”Facing Up To Your Not-So-Sweet Sugar Addiction” is a collaborative post and includes affiliate links. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Disclaimer – always verify medical information with your doctor or a professional and follow all laws for your location.
We’re currently living in an age of sugar addiction. Is sugar an additive drug? Yes, in a way. According to Healthline.com, experts believe that sugar can be as addictive as cocaine. That explains how I couldn’t stop eating about 10 cookies last night while watching a movie! Sugar doesn’t just come in the white powdery stuff but also in the form of carbs such as breads, cakes, donuts, and more. Dopamine and sugar cravings work hand-in-hand to up your desire for the sweet stuff. The more sugar we eat; the more our neuropathways are reinforced which means we need more sugar to satisfy the next craving. It created a vicious cycle of more and more cookies last night until I stopped and thought about how many I had eaten! Hopefully, this has helped answer the question, “Why am I craving carbs and sugar?”
And, as we fill our veins with the sweet stuff, we open ourselves to a multitude of health setbacks, including –
In short, no good can come of our need to sweeten every meal. This is an issue you need to address if you’re to avoid premature wrinkles and the need for All on 4 dental implants or other such drastic measures. The trouble is that giving up sugar cold turkey is never easy as we expect it to be. How do you stop eating sugar and lose weight? (Which is a great side benefit for limiting or stopping consumption of sugar.)
There are now countless diets claiming they’ll help you ‘scrap sugar for good,’ but guess what? They rarely work as advertised due to the unexpected side effects of such an undertaking, including headaches, fatigue, and mood swings like you wouldn’t believe.
Instead, you’d be far better cutting down sugar intake a little at a time and seeing where it gets you. Less is better than nothing, after all, and you’re certainly more liable to stick with such an undertaking than a total addiction no-go. I’d be rolled up in a ball in a tiny room if I had to cut sugar out cold turkey!
The question is, how exactly can you start chipping into that not-so-sweet sugar addiction?
# 1 – Expand your awareness
Expanding your awareness is the first crucial step on your journey to freedom from sugar addiction. Knowledge of the risks mentioned above can, in itself, proves a fantastic incentive, and so researching the impact of sugar on the body should be a priority.
Once you know those risks, it’s time to bring awareness to what you’re eating. Even individuals with supposedly ‘healthy’ diets can find themselves falling foul to sugar addiction without realizing it. One smoothie or glass of juice, for instance, can contain as many as 12 tablespoons of sugar. Equally, shop-bought pasta sauces contain insane amounts of this nation’s top ingredient.
If you’re to stand any chance at cutting back, then, you first need to start reading labels. Sugar should be listed in the nutritional information and checking this before buying will, alone, take a big chunk out of your daily sugar intake. After all, you’ll find it much harder to put that juice in your basket when you know that product alone has a high enough sugar content to send you straight towards diabetes.
# 2 – Cook from scratch
Once you know how much sugar is hiding in all your favorite go-to products, it’s time to finally start cooking from scratch. While pre-made foods are unbeatable for their convenience and ease, there are sugar reserves in these options that exceed even our worst nightmares. In fact, we’d never touch the things again if their sugar was sapped out and left in a pile for all to see!
By comparison, cooking from fresh means that you know precisely what’s going into your recipes, leaving no corners for sugar to hide behind. Sure, you might need to sweeten a tomato sauce with a sprinkling of sugar, but that’s nothing compared to the pile heaped into most jarred brands. What’s more, sauces and the like are incredibly easy to make in batch, meaning this needn’t take you excessive amounts of extra time.
Without even making any noticeable difference to your habits, this effort alone can drastically reduce your daily sugar intake. While avoiding all those nasty sugar-withdrawal side effects, you may even find that this small step leads to a shift in your eating habits. For an interesting experiment, do this for a few months before returning to a jar for one-time-only. You’ll be amazed by how sweet it tastes to your unexpecting taste buds!
# 3 – Seek alternatives
There are no two ways around it; sugar alternatives can be tough to get your head around. This first thing to note is that things like artificial sweeteners aren’t the only option here. Though these can be a fantastic compromise, many people find that the artificial sweetness they bring to recipes is too much. Plus, as studies continue to reveal, artificial sweeteners can carry risks of their own. While these products are still typically better than extreme sugar intake, you’ll likely want to look elsewhere, too.
Luckily, sugar alternatives, including agave, syrup, and honey, are all quickly increasing in popularity. While these products still contain sugar, their low glucose content means that they provide longer-lasting energy and a slower release of sugar that doesn’t take half as much of a toll on your blood sugar or digestive system.
Of course, all things work in moderation so don’t just drink straight honey like you would soda(I know someone else out there has thought of that too right LOL), but you may soon see benefits of replacing the sugar in your tea with a spoonful of honey, or sprinkling agave in your sauces instead of refined sugar.
# 4 – Be reasonable
As mentioned, an attempt to cut out sugar altogether is more likely to end in failure than not as unexpected side effects take their toll. Don’t entirely restrict sweet treats in the name of helping your efforts. After all, your body may lead you to binge if you get too strict here, and that’s going to do more harm than good. You need to stay off the sugar wagon or on it or however that saying goes!
Cutting sugar altogether might be possible down the line but, to start, focus on reducing your intake where you can. If you’re already putting the above pointers in place, one dessert is not going to spell the end. In fact, you may come to find that you appreciate this as the treat that it is now that you’re careful in other areas.
Remember, too, that overcoming sugar addiction is a gradual process as you ease your body away from its dependence on refined sugars. There may be days where you find this harder to deal with depending on your hormones, mood, and more. That’s okay. Even if you slip up, simply recalibrate and start trying to cut down all over again. Manage this for long enough, and you might just find that your sugar dependency doesn’t have half the hold over you that it used to. And the best benefit is your health with thank you for it!
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