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!
The Effect Of A Sugar Addiction On Your Health
People with a sugar addiction typically eat too much sugar, and there are several negative effects of excess sugar on your health. Eating or drinking too much sugar may cause you to gain weight. Sugar is calorie dense, and excess calories lead to weight gain. This can start a vicious cycle, as eating too much sugar leads to craving more, and greater feelings of hunger prompt you to eat more than you need.
Sugar can also cause skin problems or exacerbate existing skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and dry skin.
Sugar can also cause skin problems or exacerbate existing skin conditions like eczema, rosacea, and dry skin. It can prevent your body from rejuvenating new skin and make your complexion look dull and lifeless. High-sugar diets can also cause acne or cause your acne to worsen. Vascular diseases, such as hypertension and atherosclerosis, are another effect of too much sugar. Theres a correlation between high-sugar diets and a greater incidence of heart problems. Obesity, inflammation, and high blood pressure can sometimes partially come from eating too much sugar, and these conditions, in turn, increase the chances of heart and vascular diseases.
Warning Signs Of An Addiction To Sugar
- Always thinking about ways to incorporate sugar into meals and snacks.
- Lacking satisfaction with meals that arent sweet.
- Being constantly influenced to eat specific foods or specific packaged products that have sugar.
- Eating just one sugary food causes a loss of eating control often leading to bingeing.
- Having waves of sugar cravings that last longer than a day or stretch into several days.
- Continually using sugary foods to cope with feeling depressed, lonely or isolated.
- Not finding enjoyment in usual activities such as being social, exercising, sex, or entertainment when they dont include sugar.
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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.
Lets Look At The Ways Sugar Wrongs Us
- suppresses your immune system
- Excess sugar consumption is linked to cancer and tumor growth
- promotes weight gain and obesity
- disrupts the mineral balance
- contributes to depression, anxiety and mood swings
- promotes gut dysbiosis and fungal overgrowth in the gut
- contributes to insulin resistance and diabetes
- can cause hormonal imbalances
- increases risk for Crohns disease and ulcerative colitis
- disrupt the bodys pH balance
- can cause hypoglycemia
- will reduce good HDL cholesterol and increase bad LDL cholesterol
- prohibits weight loss
Some people are more sugar sensitive than others, and part of that depends on your genetics. Regardless, you can bio-hack your diet by manipulating certain macronutrients, like protein and fat, to balance your blood glucose levels and ward off cravings.
Heres an example: Lets say you start your morning with coffee and a pastry. You probably feel pretty good because that sugar is plugging up feel-good receptors in your brain, and maybe you get a little high as your blood glucose levels spike. But a few hours later, you crash when your blood glucose plummets again, and then youre hungry, jittery, anxious, moody, irritable. You eat lunch, probably too much because youre starving and you miscalculated your hunger needs, and then you may feel tired as all your energy is diverted into digestion. You may crave sugar in the afternoon, because your body knows it gives you a quick energy boost. Does that rollercoaster sound familiar?
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Break The Sugar Addiction
If you’re “hooked” on sugar, don’t try to eliminate all sugary foods at once. If you deny yourself even a single piece of candy or sliver of cake, you’ll only crave sweets more. Instead, eat a healthy diet made up of more satisfying foodswhole grains, fruits, vegetables, healthy oils, and lean protein. “Steer yourself away from sugar and eat these foods, which are digested more slowly. They’ll help to even out your blood sugar and you won’t have spikes and crashes all the time,” Dr. Hauser says.
Here are a few suggestions to help you break the sugar habit:
Keep sugary foods away. Don’t tempt yourself by stocking candy, cookies, and other high-sugar foods in your cupboards and fridge. “As a substitute for these things, keep fruit around,” suggests Dr. Hauser.
Sweeten foods yourself. Start with unsweetened iced tea, plain yogurt, and unflavored oatmeal. Then add your own sweetener. No matter how much sweetener you add, you probably won’t put in as much as the manufacturer would have, according to Dr. Hauser.
