The science is in and it is pretty clear. We are literally killing ourselves by consuming way too much sugar. After 40 years of research, we are finding that sugar is at the root of most heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases.
Because of the way added sugar affects the body functions by spiking insulin levels and the way it activates the hormones and chemicals the brain most closely linked to addictive behaviors, this makes sugar a number one threat to our health. It’s no wonder that almost 70% of the residents in the US are overweight or obese.
Signs of sugar addiction
If you’ve ever tried to cut back on sugar, you know how hard it is. You get massive cravings for sugar and carbs and you may even begin to wonder what’s wrong with you. Rest assured, the reason it’s so difficult is because your brain chemicals like dopamine work against you.
Some signs of sugar addiction include:
- Craving more and more sugar over a period of time
- Craving breads and other carbohydrates even when you’re not physical hungry
- Having trouble making yourself stop eating once you start
- Using sugar-based foods to make you feel better when you are stressed, upset or angry.
- A cyclical feeling of being run-down, moody or angry that seems to come and go with meal or snack times.
Making the sugar detox work for you!
If you show signs of sugar addiction, or even sugar sensitivity, it’s a good idea to look at a sugar detox program.
Find a program that fits you and your lifestyle. There are a lot of different programs out there. The most successful ones require you to drop added and processed sugars cold-turkey. This is because sugar is addicting. If you try to simply eliminate one sugary substance per day, you are still feeding your addiction when you should be starving it.
Although healthy natural sugars (like apples or pears) can be added in at a later date, the best detox programs drop these as well until your body has re-adjusted to a sugarless existence.
Be prepared! Just like with breaking any addition, the first few days will be really tough. You will have sugar cravings that are almost overwhelming at time. In addition, most people also have physical ailments like headaches, stomach aches, or moodiness.
You will need to pick a time when you are ready and be prepared for several bad days. You will also need to keep yourself busy during those days so that you can help alleviate any boredom-based eating. It’s best if you can prepare for some support ahead of time so that you have someone to help talk you through the worst of the cravings.
Increase protein, legumes, fats and fiber. Protein, beans, healthy fats and healthy fibers work with your body to level out the hormones and chemicals that cause your cravings. Make sure that any foods are as natural as possible and read the labels before picking your food choices. Many canned or prepared foods have added sugars in the ingredients and you will want to avoid these.
Add in exercise! When you exercise, your body releases dopamine and endorphins, which not only make you feel better physically, but also make you feel happier and calmer.
Remember - this is not your fault. Sugar addiction is real. And like all other addictions, there is a physiological component as well as an emotional component. It’s too easy to feel guilty as a result of your cravings, but you need to let yourself off the hook.