S To Cure Your Addiction To Sugar
1. Dont quit all at once
Many sources say that the most effective way to quit sugar is to cut it all out immediately. While that may work for some, slowly cutting sugar out of your diet is a much less daunting task and will help your body adapt more comfortably. You may experience fewer withdrawal symptoms this way.
For example, if you like to put four sugars into your daily coffee, you can start by reducing down to three, then two, then one, and then down to zero. If chocolate is your vice, learn to enjoy a 70% dark chocolate that has less sugar and milk. Soon, you may find that you prefer dark chocolate over the sickly sweet taste of milk chocolate.
2. Stay away from artificial sweeteners
When you put something sweet into your mouth, your body is expecting calories and will prepare to process them. So, if you swap out real sugar and ingest zero-calorie artificial sweeteners instead, youre confusing your body by giving it something sweet and yet provides zero energy. But since your body has prepared for an energy boost, your cravings will increase as your body continues to search for that energy that never came.
If the only way youll drink water is of the flavored variety, opt to add fruit and berries for flavor instead of syrups made with artificial sweeteners.
Dehydration can often be misconstrued as hunger or a craving for sugar.
3. Exercise more
4. Eat throughout the day
5. Drink water
Treat Yourself Like Youre In Detox
The first week of sugar abstinence can be uncomfortable, when the cravings are at their most powerful. Be kind to yourself: this is not the time to tackle a large project, to implement lots of changes, or to work overtime. Why do people go to a spa when theyre detoxing? Because they need extra support. Likewise, give yourself extra support.
Go to bed earlier. Take naps. Cook simple meals Use exercise to support you walking, yoga, and more. Call on others for support and encouragement.
When Rats Were Given The Choice Between Water Sweetened With Saccharin And Intravenous Cocaine 94% Chose The Saccharin Water
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% chose the saccharin water. When the water was sweetened with sucrose , the same preference was observedthe 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.
The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction to include three stages: bingeing, withdrawal and craving. Until recently, the rats had only met two of the elements of addiction, bingeing and withdrawal. But recent experiments by Princeton University scientist, Professor Bart Hoebel, and his team showed craving and relapse as well. By showing that excess sugar led not only to bingeing and withdrawal, but to cravings for sweets as well, the final critical component of addiction fell into place and completed the picture of sugar as a highly addictive substance.
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Sugar Detox Withdrawal Symptoms
Numerous studies have found that added sugars can produce changes in neurochemistry and behavior similar to those of other addictive drugs. When initially cutting out sugar after long-term use, one may experience withdrawal symptoms. Sugar detox symptoms should resolve within a few days, but may include:
Extraordinary Awakenings And The Disappearance Of Addiction
The deconditioning process is the same regardless of the food category. The idea is to slowly and methodically reduce the amount of sugar or sweetener in the foods that you eat. As you reduce, you will notice your palette changing to prefer less sweet. If you worry that you will end up doomed to a bland diet, dont. Remember, you are doing this slowly, which means that you will gradually come to prefer less sugar. Tony may have helped create your sweet tooth, but you can be the one to undo it.
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Follow The 85/15 Rule
“Make sure 85% of your meals include innately healthy foods like fresh produce, lean protein, and healthy fats. The other 15% can include some treats,” Scarlata says. “If you make certain foods forbidden, then you just crave them even more. And truthfully, I don’t think there is a need to give up sugar entirely.” A little treat here and there never hurts.
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 Types Of Food Are Addictive
Our bodies are created with an inbuilt mechanism to desire the fat, salt and sugar that are vital to our survival. The body soon recognises and wants more of these foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar because of their mood-boosting reactions on the body. Over time we eat these foods in excess and become dependent on them for the satisfaction and happy feelings they produce. Processed foods like pizzas, ice creams, French fries, cakes, bacon, cheese, sodas, cookies, chocolates, ketchup, salad dressings, breads, and burgers are just some of these addictive foods. Any food that contains added sugars can become addictive.
