meal immediately. Stock your kitchen with healthy snack foods or pre-made meals.
Protein-rich foods, such as meat, fish and eggs are especially good for curbing hunger .
Eating real food may not feel very appetizing when you have a craving for sugary junk food. But if you truly need to lose weight, resilience is worth it in the long run.
When you experience a craving and hunger at the same time, force yourself to have a healthy meal rather than junk food.
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Tips For Weaning Off Sugar
- The average American takes in more than twice the amount of added sugar than is recommended, according to the American Heart Association . And that can put us at increased risk for health issues like high cholesterol, depression and obesity.
- Women should have just six teaspoons, or 25 grams a day, of added sugars. And men should have nine teaspoons, or 38 grams a day, according to AHA guidelines.
It’s simple to see how easy it is to overdo added sugar when you consider that 12-ounces of cola can have 39 grams of sugar. That means just a can puts both men and women over their daily allotment.
First Steps To Freedom
- Start with eliminating all of the obvious sugars.
- Toss the candy, cakes, cookies, and all items that include high fructose corn syrup. Beginning with these makes sense since processed sugars are the worse offenders.
- Eliminate simple carbohydrates. These are the items that turn into sugar in your body quickly, bread, pasta, sodas, and fruit juices.
- Examine what fruits you are consuming. Just because they are natural sugars does not mean you get an automatic free pass. Our bodies will still react to these natural sugars by raising our insulin levels. Once our insulin is raised it causes our sugar cravings to be magnified.
- Avoid high carb root vegetables or at the very least reduce them to only occasional indulges.
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Why Dont I Overeat Bananas But I Binge On Candy
A few things are at play. First, those blood sugar spikes leave many people feeling hungry again not long after eating, which often leads to overeating.
Second, studies show that refined sugar can be addictive. One study used PET scans to look at the brain activity of obese individuals and found they are less responsive to dopamine, similar to drug addicts and alcoholics. Without that dopamine surge, people keep craving sugar long after theyve reached their limit.
The good news? Its possible to break the cycle.
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.
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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.”
Phase : Drastically Reduce Carbs
Time: 3 to 4 weeks
Why: When you reach this point, pat yourself on the back and congratulate yourself! You have eliminated the sugar-rich, empty calories from your diet. At this point, you should start to see and feel a change: you have fewer withdrawal symptoms and more energy, and there is a noticeable difference in the way that you look and feel about yourself.
While you have already reduced your intake of simple carbohydrates, like sugars from beverages, you still have to tackle complex carbohydrates, like breads, pastas, and rice. Both simple and complex carbohydrates affect your blood sugar in ways that can detract from your weight loss. If you eat them in excess, you will soon be craving other foods, often those that are high in sugar or largely consist of other carbohydrates.
Eating too many carbohydrates is like putting yourself on a roller coaster your blood sugar zooms up shortly after you eat, then goes crashing down after a short time. Before you know it, youre hungry because your body quickly digested the food youre craving more, and so the ups and downs continue. There is a way to get off of the roller-coaster ride and take control: reduce your intake of any carbohydrates that you abuse, and by abuse, we mean eating them not necessarily because you need them due to hunger, but because you want them to feel normal and to avoid the awful feelings associated with the withdrawal syndrome.
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Keep Your Immediate Environment Sugar Free
Why tempt yourself? Dont allow any sweets in your home or on your work desk as you begin overcoming your addiction. Once you have more control over your cravings, and have lowered your sugar threshold, you can decide if you can handle having sugar in your home.
Creating a temptation-free environment allows you to make healthy choices without the fight of will-power. As you may have experienced, will-power is a frequent loser, so dont rely on it to get you through your addiction.
Tips To Curb Sugar Cravings And Kick The Addiction
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 it’s 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 one’s self-control and lead to addiction.
One study out of France, presented at the 2007 annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, showed that when rats were given the choice between water sweetened with saccharin and intravenous cocaine, 94 percent chose the saccharin water. When the water was sweetened with sucrose , the same preference was observed — the rats overwhelmingly chose the sugar water. When the rats were offered larger doses of cocaine, it did not alter their preference for the saccharin or sugar water. Even rats addicted to cocaine, switched to sweetened water when given the choice. In other words, intense sweetness was more rewarding to the brain than cocaine.
Here are some tips to help you cope with sugar cravings:
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Side Effects Of Eating Too Much Sugar
While sugar is satisfying to the taste buds and the soul, the constant spikes in blood sugar and crashes that follow a binge can set off a host of effects, including fatigue, irritability, and anxious thoughts, among others, according to Sanford Health.
Blood sugar highs and lows can also perpetuate sugar cravings. When you’re consuming sugar, then you end up getting onto this whole roller-coaster ride of blood sugar dysregulation and that in and of itself can perpetuate physical stress, which then causes you to have more sugar cravings, says Dana Elia, RDN, an integrative and functional nutrition doctor in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and author of The Sugar Detox Diet for 50+.
