8 Ways to Fight Sugar Addiction and Live a Healthier Life
The idea of sugar being an addiction may be hard for many to grasp, especially for those in recovery. However, Americans are consuming an average of 160 pounds of refined sugar per person a year. Refined sugar is actually considered by cardiovascular researchers to have properties similar to cocaine.
In fact, a 2012 study in the Journal Nature, called for sugar to be regulated like tobacco. It’s not only the way your brain reacts to sugar that mimics the drug use, it is also the way your brain reacts coming off sugar that is a problem. Certainly, we all know what it’s like to have a sugar high. It also is about the withdrawal effects of sugar.
Turns out, cutting out sugar had similar behavioral effects experienced by people withdrawing from opiates. These traits include withdrawals, depression and anxiety. One study even concluded that sugar is eight times as addictive as cocaine!
Despite the research, being addicted to sugar is far from stigmatized. It is even encouraged. How many times have you smiled at someone complaining about a sugar tooth or getting a sugar high? As much as 80 percent of our food choices contain sugar according to Laura Schmidt, Ph.D. of the University of California, San Francisco.
So what should we do about this? According to Dr. Mark Hyman’s new book, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, we need to take steps to curb our sugar habit.
Here are a few that stood out to me:
- Make The Decision.
The first step in anything is to decide to make a change. It does not matter how many studies you read, if you do not make the decision to change your behavior, nothing will change. You have to decide that it is finally time to cut down on your sugar addiction. Take it slow. Nothing is easy at first but eventually, your body will adjust to the change.
Next, you have to stop consuming all the sugar. Throw out any sugary products you may have lying around.
Dr. Hyman recommends to:
“Stop all forms of sugar, all flour products, and all artificial sweeteners – which cause increased cravings and slow metabolism, and lead to fat storage. Also get rid of anything with trans or hydrogenated fats and MSG.”
The goal is not to stop eating sugar forever. Instead, the goal is to reduce your sugar consumption and work on reducing the cravings you have for sugar. Take a sugar detox so that you are able to limit yourself.
- Don’t Drink Your Calories.
You may think candy and sugary treats are the culprits for your sugar addiction, yet you’d be surprised to know that sugary beverages are some of the largest contributors to our sugar intake.
“One can of soda a day increases a kid’s chance of being obese by 60% and a woman’s chance of type 2 diabetes by 80%,” according to Dr. Hyman.
Water is the best drink you can have. If you have trouble drinking water, try adding some lemon and slice fruit in a pitcher and leave it in the fridge so it is nice and cold. Super refreshing!
- Eat The Right Carbs.
Carbs are not bad for you. If you avoid the bad ones, carbs can be super healthy for you. Eating lots of veggies, greens, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, collards, sweet potatoes and rice. Avoid refined carbs like white bread and sugary cereals.
- Be Prepared For Cravings.
Cravings happen. You will find yourself in situations where sugar cravings will take over. You might be in line at the grocery store and run into your favorite candy bar, or you could be at the mall and smell a delicious pretzel snack.
You need to prepare for moments like this. Always keep healthy snack options handy like nuts, and fruit for moments where the sugar cravings come in.
Stress causes your body to release the hormone cortisol, which makes you feel hungrier. Feeling stress can contribute to weight gain. Luckily, there are natural ways to combat this effect. Try meditation and/or yoga on a consistent basis. Make relaxing part of your routine.
Overall, fighting sugar cravings can be a lot more challenging than people expect it to be, however if you are committed and follow through, you will find reducing your sugar intake to be a great improvement on your health. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please do not wait. Call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.
Author: Shernide Delva