Watch for hidden sugars in foods. Be wary of foods where sugar tends to hide, including reduced-fat products. “When companies take out the fat, they add back almost all the calories in sugar,” Dr. Hauser says. Read labels. Avoid products that list sugar as the first ingredient or that contain several different types of sugar it’s one way manufacturers avoid having sugar listed as the first ingredient.
Do Not Go Cold Turkey
Sugar is hard on your health, but the more you eat, the more youll crave. So cutting down slowly is the best way to stop your sugar addiction, says nutritionist , MS, RDN. The exception: If you dont eat much sugar to begin with, says Eich. If you normally have two candy bars a day, cut to one a day. Then next week, one every other day. The following week, one every three days, until youre down to just one a week. If you normally take 2 teaspoons of sugar in your coffee, use the same routine, cutting down to 1 1/2 teaspoons for a week, then 1, then 1/2. Eventually, youll get to the point where you dont need sugar at all. Read more about what sugar does to your body.
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Understanding Sugar’s Power Can Help To Set You Free
A friend and I were talking the other day about our addiction to sugar and fatty comfort foods .
We do so well for a while, and then somehow find ourselves back at it, eating large amounts of whatever the sweet food drug of the moment is. It’s a slippery slope we somehow find ourselves sliding down yet again.
I’ve written before about my challenges with emotional eating and have truly done so much better for many years. I get swept up by sugar cravings much more rarely and even now when I fall off the sugary treat wagon, I do it by eating large amounts of high fiber, all-natural, gluten-free, dairy-free treats.
The damage to my body is much less than in the days when my drug of choice was a cheap grocery store cake full of transfats and junk. But organic cane sugar is still sugar, and I simply can’t seem to use it in a healthy way. I end up on the same unhealthy, compulsive wagon again, albeit in a more nutritious form.
In whatever form, sugar has an unhealthy impact on my skin, my body, my moods, and my weight when I eat too much of it. I realized recently, while talking to my friend, that I need to take this issue more seriously than I ever have if I ever want to truly leave it behind.
Here are some strategies that we discussed that have been working for me:
1. Find rewards that really work.
Find ways to take care of yourself in place of sugar things that deeply nurture you without the side effects and addictions.
Replace Treats With Better Alternatives
Replacing sugary snacks with healthier alternatives can help to curb your cravings.
When youre feeling the desire for sugar, eat a piece of fruit instead, such as a banana, apple or orange to satisfy the sweet tooth but also provide soluble fibre and nutrients.
Soluble fibre is also found in grains such as oats and legumes, and vegetables. They make you feel fuller by absorbing water in your stomach, as well as maintaining your blood sugar levels.
Eating foods high in protein can also make you feel fuller and may help with the cravings. Add some protein into every meal, and include snacks such as plain greek yoghurt or nuts as an easy option.
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And Make Rules Around Trigger Foods
That means cookies, cake, or ice cream. A half-gallon of ice cream in the freezer is temptation defined. Our rule? No ice cream kept at home. Ice cream should always be a treat worth traveling for. If you find yourself making a dessert run too often, consider all the ways too much sweet stuff can harm your health.
Spiced Chickpea Pilaff With Almonds And Coconut Yogurt
This delicious combination of rice, chickpeas and almonds is an ideal pre-workout meal to support your workout. Chickpeas are nutritional powerhouses packed with carbohydrates, proteins, fiber, B vitamins, iron, zinc and magnesium. They are the perfect dietary supplement to rice, compensate for the lack of essential amino acids and increase the overall protein quality. Carrots and butternut squash are both high in beta-carotene, while green peppers and peas are loaded with vitamin C. Almonds add extra protein, healthy fats, calcium, and vitamin E. Substitute for pecans or cashews if you prefer. If you dont have all of the individual spices, use 2 tablespoons of mild curry paste instead.
- 25 g almonds, toasted and mashed
- Small handful of finely chopped mint
- 2 tbsp coconut yogurt alternative
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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.”
