Sugar Addiction And Alcoholism
There is a surprising genetic link between children of parents who abuse alcohol and sugar addiction. A recent study confirmed dopamine receptors in the brain light up when sugar is consumed, similar to the receptors lighting up in the brain of someone who abuses alcohol. This can encourage people who struggle with sweets to develop alcoholism.
Alcohol-dependent individuals have a higher preference for sweets and experience sugar cravings and sugar withdrawals. The genes in parents who abuse alcohol, as well as their preference for sugar, can be passed down to their children. As a result, the child may have a predisposition to both of these compulsions.
How To Stop Sugar Cravings
The sweet taste of sugar from ice cream, candy, cola, and even breakfast cereals seems to dance on the tongue, oftentimes leaving one craving more.
Studies have found that sugar is addictive, and people who are addicted to sugar even experience withdrawal symptoms such as depression and mood swings when they try to cut it out of their diets completely.
This can be problematic for people with diabetes, who by definition cannot properly metabolize sugar and must manage their cravings for optimum blood sugar control.
This article will outline the ways to stop your sugar cravings and kick the habit for good!
Sugar Cravings: 4 Reasons They Happen And How To Stop Them
Sugar cravings are the worst.
Its like a little army of meanies grab hold of you and torture you until you feed them jellybeans, right?
Give into this craving too often and you might be setting yourself up for a slew of negative health outcomes. All that extra sugar can lead to higher caloric intake and contribute to chronic inflammation.
In a randomized controlled trialof 29 healthy young men, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption increased inflammatory blood markers in just three weeks. On the flipside, data from a national U.S. cohortstudyfound that reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption correlated with a reduction of inflammatory and chronic disease biomarkers. Given this research, its not surprising that excess sugar consumption is linked to an increased risk of conditions such asheart disease, cancer, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.
Yet, sugar cravings can still be so hard to resist.
Sugar cravings affect everyonemyself and Natalie Jill included. Clients ask both of us about this quite often, so we thought wed explain why they happen and what you can doto fight them.
The key to dealing with sugar cravings is to start with understanding why youre getting them in the first place.
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What Happens When You Stop Eating Sugar
Withdrawal symptoms may be caused by the biochemical reaction within your body when you stop eating sugar . Symptoms include: bloating, fatigue, headaches, cramps, nausea, and cravings. How long these symptoms last varies enormously for everyone. Once these withdrawal symptoms end, you should start to feel full of vitality and motivation.
Removing sugar reduces glucose and insulin spikes. It also has a massive anti-aging effect, both within your body, and on your skin. Foggy thinking and sadness may be alleviated. Again, this shift in mood is related to no longer suffering the highs and lows of blood sugar. Your hormones, immunity, gut, cholesterol, sleep, heart, brain and liver health will be in much better shape.
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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Youve Created A Bad Habit
If you constantly crave a cookie with your morning coffee or always need dessert following dinner, it might be because youve built this habit into your lifestyle. Like others who bite their fingernails subconsciously, you might be snacking on sweet treats without even realizing it. We can blame our caudate nucleus in our brain for this. Its responsible for forming new habits , which then become conditioned responses.
But whether youre conscious or not, its still not doing you any good. Want to know if you need to break a bad habit? Ask yourself the questions: Are you even aware youre doing it? Do you really want to be doing it? Are you truly craving what youre eating?
Addiction To Sugar Is Real
If you are wondering if sugar addiction is a real problem, just talk to someone who has been overconsuming carbs and theyll tell you that saying no to sugar can be extremely difficult.
That once you trigger that area of the brain that rewards you for your sugary choice that its as if you have no control to say no.
But whats happening? Why is it that its difficult to just step away from high-carb foods? Well, its because our bodies are reacting in a physical way to the hidden sugars.
There are true physiological changes occurring in our brains every time we say yes to these foods. Each time we choose to indulge we reinforce the need for more.
If thats not enough, the pleasure areas of our brains are also very close to our pain centers, which can explain why withdrawal from sugar can be so painful.
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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.
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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How To Fight Sugar Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms
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When you first embark on eliminating added sugar from your diet, youre going to experience some withdrawal symptoms especially if some of your sugary treats included caffeine..
You dont want to use a bunch of fake things to sub for sugar, so its best to try to get over each symptom you have.
Depression If you notice after giving up added sugar youre feeling depressed, ensure that you are eating some natural sugars like those found in fruit and veggies. You dont want to have zero carbohydrates. Carbohydrates make you feel good. Just eat them without added sugar, oil and fat.
A headache This is more than likely caused from drinking less caffeine. But, if you do find that youre getting headaches, check your hydration. If you were used to sugary drinks, it can be hard to drink plain water. But, its imperative that you drink enough each day.
How To Beat Sugar Addiction & Cravings: 10 Tips
Cravings for sugar can throw off your plan to eat healthier or lose weight. This article includes ten ways to beat the dependency and addiction on added sugars and how to get rid of the cravings for good.
Sugar plays a huge role in our lives. Added sugars are present in most processed foods and restaurant meals, even ones that dont seem sweet.
If youre youre eating a lot of packaged foods and not reading labels, youre probably over-consuming sugar. Even if youre eating a healthy diet, you can still may have an issue with sugar dependency and cravings.
