I was called a sugar addict when I was a kid. I used all my weekly allowance to buy candy, added sugar to my sugary breakfast cereal, and even snacked on sugar cubes when nobody was watching. As a teenager, breakfast away from home was an extra-large soda and donuts. It makes me shiver just thinking about it now.
But can you really be addicted to sugar?
In a way……when the body is exposed to sugar it affects certain hormones that may cause you to crave more.
Breaking this cycle is so important. Sugar negatively impacts the body in so many ways. When you blood sugar levels go up and down it will affect the way you feel. You can get headaches, fatigue and shakiness when your blood sugar drops. Although sugar contains no fat it can make you gain weight which can also increase your chances of diabetes, digestive and immune system issues. Sugar even affects the brain. In fact, high blood sugar levels increases chances of dementia by 20%.
But how do you break this addiction? It won’t happen overnight. Look at all your sources of sugar and slowly reduce them. You don’t have to remove sugar all together, but you can reduce it enough to enjoy it without negative impact. At the height of my sugar addiction, I couldn’t taste sugar in my frosted flakes so added my own sugar. After breaking the cycle I found the frosted flakes were sugary. In fact, when I decided to further reduce my sugar intake as an adult, I found unfrosted flakes were sweet enough!
Step one is to reduce or stop eating candy. If you need a sweet fix replace with sugarless gum. If you need something with substance, eat sweet fruits or vegetables like dates, bananas or carrots. Then, stop or reduce the sugar you add to things like beverages such as tea and coffee. No…. natural/raw sugars and artificial sweeteners cannot be substituted. They do not fix your situation. Even your honey or agave syrup should be reduced.
On top of watching the sugar, you will want to increase your activity level to burn calories, using the sugar that’s in the body. Drink more water, eat more fiber and when you do eat something with sugar, eat some protein with it. Protein will slow down the blood sugar spike of eating sugar by itself. Good protein options include meat, milk, cheese, yogurt and nuts.
Eventually, over about a 3 week period, you will find yourself feeling better and shocked at how sweet sugar actually tastes!