Tips to Quit Your Unhealthy Relationship With Sugar
We’ve seen a drastic increase in sugar consumption in the past several years. In the past, we mostly ate sugar that was found naturally in foods.
However, now over one-third of the calories we consume come from either sugar or white flour (which acts like sugar once digested). Our bodies can’t handle such large quantities.
When you consume sugar, you experience a quick high followed by an inevitable crash. As your body starts to crash, it begins to crave more and more sugar, which leads to further consumption.
It’s this endless cycle of highs and lows that takes a toll on your adrenals, leaving you feeling anxious, moody (sugar is known to alter your mood), and exhausted.
Sugar not only negatively impacts your long-term health, but also disruptsshort-term immunity. In fact, research suggests that one of the primary reasons for decreased immunity is because sugar prevents Vitamin C from entering white blood cells. As a result, this hinders your ability to fight off infection and disease.
There are many health risks associated with consuming too much sugar, such as a decreased ability to fight infection and disease. Furthermore, sugars can stimulate insulin production in the pancreas, which then causes the liver to produce more triglycerides.
Triglycerides have been linked to stroke, heart disease, and obesity. We will provide you with all the necessary information on how to reduce your sugar intake.
Like cocaine, alcohol, and nicotine, consuming large amounts of sugar can override self-control and cause addiction. This is because over time, our brains become addicted to the natural opioids that are triggered by sugars.
A study from 2007 found that when rats were given a choice between water sweetened with saccharin or cocaine, 94% of them chose the saccharin. This suggests that sugar is just as addictive as cocaine.
Larger doses of cocaine didn’t tempt the rats away from saccharin or sugar water. In fact, even rats addicted to cocaine chose sweetened water over more drugs when given a choice. To put it another way, extreme sweetness surpassed cocaine as a reward for these rodents’ brain cells.
The three stages of addiction, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, are bingeing, withdrawal, and craving. In recent experiments done by Princeton University’s Professor Bart Hoebel and his team, it was rats that showed evidence of these final two stages of addiction.
The data collected led the scientists to believe that sugar is a substance that can be highly addictive due to its ability to induce cravings in addition to causing withdrawals and binges.
Over time, we develop a need for sweets to feel content or fulfilled and turn to sugar as adults to help boost our energy or mood.
“Something sweet” is often seen as a symbol of love and care, which is in contrast to the clinical assessment of sugar. For most of us, when we think about sugar, we don’t associate it with being harmful.
However, biochemically speaking, sugar is harmful to our bodies. We become conditioned early in life to need something sweet to feel complete or satisfied. As adults; however, we continue to self-medicate based on this sugary conditioning by using it as a temporary mood or energy booster.
We all know that addiction never ends well, but we continue to chase after the quick fix regardless.
Sugar is as addicting as illegal drugs, and just like those drugs, it takes a toll on your health. Serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and premature aging are only some of the dangers of consuming too much sugar. Beating an addiction to sugar requires a strong but methodical plan, similar to overcoming any other drug addiction.
How to Quit Sugar
- Eat often throughout the day. This can look like having three meals and two snacks, or five smaller meals. For a lot of people, if they don’t eat frequently enough, their blood sugar dips, which then leads to feeling hangry and additional cravings for sugary snacks.
- Eat whole foods. When food is closer to its natural form, it will have less processed sugar. Normal bodies usually don’t have issues metabolizing food in its natural form, like fruits and vegetables, especially when consumed in variety.
- Incorporate a protein-rich, fat-filled breakfast with phytonutrients to curb cravings throughout the day. Breakfast smoothies are an excellent way to do this since they’re easily digestible and allow you to consume all the necessary nutrients in one meal.
- To control your blood sugar levels, aim to add protein and/or healthy fats to each meal.
- Spices like coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and cardamom will sweeten your food without any added sugar.
- Research suggests that by taking a multivitamin, vitamin D3, and omega-3 fatty acid supplement, you can help improve your nutrient deficiencies. According to studies, fewer cravings are experienced when fewer nutrient deficiencies are present. Also, some nutrients have been found to potentially improve blood sugar control, which include chromium, vitamin B3, ,and magnesium .
- Get up and move! Exercise, dance, or do some yoga. Any type of movement you enjoy will help reduce tension, give you more energy, and lessen your dependence on sugar for a pick-me-up.
- To maintain a steady level of energy throughout the day, aim to get a good night’s sleep. When we’re tired, we often eat sugary foods for a quick burst of energy. However, this type of food will only end up making us more exhausted in the long run.
- Detoxing can help alleviate sugar cravings by resetting your appetite. After the initial detox, which can be difficult, your body will adjust, and you likely won’t even want sugar anymore.
- Keep your mind open while investigating the emotional problems associated with your addiction to sugar. Oftentimes, we desire sweets not for their taste but because they fill an emotional hole that nothing else seems to fix.
- It’s easier to resist temptation when sugary snacks aren’t within arm’s reach. So, keep them out of your house and office.
- Do not replace sugar with alternative sweeteners.
- Education about the contents of food labels is crucial, even if it means consuming fewer products overall. In general, the more ingredients a product has, the higher chance sugar is one of them. To avoid this, check how many grams of sugar are in a serving and choose items with less sugar per portion.
- Did you know that all of the following are actually sugar? Corn syrup, corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, sucrose, dextrose, honey, molasses, turbinado sugar, and brown sugar.
- Oftentimes, “complex” carbohydrates such as bread, bagels, and pasta are actually quite refined and thus act like sugars in the body. For this reason, it’s best to avoid them.
How to Overcome Your Sugar Cravings
- L-Glutamine is an amino acid that helps level blood sugar. It can be taken every couple of hours as necessary at a dosage of 1000-2000mg.
- Stepping away for even just a few minutes to clear your head can do wonders when you’re feeling urges. Leave to go to a quiet spot, get comfortable, and focus solely on your breath. More often than not, the cravings will be gone by the time you come back.
- Busy yourself with another activity to take your mind off of the craving. If you can, go for a walk outdoors. Cravings generally only last 10–20 minutes, so if you can focus on something else, it will usually pass. The more times you do this successfully, the easier it becomes, and then cravings won’t seem as intense.
- Drink plenty of water to fight off sugar cravings, as sometimes what we think we’re craving is really just thirst in disguise.
- If you want to satisfy a sweet craving, have a piece of fruit instead of unhealthy junk food.
Allow yourself the occasional “treat” by following these guidelines. Be mindful that one small slip is not indicative of complete failure. Instead of being harsh on yourself, learn from your mistake and move forward.
If you have difficulty maintaining control with only a little sugar, it might be best to abstain completely. The key to sustainable success is finding satisfaction in experiences other than food.