The problem is that it can very extremely hard to avoid the cravings for sugar, especially if youve been eating a lot of it. This article shares some of the long-term strategies from breaking the sugar dependency cycle and getting rid of the cravings.
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Sugar Free In Just One Month
If you know youre ready to put sugar behind you for good then check out our successful challenge and all the folks that have succeeded in removing sugar from their life right here
When was the last time you went a day without sugar? Most likely, you have never even thought about that until the question was just posed to you. It is apparent that sugar has slowly and quietly become Americas leading addiction. So much so that a majority of the foods that we eat contain sugar in one form or another and most of us arent even aware of it.
With all of that said, what exactly is sugar addiction and how do you know if you are addicted to sugar?
Like any other addictive substance, sugar affects the pathways in the brain, which in time cause dependence and addiction. In fact, studies have shown that sugar actually activates opiate receptors. In addition, it also affects the reward center in the brain. This, in turn, can produce compulsive and addictive behaviors similar to that of traditional drug or alcohol abuse.
Individuals who suffer from a sugar addiction will find themselves compelled to eat sugary foods or drinks even if they do not want to, are full, or are attempting to eat healthier. If you want to stop eating sugar, it is not simply a matter of an individual enjoying the sweet taste of these foods. Instead, it stems from an addiction, the brain, and the bodys cravings for sugar.
How To Stop Sugar Cravings: 5 Tips For The Long Term
One of the best ways to manage sugar cravings is to stop them before they start. To help you do that:
- Skip artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners may sound like a great idea, but “they dont lessen cravings for sugar and havent demonstrated a positive effect on our obesity epidemic,” says Grotto, author of 101 Foods That Could Save Your Life.
- Reward yourself for successfully managing sugar cravings. Your reward could be large or small. Remember why youre working on it and then reward yourself for each successful step.
- Slow down. For one week, focus on your sugar cravings and think about what youre eating, suggests Chambers. Diet mayhem often results from lack of planning. So slow down, plan, “and eat what you intend to eat, instead of eating when youre desperate,” Chambers says.
- Get support. Many people turn to sweet foods when they’re stressed, depressed, or angry. But food doesn’t solve emotional issues. Consider whether emotions are involved in your sugar cravings and whether you need help to find other solutions to those emotional problems.
- Mix it up. You may need more than one strategy to thwart sugar cravings. One week you may find success with one tactic, and another week calls for an alternative approach. Whats important is to have a bag of tricks to try, Gerbstadt tells WebMD. To tame sugar cravings, you really need to “figure out what works for you,” Neville says.
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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.
How To Break The Sugar Habit
Our sugar-laden diet is literally killing us. That’s the conclusion of a study reported at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in March 2013. The study authors attributed 180,000 annual deaths worldwide25,000 in the United States aloneto sugary beverages. Sodas and fruit drinks aren’t our only sources of sugar. The average American eats between 22 and 30 teaspoons of added sugar each day, according to the AHA.
“The harmful effects of sugar are primarily due to the weight gain from added sugar in the foods we eat and sugar-sweetened beverages,” says Dr. Michelle Hauser, certified chef and nutrition educator and clinical fellow in medicine at Harvard Medical School. “Most of the deaths are related to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.”
How much sugar do we actually need? According to AHA guidelines, women shouldn’t get more than 100 of our daily calories from added sugar. In reality, “you don’t need any added sugar,” Dr. Hauser says.
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Consider A Sugar Detox
A sugar detox can mean anything from cutting it out completely to phasing it out slowly. Another type of sugar detox might mean avoiding added sugars, but still allowing for natural sugars from fruits.
The bottom line is that you should make a plan for what kind of sugar detox is best for your lifestyle and health needs. Learn more about how to do a sugar detox.
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.
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S To Kick Your Sugar Addiction
Today, I want to share with you my secrets to reduce sugar cravings and food cravings so you can kick sugar addiction. This is a chronic problem in America today. In fact, I would say the No. 1 cause of people falling off diets and something that stops or even reverses weight loss efforts is when people have cravings.
Lets be honest. A lot of people know what they should eat. We should eat more vegetables. We should eat more fruit. We should eat organic. But a lot of times when Ive asked patients over the years, Why could you not stick with a diet before? they would say, Because of the cravings. I started craving sugar so much.
There Is Hope For You
Change begins with realizing that there is a problem with ones sugar addiction. Modifying ones diet and practicing self-control can help, but going cold turkey isnt ideal. Someone with a sugar addiction, especially if they have another substance abuse disorder or a co-occurring mental health condition, will likely have difficulty in ridding themselves of cravings. If you or someone you know has a sugar addiction, especially if complicating factors are present, please contact a treatment provider today to find out more about your options.
Deborah Montross Nagel
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
Deborah has a Masters Degree from Lesley University and has been certified as an Addictions Counselor in PA since 1986. She is currently a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor CAADC. She is nationally certified as a MAC Master Addictions Counselor by NAADAC . Her 37 years of experience and education are in addiction, recovery, and codependency. Addiction affects the entire system around the addict. There is no “bad guy” in the system. Fight the addiction, and help the addict. I help loved ones restore sanity to their lives and hence encourage change. Recovery is possible!
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