Dont Substitute Sugar For Sweeteners
In order to really cure sugar addiction, you should not replace it with chemically processed sweeteners you must instead remove the sugars from your diet completely.
Using substitutes will just keep you addicted to sugar and with any addictive substance you will be more likely to use sugar again if you are substituting it with artificial sweeteners.
The jury is still out, but it looks like some artificial sweeteners may actually be dangerous to your health.
They are made from chemicals that are not well known and as such, we are not entirely sure if they are safe for long term human consumption at this point.
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When To See A Doctor
If you find yoruself feeling dizzy without sugar, or having regular cravings, it’s time to call a professional, as it could indicate a deeper problem. If you are craving sweets chronically, Goodman says this may indicate that you have hypoglycemia, for instance.
Even if it’s a sign of a nutritional deficiency, a professional can help determine what you’re lacking, how much you need, and ensure the lack of the vitamin or nutrient doesn’t lead to further problems. Magnesium deficiency, for example, has been linked to everything from osteoporosis to type 2 diabetes to heart disease. . When our body doesnt have enough magnesium, it will have trouble bringing energy into the cells and thus, feel deprived and crave sugar, Fahad explains.
Treating Sugar Addiction Like Drug Abuse
- Queensland University of Technology
- Millions of people globally are overweight or obese and sugar is considered a major factor. Now a world-first game-changing study suggests drugs used to treat tobacco addiction could work for sugar addiction too.
With obesity rates on the rise worldwide and excess sugar consumption considered a direct contributor, the search has been on for treatments to reverse the trend. Now a world-first study led by QUT may have the answer.
Neuroscientist Professor Selena Bartlett from QUT’s Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation said the study, which has just been published by international research journal PLOS ONE, shows drugs used to treat nicotine addiction could be used to treat sugar addiction in animals.
The publication coincides with another paper by the team — Prolonged Consumption of Sucrose in a Binge-Like Manner, Alters the Morphology of Medium Spiny Neurons in the Nucleus Accumbens Shell — being published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. It shows that long chronic sugar intake can cause eating disorders and impact on behaviour.
“The latest World Health Organisation figures tell us 1.9 billion people worldwide are overweight, with 600 million considered obese,” said Professor Bartlett who is based at the Translational Research Institute.
“After long-term consumption, this leads to the opposite, a reduction in dopamine levels. This leads to higher consumption of sugar to get the same level of reward.
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D Accumbens Acetylcholine Release Is Delayed During Sugar Binges And Eliminated During Sham Feeding
Sham-feeding revealed interesting results with ACh. As described in Section 3.C., accumbens ACh increases in the midst of a meal when feeding slows down and then stops . One could predict that when an animal takes a very large meal, as with the first meal of a sugar solution and chow, the release of ACh should be delayed until the satiation process begins as reflected in gradual termination of the meal. This is what was observed ACh release occurred when this initial binge meal was drawing to a close .
Next we measured ACh release when the animal could take a large meal of sugar while sham feeding. Purging the stomach contents drastically reduced the release of ACh . This is predictable based on the theory that ACh is normally important for the satiation process . It also suggests that by purging, one eliminates the ACh response that opposes DA. Thus when bingeing on sugar is accompanied by purging, the behavior is reinforced by DA without ACh, which is more like taking a drug and less like normal eating.
The Relationship Between Sugar And Addiction
Every human brain has an area called the pleasure or reward centre. It is the pathway to the reward centre that reinforces certain kinds of behaviour and actions. When the brain takes on board substances that trigger the reward centre, it releases dopamine neurochemicals. Dopamine provides temporary feelings of happiness, pleasure, euphoria and satisfaction. It also influences memory and brain learning.
When you eat sugary food, the overflow of dopamine in the brain convinces you to repeat the activity that produced pleasure. Over time, the link between reinforced behaviour and euphoria develops until you need higher amounts of sugary food to feel the pleasurable effects. Once youve built tolerance, youll need to keep increasing the amount of the pleasurable substance to achieve the original sensation of exhilaration.
