Is There Such a Thing as “Sugar Addiction?”
Sugar is everywhere! It is present in TV commercials, drinks, foods and many other areas of life. Perhaps you are wondering if it is possible to stop sugar cravings and remove it entirely from your diet, the answer is again, yes.
There are some medical and nutrition experts that feel a sugar addiction is much harder to beat than an addiction to tobacco, or even cocaine! Many people living in the western world are honestly addicted to sugar and use it as a form of self-medication to provide a temporary boost to mood and energy. An addiction to refined, white sugar is much like an addiction to methamphetamine, it rots your teeth and mind, only it happens more slowly.
The truth is that many Americans are addicted to refined sugar and are so deeply addicted they will deny it much like an addiction to alcohol or drugs. If a person does not get a morning sugar fix they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal happens when the person’s body becomes so dependent on sugar that once it is removed, the person’s body reacts in an abnormal manner, which accounts for the irritability, lightheadedness and other qualities exhibited when someone is in need of a sugar rush.
How to Stop a Sugar Addiction
There are ways to remove sugar from your diet successfully and combat a sugar addiction. Below is a list of tips which can help:
- Be aware of all the names that sugar goes by: read food labels and throw away condiments, dressings and sauces made with sugar. Learn recipes to make condiments without the sugar.
- Eat more fruits: eating fruit is a good way to get a sweet fix and control calorie intake. Shy away from dried and canned fruits, sweetened fruit juices and fruit drinks which are laden with copious amounts of sugar.
- Eliminate sugar, flour, white rice and potatoes from the diet. These particular foods have the exact same affect on blood sugar as refined sugar, which makes kicking a sugar addiction even more difficult.
- Stay away from artificial sweeteners: eating foods that contain artificial sweeteners can actually make a person crave more sugar and can result in health problems such as certain forms of cancer.
- Avoid drinking juice; even though a bottle or can may say it is made from 100% juice, it might be sugar in disguise. Drink more water and if you need to, add a splash of juice to give it more flavor.
- Incorporate honey into the diet. If you need a sugar fix, try eating some honey. Learn to cook with honey and drizzle it in small amounts. Honey has the same qualities as sugar, but other healthful benefits that sugar does not and it is completely natural.
- Limit alcohol consumption, because it is made from sugar and acts like sugar in the body.
- Keep sugar out of your home. Do not purchase tempting treats that are laden with sugar. If you do not have it in your home you will not be tempted to eat it.
- Eat sweet potatoes, red potatoes and brown rice with meals. These types of foods are meant to replace white foods like flour, white rice, white potatoes, etc.
- If you need to eat sugar, wait until after a meal. After eating a meal, sugar has less of an effect on the blood sugar levels of the body and a person is less likely to experience a crash and low period later on.
How to Replace Sugar in a Diet
The first step in replacing sugar in the diet is to realize that it is now manufactured and sold under many deceptive names such as:
- Invert sugar
- Corn syrup
- Corn sugar
- Natural sweetener
- Corn sweetener
- Maple sugar
- Beet sugar
- Cane syrup
Once a consumer learns to identify the hidden forms of sugar which can be contained in foods, half the battle is won. Once a successful transition is made from refined sugars to natural sugars, a person will notice a profound difference in the taste of foods. Natural sugars like honey and maple sugar are closer to their natural form which means less energy is required for production and they retain the vitamins and minerals which would otherwise be lost during processing into refined sugar.
Listed below are other suggestions which should help a person effectively remove refined sugar from their diet:
- Read food labels and check sugar content.
- Replace sugary foods with fresh fruits and reduced sugar foods.
- Use natural sweeteners like Stevia or Xylitol.
- Prepare healthy, sugar-free snacks.
- Instead of adding sugar to breakfast cereal, try adding cinnamon, ginger or dried fruit.
- Use maple syrup on pancakes and waffles, or make a fresh fruit sauce.
- When making a dessert that calls for sugar in the recipe, add fruit puree or honey.
Try searching cookbooks or internet recipe sites for more creative cooking ideas and information about how to eliminate sugar from the diet.
Eating a diet high in sugar can lead a person to become obese, which in turn contributes directly to health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and much more. By removing sugar from the diet, a person is better able to control weight, avoid obesity-related health conditions and experience a better overall quality of life.