Overcoming Sugar Addiction

It's time to learn how to control sugar cravings. In this post, you are going to learn why sugar is bad, how to eat less sugar, what the causes for sugar cravings are, what withdrawal symptoms are and how to reduce them. I am also going to give you more links from this blog that go into detail about different aspects that have to do with binges, cravings and the addiction.


1. Why do we crave sugar and what are sugar craving causes?


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There are two natural explanations that give the reason for our problem. One reason is the body's inherent urge to store energy for dire straits - times of hunger and suffering. This is why we not only long for sweet foods, but also for foods high in fat, like cakes or lunch meals full of cream and cheese crust.



Both of these, sweet foods and foods high in fat, have their advantages. Sweet foods deliver quick energy to be used in emergency situations (like running away from a tiger right after finding a fruit - which doesn't happen quite so often nowadays) while fatty foods offer a high amount of energy, best to be stored around the hips.

The second explanation goes more into the ups and downs of your body's biochemistry. It's all about the blood sugar level. Our appetite for sweet food lies in the fact that we have always been taught to eat foods high in carbohydrates (also known as carbs). Carbs are essentially sugars, because they will be broken down in the stomach.

Since early childhood on, we have been taught to eat noodles, rice, potatoes, french fries and perhaps most of all, bread. All foods high in carbs. Many of them, like fries, breads and noodles, not growing on trees. But that is a different story.

And as the body is now, after many years of living this way, used to carbs, the blood sugar level will always depend on a regular intake of carbs. Sometimes, it will go up and down, depending on the kinds of sugars we eat. When you eat a piece of cake, your blood sugar level will go crazy. First, it will go up, as a lot of sugar enters your system. Then, the pancreas will react and release heavy amounts of insulin into your blood stream. This will lead to an insulin shock, and you will be so low on sugar that you will tremble and want to eat something sweet again soon.

So whether it's a regular need for sweet, or a sudden urge to consume quick energy in the form of sugars, we are dependent, or in another word: addicted.


2. Sugar binge - Why is sugar bad?



There is a very dramatic kind of addiction, I like to call it the sugar binge. When this happens, and it happens a lot during strict diets, you suddenly give up all your defenses and eat like there is no tomorrow. You have probably been frustrated for very long and now you can't take it any more. The worst part: You are longing for very sweet foods, and have them lying around at home. Chocolate bars, muffins and other sweet foods.

Once this has happened, something very uncomfortable happens. Only a few minutes after eating, you already notice how your body is crowded with sugars. It gives you this feeling of having an overkill of sugar. And you already know you are going to crash. But then what can you do? It's the tricky part. You are already full of sugars, and eating something else now will make it even harder to go down slowly. If this is something you know, read my post about Extreme Sugar Cravings to find a way of balancing yourself again.

A sugar binge is dangerous, not only for the blood sugar level. It is a surefire way of causing a diabetes. Don't listen to people who say that diabetes is entirely congenital. You have it in your own hands! It's not fate!


3. Breaking sugar addiction - how to eat less sugar



The first step before we can completely defeat sugar is to break the addiction in the first place, which comes by eating less sugar. We won't kill the cravings yet, but at least we'll set up the foundation for further independence from unhealthy appetite.

A good instruction on how to deal with this issue is my article Weaning Off Sugar, check it out. It's written from an interesting point of view as it compares the sugar level to the tidal waves of the sea. I think this is how you could think of it - waves. The sugar level goes up and down, but you can control the ups and downs until there is a calm sea in front of you.

Once you have followed this piece of advice, you already know that you are going to eliminate any future cravings quite soon, and you also know it's a process that takes time and gets easier over time. This leads us to more psychological aspects to consider.


4. Withdrawal symptoms: craving something sweet



The typical withdrawal symptom regarding sugar is the feeling of being relatively powerless. Shaking hands or trembling can occur. If the signs are too convincing that you have too little sugar in your system, then it's probably a good idea to begin a slow carb approach. Eat foods that contain complex carbohydrates that dissolve over time. Certain cereals or breads can contain these sugars, but you must be careful to choose the right foods.

Usually, you can read the table of nutrients to be sure. Carbohydrates will be listed there, and below carbs, it will be stated how many of them are sugars. Look for foods where sugars make up only for a small portion of the carbs, so that the remaining carbs are either fibers (they will help digestion and don't really count as carbs) and complex carbs that get disintegrated over time (hence the term "slow carb").

If you don't suffer from severe symptoms, or the symptoms are strong but still bearable, try to eat a natural sugar source that will reduce the craving gradually. I usually eat fruits such as apple to help me get some sugar, but at the same time to reduce my cravings step by step.


5. Beating sugar addiction - how to reduce sugar cravings



I've already covered this here and there along this post, but there is more to know. One thing to always be aware of is The Difference Between Hunger And Cravings. Often, you will think that you are hungry and must eat, but you should know that hunger is one thing and appetite or cravings is another thing. Once you know the difference, it's easier to stay in control and eat when you have to eat.

Another thing to be aware of is that you can not only reduce your demand for sugar by eating fruits, but also to become more independent by changing your eating habits from fruit lover to vegetable lover. By this moment, you are so independent from sugars that you can eat or not eat at your own will - whenever it's your decision to eat. Not your stomach's decision, and not the decision of some harmful voice in your head.

Beating sugar addiction - in the deepest sense - means going on a low carb diet. A low carb diet, the way I propose it, consists of meals high in protein and low in carbohydrates, with meals only being eaten every 4 to 5 hours. You can find the reasons and explanations for this all over my blog. What matters to you now is that a low carb diet is an ideal way of permanently getting rid of cravings. And it is healthy in the long run. You can give your pancreas a break after years of forcing it to release insulin in unhealthy amounts. This can prevent you from developing a diabetes or even reverse a diabetes!


Let's recap what is important:


  • Go slow carb if you are very dependent on sugars and showing heavy symptoms
  • Eat fruits instead of industrially manufactured sugar sources as soon as possible
  • Go from fruits to vegetables over an extended period of time to be your own master
  • Change your lifestyle to "low carb" permanently to live healthy and to reduce risks for diseases like cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's


Conclusion



It seems totally impossible when you start. You don't believe when people tell you that you can become independent from sugars. But the great thing is: Your body can adapt. Right now, you may feel the urge to run to the fridge every hour or so. But this can change. Have faith that your body can change, and that you can supervise this change. You will feel the difference very soon. With the help of this free blog, you can get rid of cravings, lose weight, and become a healthier person. So stay informed!

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