Note that most high carb meals are not satisfying and youll be hungry within a few hours after you finished a sugar-loaded treat. Nutrition expert, Dr Mark Hyman, posits that sugar is eight times more addictive than cocaine, as its in almost every food you consume and is very difficult to avoid.
Without reading the labels of food packets, you might be unaware of the amount of sugar in your ice cream, energy drink, coffee, pizza, cookies and other processed foods you wouldnt usually suspect. The recommended daily sugar intake is 150 calories for men and 100 calories for women.
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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.
Are Artificial Sweeteners Better
Artificial sweeteners, which are sugar-free and typically lower in calories than sugar, might seem like healthier options, but that idea is controversial. A 2012 scientific statement from the AHA concluded that using artificial sweeteners such as aspartame , saccharin , and sucralose can reduce the number of calories in your diet, thereby helping you lose weight.
However, there’s also evidence that eating these sweeteners, which are generally hundredsor even thousandsof times sweeter than sugar, can make you crave sweets even more. You undermine the benefit of using artificial sweeteners, for example, if you use a glass of diet soda to justify having a bowl of ice cream.
However, if artificial sweeteners can help you cut back on calories in a meaningful way, then they can be helpful in controlling weight and blood sugar. “For people who are trying to make small changes to their diet, artificial sweeteners are sometimes a good stepping stone, but they’re not a permanent fix,” Dr. Hauser says.
You may wonder which artificial sweetener is best. All of the sweeteners on the market are considered safe. There were reports during the 1970s linking saccharin to bladder cancer in rats that were fed extremely high doses of the sweetener. However, later studies didn’t find any evidence of the same effect in humans. Aspartame was also linked to cancer at one time, but that association has also been disproved.
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A Bingeing: Escalation Of Daily Sugar Intake And Large Meals
The behavioral findings with sugar are similar to those observed with drugs of abuse. Rats fed daily intermittent sugar and chow escalate their sugar intake and increase their intake during the first hour of daily access, which we define as a binge . The animals with ad libitum access to a sugar solution tend to drink it throughout the day, including their inactive period. Both groups increase their overall intake, but the limited-access animals consume as much sugar in 12 h as ad libitum-fed animals do in 24 h. Detailed meal pattern analysis using operant conditioning reveals that the limited animals consume a large meal of sugar at the onset of access, and larger, fewer meals of sugar throughout the access period, compared with animals drinking sugar ad libitum . Rats fed Daily Intermittent Sugar and Chow regulate their caloric intake by decreasing their chow intake to compensate for the extra calories obtained from sugar, which results in a normal body weight .
Adjust Your Sugar Baseline
The craving for sweet flavors is, in many cases, linked to the flavor baseline we set. If we frequently sweeten hot beverages or even fruits, that raises the bar for considering something sweet. At the same time, after depriving oneself of the sugar and sweet fruits for several weeks, even tomatoes and peppers may taste sweet, setting a new standard for the palate.
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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.
Best Ways To Beat Sugar Addiction
It is completely achievable to beat any addiction, including one to sugar. This is despite certain addiction myths that are frequently heard.
These include such as only a certain type of person is at risk of addiction or all it takes is willpower to quit an addiction.
Rather than willpower, stopping an addiction and staying stopped is much more to do with looking into why the forceful urge to use is there in the first place. Under the guidance of a professional expert anyone addicted to anything can work through a structured process that will enable them to stop being dependent.
One major difficulty with sugar addiction is that unlike addictions to such as alcohol, gambling or drugs you cannot totally quit. We need food and drink.
So its useful to learn which foods and drinks contain the most sugar. Its also important to know that food, especially sugar, is often used as a short-term fix for emotional issues.
For instance, many people suffering from such as anxiety or depression will try to make themselves feel better by abusing sugar. It is never an effective solution.
Many who quit sugar find at first that they have withdrawal symptoms. These include changeable moods, irritability, low energy and mind fogginess.
Consequently, for some people its more beneficial to slowly lessen their sugar intake. After careful listening, a therapist can guide each individual.
Some ways to cut down and quit include:
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