When I ask my clients what their #1 Nutritional Challenge is, “sugar addition” or “sugar cravings” account for more than 90% of the responses.
Why is that? Is it because we just lack the will power to say no to sugar when it is in front of us? Is it because in this world of needing “instant gratification” that we just want to keep having the things that taste sweet and yummy?
Actually, no. Sugar can be as addictive as any drug.
And the food industry adds sugar to seemingly everything (Hyman 2012, Hyman 2018). Processed food carries additional sugars in the body after it metabolizes food which is why sugar in these types of products is terrible for us.
“It’s not only in the obvious places, like drinks and snacks, but in surprising places, like chicken soup, spaghetti sauce, multi grain crackers, bacon, smoked salmon, even most salad dressings.”
-Hyman, “FOOD: What the Heck Should I Eat?”
We are addicted to sugar because it in addition to combining with other chemicals, sugar releases endorphins which causes an energy spike, although it is short lived…we often refer to kids after having too much candy as being on a “sugar high”. It’s a real thing folks.
The crazy thing is, when I am talking about sugar, I am talking about GRAINS too. Flour processes and presents in our bodies JUST. LIKE. SUGAR. So your sugar cravings don't just come from sweets…they come from food you might think of as “healthy.” Whole wheat bread? YUP. Wraps on a sandwich. THAT TOO.
But what goes up must go down, and then when we come down from it…our body needs more to get that same level of satisfaction.
Sugar literally stimulates your brain’s pleasure centers just like other addictive drugs and so wants more and more to keep that level of “pleasure.” It’s been shown that high fat, high sugar foods work like heroin, opiums or morphine in the brain. (Volkow, wang, Fowler et. al. 2002).
Once our brains connect sugar as a way to gain energy, we then need more of it.
Do you have irritability, emotional lows, energy issues, added weight gain and brain fog? You can most often blame sugar for that.
Here’s the thing. 90% of the people I ask that question of “What is Your #1 Nutritional Challenge” tell me that sugar has a hold on them.
But how many realize how bad it TRULY is for you to be addicted to sugar? How many realize they can do something about it?
IT can be overcome. I have helped hundreds of clients kick the habit to the curb as through my 4 Weeks 2 Wellness Lifestyle Launch by doing the following things:
- Don’t eliminate ALL sugar. Many don’t realize that we need natural sugars such as ones found in berries, green apples and other fruits and vegetables. Trying to eliminate ALL sugar, including natural ones find themselves experiencing withdrawal symptoms of irritability, fogginess, moodiness, and low energy. Depending on how addicted you are, these withdrawals can be intense and you will likely just go right back to eating sugary foods. Instead, do dietary swaps with whole foods that have natural sugar.
- Balance your macros: We need carbs, believe it or not. Click here to read more about why, but carbs on their own turn into sugar and cause our blood sugar to spike. This results in feeding the addiction and storing fat. Instead, everytime you eat, balance a carb with a complete protein and a good fat. This balances your blood sugar while allowing your body to feel full and satisfied and sugar releases the hold it has on you. Click here for my FREE guide on how to do just that!
- Eat Frequently: Giving up a sugar addition doesn’t mean giving up eating good food, and alot of it! By eating a protein, fat and carb for every meal, you will give your body the chance to be hormonally balanced, but doing it every 3-4 hours will keep your blood sugar balanced and will start to rev up your metabolism, thus giving you that energy that sugar was doing before.
- Replace Sugary AND “sugar-free” drinks: Sodas, juice and “energy” drinks are laden with sugar and just because they aren’t food, doesn’t mean they aren’t a huge contributor to your addiction. In addition, “sugar free” foods are a HORRIBLE replacement. Not only is it filled with chemicals that have been linked to cancer, but the artificial sweetness tricks your body into thinking it is getting sugar and when it doesn’t it craves it more! Instead, drink lots of water (Seltzer with fresh lime juice is INCREDIBLE) and try my FAVORITE soda substitute, with these bad boys! Put them in your water for not only a tasty alternative, but with natural caffeine and vitamins they give your body energy and boost metabolism!
- Eat Clean: Clean eating is when you consume whole, unprocessed, organic foods such as fruits and veggies, nuts, beans and free range/grass-fed meats and eggs. When eating COMPLETELY clean, you will also want to avoid or completely cut out specific types of other foods like those with added sugar, preservatives, artificial flavors and sweeteners, inflammatory and allergenic foods like alcohol, gluten and dairy, and acidic foods like coffee and most vinegars. In addition, truly eating clean also involves removing genetically modified food such as soy and corn. Eating clean allows us to get the proper balance of nutrients into our bodies so we can maintain a good metabolism, and begin healing our gut so we can absorb those nutrients. Eating clean, combined with these other tips will absolutely curb sugar cravings in a way that minimizes withdrawal effects and replaces it with natural energy and long term health! Click here for more info on how to eat clean.
You CAN absolutely kick the sugar habit…and now your #1 nutrition challenge can be what you are going to do with all that new found energy!
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Volkow, ND, Wang, GJ, Fowler, JS, et al. “Nonhedonic” food motivation in humans involves dopamine in the dorsal striatum and methylphenidate amplifies this effect. Synapse. 2002; 44(3) 175-80
Hyman M.D., Mark. 2012. The Blood Sugar Solution (p. 40). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition
Hyman, M.D. Mark, 2018. Food: What the heck should I eat. Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition