Did you know that sugar is one of the most addictive substances in the world? Did you also know that it is more/just as addictive as cocaine or nicotine? So much so, that it should actually be considered a drug.
Let’s find out why sugar is so addictive, in case you didn’t already know.
First, let’s ask this – Have you ever tried to cut out sugar, but found how difficult it is? Well, it’s darned near impossible! Why? Because sugar actually hijacks your brain (somewhat like cocaine and nicotine, and for some alcohol)!
A simplification of why is because sugar overstimulates the “reward center of the brain” causing addiction. When you eat a lot of sugar, a large amount of dopamine is released which means the next time you eat sugar, you won’t have quite the same reaction because that center of the brain has become numbed, and you will have to eat more to get the same reaction next time. That is how addiction works, creating a “need” to have “more”.
Unfortunately, when you eat sugar, you don’t realize the addiction process has already begun and you will crave it, even if you don’t understand why. If you have ever, in the past, smoked, drank, or taken drugs, think about how you felt and why you continued.
Because sugar is so addictive, it can depress the immune system and will likely cause health issues such as obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes, along with promoting depression, anxiety, and cognitive problems.
What can you do about it? I can tell you from personal experience with sugar, that it is not a simple process, but it does take a “detox” type of process to get rid of the cravings.
Firstly, don’t think that using artificial sweeteners is a good replacement because you could find yourself addicted to them as well. Not good!
How do you wean yourself off sugar? One main way is to make sure you drink LOTS of water. Water will help flush toxins, like sugar, out of your body fairly quickly. That’s not to say that you should just go back and eat lots more sugar! On the contrary, stop eating sugar and drink lots of water as a matter of good eating/drinking. That’s a good starting point.
Another way to get rid of your sugar addiction, is to eat Whole Foods – anything that isn’t in a box, can, bottle or package. Fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, nuts, seeds, healthy fats such as avocados, coconut oils and/or olive oils. Basically, all foods that don’t have a label! If you do buy foods in any container – read the labels first to ensure there is no added sugar, and anything else to which you might be sensitive.
Avoid carbohydrates “carbs”. Not really, just be smart about the ones you do eat. Everyone needs carbs to live healthily. Avoid carbs like processed sugars, white breads, pasta, sodas, baked goods, cereals, grains like rice, beans and starchy vegetables while you detox. Do eat vegetables like leafy greens, celery, cucumber, radishes, mushrooms, tomatoes, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, beets, asparagus, artichokes, peppers, and eggplant, all lean meats, fish, poultry, and eggs. All these things will help you reset your brain. If you find yourself still drawn to sweets – eat a small apple or orange – they contain natural fructose, but limit yourself to one or two pieces of fruit a day (a maximum of 15-20 mg of fructose). All fruits and vegetables contain some carbohydrates. The majority of meats contain none at all, including beef, pork, lamb, poultry, and fish. Be wary of processed meats like bacon and deli meats as they will likely have added carbs in the form of sugars.
So, read labels to ensure there is no added sugars. Eat whole wheat bread if eating bread at all. But really eat whole foods that don’t need a label. That way you are sure to get what you need from your food without added sugar.
Give yourself a good 2 weeks to a month to get rid of your sugar cravings. That may seem a long time, but in the scheme of things, its very short.
If you are serious about getting sugar out of your body, do an elimination diet – just vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, and very little fruit. Do this for about 30 days, then reintroduce foods, one at a time to see how your body reacts, avoiding all added sugars.
Have a blessed day and week ahead.