How to Actually Beat Sugar Addiction in Simple Easy Steps
If you want to beat sugar addiction, understanding and awareness is key. There are many differing opinions, so we have to understand some basics first before making up our minds on what is/isn’t sugar addiction.
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In moderate amounts, sugar is essential for our bodies.
As with more or less anything in life, balance is the optimum approach. In addition to obesity and problems with your teeth, consuming an excess of sugar can have far graver ramifications than simply piling on a few pounds or a cavity.
Like any carbohydrate, the purpose of sugar is to supply energy. Sugar is frequently referred to as a fast-acting or simple carb. It is used by all cells in the body.
What, then, prompts us to gorge on sugar?
The Causes of Sugar Addiction
Firstly, go easy on yourself. It’s straightforward to understand the root cause and it’s not your fault. Sugar addiction is much more widespread than you think!
The cycle begins with strong cravings for sweet things. It’s the classic vicious circle, though. The more you eat, the more you want…
After eating sugar, natural opioids are produced in the brain (serotonin). Normally, these hormones aid with pain relief. They are triggered in a similar fashion to the effect that kicks in with users of illegal drugs.
When this chemical – serotonin – is released into the brain we feel good. Temporarily. Taking on board a glut of sugar can produce almost euphoric feelings. The high induced by such a sugar rush, though, is fleeting.
After such a spike, it’s fully expected that will be a corresponding low! And feelings of lethargy will follow.
So, you’ve really done yourself no good whatsoever. A short-term gain with an immediate counter-swing and a subsequent desire for more.
Cravings are not only driven by a need for food, but more importantly, a need for reward. Understanding this makes it easier to defeat these hankerings.
The human tongue has only two sweet receptors.
Logically it has struggled to adapt to anything sweet.
Resultantly, the receptors here are highly sensitive.
The reward signals sent out after eating something sweet are excessive.
Self-control mechanisms can be overridden by this factor and the cycle of sugar addiction kicks in.
Be aware that although you’re not to blame, it doesn’t mean you can’t now make a choice and take action.
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Aside from this problem with flawed taste buds, peptin is also partially responsible for this craving and bingeing loop. This hormone tells the brain how to make best use of energy which is stored from fat. Peptin also targets the tongue’s taste receptors. If you lack peptin, the likelihood of you craving food is enhanced. When you crave, sugar is often the first thing you reach for. Again, the cycle continues…
How much sugar do we consume?
If we think of our ancestors, they typically consumed a very low-sugar diet. According to the USDA, in 1700 the average American consumed just four pounds of sugar each year. Fast forward to the wired world…
The all-time high was reached at the turn of the millennium when the figure hit a colossal 151 pounds! This has come down slightly to around 130 pounds per person but that’s still a truly massive increase.
Just to give you some idea what that looks like!
Where do we get this sugar from?
Most people get around 50% of their sugar from drinks. Fruit drinks, soft drinks, sports drinks… all of these contain elevated sugar levels.Tip: drink more water! Use this a good chance to sidestep some sugar while rehydrating yourself effectively into the bargain.
The remaining half of our sugar intake is accounted for with the usual sweet suspects. Chocolate, candy, cookies and ice cream are self-evidently packed with sugar. Keep an eye out, though, for sauces, yoghurt and many breakfast cereals.
How Much Sugar do we Need?
The AHA – the American Heart Association – suggests that daily sugar consumption should ideally account for around 7% of our daily calorific intake. To put that into clear perspective, it’s about 6 teaspoons for women or 9 teaspoons for men.
That may not seem like much but it can soon spiral.
Think as an example of a single twelve-ounce can of standard soda. This can deliver 8-10 teaspoons of sugar on the spot leaving you with little room to maneuver.
So, while we do require sugar we do not need too much.
The Effects of Sugar Addiction
Here, at a glance, are just some of the known effects of a diet which is too high in sugar:
- Insulin resistance
Enhanced risk of type-2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Low HDL cholesterol levels – these are known as “good” cholesterol
- Autoimmune diseases (MS, arthritis)
- Poor eyesight
- Enhanced triglycerides
We can see from that unpleasant list that a bulge of extra fat is the very least of our concerns if we find ourselves beset by sugar addiction.
The list could be substantially extended but the above are some of the leading issues brought about by eating a diet too rich in sugar.
Generally, these health issues are divided into four broad categories. Most serious is an increased risk of diseases. Other ruinous outcomes involve nutrient imbalance and overall bodily impairments.Sugar is a MAJOR cause of inflammation in the body.
Last but by no means least, sugar addiction can also provoke behavioral changes.
When we consider these manifold disastrous effects, one question remains…
How Do We Break The Cycle of Sugar Addiction?
It is pointless to deny that sweet foods are intrinsically tempting. However, the more sugar you eat the higher your tolerance becomes and the more sugar you then need.
It’s nothing more than a cycle which can be stopped with the requisite knowledge and will power.
Often, knowing why we are doing something tough makes it easier. Study the above list. If you eat well and exercise thoughtfully then why spoil this by being willfully addicted to sugar?
Also, think of it this way: we often hear the phrase “sweet tooth” but consider the earlier statement about how little sugar our forebears consumed. In reality, it’s unlikely that people were born with a propensity to eat too many sweet things. Rather, poor food choices and dietary habits have brought the situation about.
The good news is that we can pretty much reverse our tolerance in a fortnight (or sometimes even faster).
AWARENESS IS KEY, TO BEAT SUGAR ADDICTION
- Initially, you should identify where the sugar you are eating comes from. Pay attention to labels. Be aware.
- Don’t keep things on hand that are laden with sugar and easy to eat when you experience cravings. Why make it tougher on yourself than necessary?
- Appeal to your emotions. Acknowledge that you are perhaps feeling tired or stressed and ask yourself honestly just how a heaped bowl of ice cream will really help with combating those feelings. Take a hot shower instead!
- Really focus on maintaining a well-balanced diet. Fiber can slow down the rate at which sugar absorbs. Eat more fats/proteins than sugars/carbs.
- High caliber omega-3 fats also negate the impact of eating too much sugar.
- Remember that water, too, is vital. Not only does it give you the chance to avoid sugary drinks but you will be adequately hydrated and consequently feel better.
- If you are hungry, eat a meal not sugar.
- Keep your vitamin D levels in check, get enough sleep, manage stress efficiently and exercise every day [LINK TO LIGHT EXERCISE ARTICLE]. Exercise in particular can improve insulin sensitivity.
Sugar addiction is easy to run afoul of. However, simple and beneficial tweaks to your routine can easily reduce your tolerance and thus your sugar intake. The less you consume, the less you will want. Which is the reverse of the situation that caused you to overload.
Need a helping hand to beat sugar addiction?
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