How To Stop Eating Sugar
1) Understand your sugar addiction is real. I dont want you to get caught up in a victim mentality, but there is some power in understanding that sugar is addictive.
When you eat sugar, it changes the chemistry in your brain by releasing the feel-good chemical called dopamine. There is a chemical change happening inside your brain you arent weak or pathetic for craving sugar.
If you feel shame about your inability to give up sugar, you will probably deal with the shame by eating more sugar.
Theres nothing to be ashamed of. Sugar is addictive for everyone because everyone has dopamine in their brains. If you crave sugar, then youre normal.
Theres a great book by Dr. Brene Brown called I Thought It Was Just Me . Shes a shame researcher, which sounds funny, yet shes great at putting the issue of shame into perspective. I highly recommend the book.
2) Flood your body with nutrients. When you stop eating sugar, your body removes toxins. These toxins are what lead to the withdrawal symptoms that pull you back.
The quickest way to rid your body of these toxins is to flood it with foods that are naturally high in vitamins and minerals. These nutrients help flush out the toxins.
In my free video series, I show you how to do this using 4 simple daily habits. If you want more nutrients, but dont know what to eat, then youll want to watch those videos before giving up sweets.
You can wake up in the morning, will yourself to give up sugar, and be back on it by noon.
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Sugar Addiction And Emotional Eating
People may find sugars ability to provide instant energy, combined with the good taste of sugary foods, enticing. Sugar provides some with a quick fix during a long and stressful day. People who are enduring breakups or other emotionally stressful situations often turn to chocolate or pints of ice cream to comfort themselves during the difficult time. However, those who turn to sugar to deal with emotional issues are more likely to become addicted. Other indications of sugar addiction for emotional relief are weight gain and difficulty focusing on daily responsibilities. These side effects can damage self-esteem, cause feelings of helplessness, and lower self-worth this in turn leads to more sugar consumption and a more severe addiction.
Why Do People Get Addicted To Sugar
In a nutshell, people become addicted to sugar because their brain tells them it feels good. When its consumed, sugar turns into glucose, which is the fuel that powers the cells in your body. Glucose also helps your brain produce serotonin, the happy hormone that lifts your mood. Overcoming sugar addiction may mean youll have to find other ways to help elevate your emotions.
Addiction to sugar can form more easily in children than in adults. This is because the neural pathways in childrens developing brains respond more strongly to excess glucose. This means eating a lot of sugar early in life can result in a lifelong sugar addiction. Learning how to break a sugar addiction as an adult can be challenging, but overall, decreasing your sugar intake gives you a healthier body and mind.
Sugar works on the dopamine receptors in the brain, similarly to drugs and alcohol. The sugar you eat starts working on the reward centers of your brain, giving you artificial mood boosts. Excess sugar can dampen the bodys ability to produce dopamine and regulate your moods on its own, which can lead to a physical addiction. The physical component makes beating a sugar addiction challenging for many people.
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Ask Yourself If You’re Eating Your Emotions
Understanding why you are craving sugar can be a major clue to help you overcome it. “Know your reason ‘why,'” Glassman says. “Cravings can be triggered by emotions, behaviors, or nutrient deficiencies. The next time you’re absolutely craving ice cream, ask yourself, is it pure boredom? Are you feeling happy? Sad? Stressed?,” she explains. Asking these questions and trying to get to the bottom of why you’re craving what you are can help you overcome the feeling in the future as well.
Undeniable Signs You Have A Sugar Addiction
Everyday I am talking with women about their nutrition and I hear the same thing from many of them:
- I feel addicted to sugar and sweet foods.
- My sugar addiction symptoms are getting out of controlI crave sweets all day long!
- I dont know how to stop sugar cravings.
And its no wonder!
A recent study shows that sugar addiction has strong similarities to drug addiction . Numerous animal studies support the claim that sugar is a HIGHLY addictive substance. The release of dopamine experienced with sugar consumption gives you a high which is then followed by symptoms of sugar withdrawal without another hit.
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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.