Break the Sugar Addiction

Scientists have found that sugar is addictive (1) and stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as cocaine or heroin.  Just like those drugs, getting off sugar can lead to withdrawals and cravings.  Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that quickly provides “cheap” energy that you teach your brain to crave.  I refer to it as cheap because unlike fruit or veggies, sugar has no fiber or protein to slow the sugar spike that sets you up for future cravings.

You know that feeling when the sugar starts to wear off and you feel wiped out, shaky and searching for more sweets?   It can become an endless cycle…this is sugar addiction.  But it’s not just a sweet tooth that addicts you, many people are addicted to the starchy carbs that break down to simple sugars which
create the same surge and crash.

Massive sugar addiction can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart damage, cancer cell production, depletion of brain power, and shorter lifespans. (2) Studies also show that eating too much sugar can stress the heart by effecting its ability to pump (3)

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Here’s a few more reasons to kick the sugar addiction: Pathogenic bacteria, parasites and yeast, such as Candida feed off sugar.  The more you eat, the more inviting you make your gut for these bad guys.    

This vicious cycle will cause a nutrient imbalance that creates deficiency of important vitamins and minerals.  Behavioral issues are also synonymous with sugar addiction and not the obvious symptoms we see with children. Even as an adult, you might be hyperactive while on your sugar rush and then cranky when you crash.

So how do you rid yourself of this nasty addiction?   It won’t be easy to kick the habit but the benefits are well worth it and there will come a time when your healthy new lifestyle provides you with the natural energy you once craved from sugar.   

But it’s not just a sweet tooth that addicts you, many people are addicted to the starchy carbs that break down to simple sugars which create the same surge and crash. 

 

Here are 7 effective recommendations to help you break free from your sugar addiction:

 

  1. Retrain your taste buds. You don’t need sugar as much as you think you do.  You can train your taste buds to truly enjoy things that aren’t as sweet.  If you begin to cut out the sweets, over time you will lose you need for them
  2. Avoid processed foods. Eating sugar and processed foods creates a vicious cycle that creates addiction.  Avoid high fructose syrup (HFCS) at all costs.
  3. Satisfy your sweet tooth naturally. The all-natural sweetener Stevia has zero calories, does not raise blood sugar levels and is 300 times sweeter than sugar.  Use it sparingly to sweeten your coffee, tea or favorite recipe.   Just be mindful of not allowing your sweet tooth to re-emerge.
  4. Read the label. You would be surprised to see how much added sugar is in foods that you would never suspect. Don’t look for sugar in the ingredients (it can be hidden under many names) but look at the grams of sugar per serving.  Pay attention and make your selections accordingly.
  5. Protein and Healthy fats will help. High-protein foods and healthy fats digest more slowly and keep you feeling full longer.  When you are in Ketosis, your Keto friendly foods give you energy without the blood sugar spike of sugar and refined carbs.
  6. Take Probiotics. A healthy digestive system can reduce sugar cravings.  Probiotics make digestion more efficient allowing for more efficient absorption of good nutrition while starving the bad bacteria that are tied to sugar cravings. (3)
  7. Get up and move. Exercise can help eliminate those sugar cravings and change the way you eat. It provides endorphins which your brain sees as a reward.   As you feel better you will want healthier foods.  Take a walk, go for a bike ride, try a Zumba class.  Start out slowly and work towards a healthier routine that includes at least 3 days a week of “workouts” and another 2 days of casual exercise outdoor if possible to grab some Sun (vitamin D). 
  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2235907/
  2. The Huffington Post Healthy Living. September 29, 2013 (articles.mercola.com/sugar-addiction.aspx )
  3. Sen, B. K. Kundu, H. C.-J. Wu, S. S. Hashmi, P. Guthrie, L. W. Locke, R. J. Roy, G. P. Matherne, S. S. Berr, M. Terwelp, B. Scott, S. Carranza, O. H. Frazier, D. K. Glover, W. H. Dillmann, M. J. Gambello, M. L. Entman, H. Taegtmeyer. Glucose Regulation of Load-Induced mTOR Signaling and ER Stress in Mammalian Heart. Journal of the American Heart Association, 2013; 2 (3): e004796 DOI: 10.1161/JAHA.113.004796
  4. Qingqing Zhang, Yucheng Wu, Xiaoqiang Fei. Effect of probiotics on body weight and body-mass index: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 2016; 67 (5): 571 DOI: 10.1080/09637486.2016.1181156.

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