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Beating Your Addiction to Sugar

February 2, 2018
Plain English Version

What an addiction to sugar looks like.

Sugar is like an addictive drug. That is how your brain responds to sugar. Do not stop eating sugar all at once. Sudden stopping may cause withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms include fatigue, depression, headaches and muscle aches. It is not easy to quit sugar.

What to do

Plan your meals

Start with a solid, healthy breakfast. High-protein breakfasts reduce cravings, including cravings for sugar. The less sugar you eat in the morning, the more balanced you will feel, and be all day. Dehydration (not enough water) can make you feel hungry. Drink plenty of water. Add lemon, berries or other fruit to your water to make it more flavorful.

When you crave sweets, hold off for at least 10 minutes. Try to distract yourself out of at least one sugar fix. Change what you are doing. Do something else. Take a walk or get into a project. Smoothies are a sweet treat. But they must be without added sugars or too many sweet foods. They should have plenty of fiber. Then they will meet your tastes without causing a blood sugar surge.

Ginger and turmeric help your balance your blood sugar. Do not be afraid to consume them. Drink turmeric lattes or ginger-infused smoothies.

Trick your body by eating something sour when you want something sweet. The sour flavor can stimulate your taste buds and distract you from the sugar craving.

Eat healthily. Turn to vegetables such as sweet potatoes, squash, beets, and carrots. Other naturally sweet foods include coconut, bananas, frozen grapes, dates, vanilla, raw cacao, and cinnamon. Berries are another good option. High-fiber foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale make your body feel full longer. They are better than foods such as cereal, bagels and other simple carbohydrates.

Avoid artificial sweeteners such as aspartame, saccharin, and sucralose. These sweeteners increase your cravings for sugar.

The science behind the program

Many sugar cravings come from a blood sugar imbalance.  Blood sugar is the amount of glucose present in the blood of humans and other animals. Glucose is a simple sugar.

What happens when your body ingests sugar? Your blood sugar spikes and your body releases insulin to lower it to a safer level. The insulin may bring your blood sugar to a level that is a bit too low. Your body craves foods that will raise your blood sugar and increase your energy. You’re on a blood sugar “roller coaster” that is hard to get off.

The key to balancing blood sugar is to eat foods that are rich in protein and healthy fat nutrients.  These nutrients will prevent the body from releasing too much insulin. Because blood sugar drops when you skip a meal, it is also important to eat regular meals and snacks.

Source: The Washington Post January 30, 2018

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