What is sugar addiction?
The vicious cycle of sugar addiction has been plaguing us all for years; however, it wasn’t until recently that this type of addiction has been seen as a relevant addiction that is not only legitimate, but is also a major contributor to obesity in children and adults. Sugar addiction occurs in four repetitive stages that ultimately results in a constant craving for sugary sweets, weight gain and chronic diseases.
Stage 1. You eat sugar: You enjoy it and then you crave it. The sweet foods that you eat contain addictive properties.
Stage 2: Blood sugar levels spike: Dopamine is released in the brain. The brain includes numerous dopamine systems, one of which plays an integral part in reward motivated behavior. The reward, or in this case, the satisfaction of eating something that satisfies your sweet tooth, increases the amount of dopamine released into the brain causing the addiction to sugar. How? Massive amounts of insulin is secreted to drop blood sugar levels.
Stage 3: Blood sugar levels fall rapidly: High insulin levels cause immediate fat storage. In other words, sugar is quickly converted into fat and results in higher body fat percentages and weight gain. As a result, the body craves the lost sugar high.
Stage 4: Hunger and cravings: Low blood sugar levels cause increased appetite and cravings. Thus, the cycle is repeated. Sugar strokes the appetite rather than satisfying it.
Be Free from the cravings
Sweets are bad for you because they have a ton of calories and offer little to no nutritional value. These foods are addictive and can often make you tired and sick. The good news? With a little determination and willpower, you can train your body and mind to not crave the sugar. In order to combat sugar addiction and constant cravings, you have to drastically cut back your sugar intake. Your body may experience some symptoms of withdrawal; however, if you can follow these tips, you will be on your way to a happy, healthy life, free from those cravings.
What can you do to fight sugar addiction?
- Keep a log of how many grams of sugar are in the foods you eat. You can find out how much sugar is in a food by referencing the “Nutrition Facts” label on the packages or by simply doing some research on the internet.
- When you have figured out how much sugar you are consuming daily, you can then work on cutting the sugar intake back. You will most likely find that your sugar intake exceeds well over the recommended amount of sugar you should be taking in throughout the day. The federal dietary guidelines recommend that you consume approximately 10 percent of your daily caloric intake (about 20 grams for every 1,000 calories you eat).
- Here’s the hard part. Many of the foods in our grocery stores that are marketed as being “healthy” are really filled with loads of sugar. When reading labels, be mindful of how many grams of sugar are in the foods you are buying.
Tips for avoiding cravings
- Eat a large breakfast: When you eat breakfast, you are able to avoid the drop in blood sugar levels that cause you to have cravings.
- Drink plenty of water: Drinking water has several health benefits. Drinking water will help you to feel fuller longer.
- Chew sugar-free gum: Chewing gum, especially when you are feeling hungry, can help to combat cravings.
- Grab some fruit: When you are craving sugar, go for some fruit instead of a candy bar. Fruit contains Fructose, an all-natural type of sugar. The fiber and other nutrients found in fruit slow down the digestive process and keep your blood sugar levels stable.
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