Added sugar, which Americans tend to eat too much of, can be particularly insidious for health. According to a November 2016 study in the journal Nutrients, consuming too much can increase the risk for obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cognitive decline, and certain types of cancer.
The 20152020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting added sugar intake to a maximum of 10 percent of your daily calories. This is the equivalent of 200 calories, or 12 teaspoons , if youre eating 2,000 calories per day. One can of Coke contains about 9 tsp of sugar, for example.
This Is The Absolute Best Way To Wean Yourself Off Sugar
What better way to jump on the “get healthy” New Year’s bandwagon than cutting way down on sugar?
Yep, it seems like a no brainera diet high in the white stuff is linked to weight gain, diabetes, cancer, depression, and even cognitive problemsbut kicking the habit isn’t that simple. The holiday season has probably riled up your inner sugar monster, leaving you cranky and craving all the carbs, all the time. So how do you break up with this stuff when it’s calling your name?
With the help of Laura Schoenfeld, RD, holistic nutritionist at Ancestralize Me, and Gina Hassick, RD, nutritionist at Eating Well with Gina, we’ve outlined the most effective way to free yourself from the grips of all things frosted, candy-coated, and caramel-filled.
1) Pick a Plan That Fits Your Personality: Cold Turkey or Gradual Tapering
If strict dietary rules stress you out and being told to eliminate something makes you want it that much more, gradually tapering your sugar intake while allowing yourself treats in moderation might work better. Hassick suggests gradually diluting your sugar-sweetened drinks with more water over time adding fresh fruit to yogurts and oatmeal instead of maple syrup or honey switching from white refined grains and breads to fiber-rich whole grains and shrinking dessert portions, or only consuming dessert on certain days or occasions.
4) Don’t Rely on Artificial Sweeteners
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Also Beware Of Naturopaths
Some definitions: “dietitian” is the only term that is subject to professional requirements. Anyone can be a nutritionist. “Naturopath” is what nutritionists call themselves when they want to sound a bit more new-age than they already do. The middle term attracts the most scepticism, based on the presumption that just because your field isn’t professionally accredited, you do not know anything and you can’t process information. People make it about journalists quite a lot as well this presumption is mistaken.
That said, I interviewed lifestyle guru Carole Caplin once, and she asked me to do something the next day, and I said: “Unfortunately, tonight I’m going to get completely drunk, so I most probably won’t want to do Pilates/circuit training/zumba tomorrow.” She fixed me with a beady eye and said: “I try not to eat too much chocolate, but sometimes I go mad. The other day, I ate something like eight squares of Green & Black’s. And afterwards I felt terrible, I had a headache, the shivers, I couldn’t get out of bed. Whereas if I’d only had two squares, I’m sure my body would have coped with it.”
Here’s the thing: I’m not convinced that really happened. I think she was using chocolate as a metaphor for booze, in an attempt to find some joint language that we would both understand.
Take A Positive Attitude
If you feel like quitting sugar is going to make you miserable, you probably wont stick with your commitment to give it up. Instead, adopt a positive attitude from the get-go.
Focus on all the upsides of quitting sugar: youll have more energy, your mind will be clearer, and you wont have to deal with sweet cravings anymore. You also wont have to worry about all the scary health problems sugar can cause.
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Fight Sweet Cravings With Bitters
Bitter taste receptors arent only on your tongue theyre found throughout your digestive system and on other organs. They largely go unused if you eat a traditional Western diet, but stimulating those receptors with bitter foods and herbs positively affects hormones involved in controlling hunger and appetite, which could help keep cravings in check.
Bitter herbs and aromatic bitters are also commonly used in traditional medicine to help stabilize and maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The pancreas, which makes insulin, actually contains bitter taste receptors.
To stimulate your bitter receptors, try adding a dropperful or two of aromatic bitters on the back of your tongue before meals and at your usual snack time. In terms of other herbal therapy, many herbs such as burdock root and dandelion root are naturally bitter, having been derived from bark and roots. Some bitter herbs also help support healthy blood glucose levels, such as andrographis, Dr. Rawls says.
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.
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Phase : Maintain Your New Way Of Eating
Time: The rest of your life
Why: This is a way of eating, not a temporary diet. That means once you cut out these sugary, carb-rich foods, youll continue eating this way for the rest of your life. If you only eat this way temporarily and eventually go back to your old ways of eating, you can be certain that the addiction will rope you back in pretty quickly. The four phases just described lay the foundation for a healthy eating style that you can maintain forever. The key to achieving your goals lies in your knowledge of where sugars exist and what you can replace them with, and the consistent desire and dedication to follow what you know.
How: Remember, each phase takes time. Follow the allotted time guidelinesas a minimum. Be patient with yourself. If you find that one phase takes longer than what is listed or than you expected, thats fine! The important point is to achieve the goal of that phase, not how quickly you do it. Try to identify why certain phases are more difficult than others. This may help you to troubleshoot and figure out ways to transition through that phase that are specific to your needs. Invest the time you need it will be well worth it in the long run.