Sugar is now known as a major contributor to obesity and a host of other diseases and ailments, including cancer. The famous economist and philosopher Noam Chomsky has even said that tobacco is the second most lethal substance on earth and number one belongs to sugar. Sugars, in particular refined sugars are the leading cause of obesity. Obesity is a precursor to a host of diseases more commonly diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Sugar is consumed on a huge scale around the world and occurs in almost every single processed food item we purchase, this can be from potato chips to pizza to soft drinks all of which have refined sugars and high fructose corn syrup.
Sugar is extremely addictive and is considered by some scientists just as addictive as heroin. Sugar once consumed has the same physiologically and is bio-mechanically similar to drugs such as morphine and heroin. People are addicted to sugar without knowing and once stopping the sugar addiction the body goes into withdrawals, this shows that sugar does form physiological dependencies.
When sugar is consumed the body rapidly absorbs it, sugar is then processed in the liver and in return the liver spikes insulin, when insulin is high the body stores the excess energy from sugar as fat.
14 Steps to breaking free from sugar addiction
1. Make healthy treats –Try and make healthy treats and be in control of what you put into these treats. Healthy treats do not always have to taste bad. Try utilising superfoods such as raw cacao powder and raw honey as a sweetener. Go without gluten or grains.
2. Use sugar replacements – Use healthier low G.I. foods such as coconut sugar, Stevia, xylitol and raw honey
3. Get enough sleep – Sometimes exercising your will power will come a long way. And improving your quality of sleep increases your ability to have to more will power to say no to those nasty sugary snacks.
4. Detoxify – Go on a detox, this will heal your gut – healing your gut is where it all starts, do this first and you shall drop the pounds and the sugar cravings.
5. Supplements – Take some supplements to curb your sugar craving. L-Glutamine, reduces sugar cravings around 10 minutes of consuming it, give it a try you will be pleasantly surprised. A magnesium deficiency will give you sugar cravings also.
6. Eat more nuts – Foods such as almonds and pistachios have been known to kill sugar cravings.
7. Avoid processed flours or enriched flours – here’s a huge dark horse, flours and enriched flours. These so called “foods” have been so processed that all that is left behind is pure carbohydrates which are refined and easy for your body to absorb into your bloodstream. These flours are featured in bread, pastas, pizzas, bagels and almost any tasty fluffy white treat you can think of. Avoid them like the plague!
8. Avoid processed foods – Processed foods are one of the main culprits of sugar ladened foods. Some of the least likely foods such as chicken nuggets have sugar added to the batter (we don’t recommend eating chicken nuggets by the way).
9. Stop drinking soft drinks – not really much to mention here, we all know how loaded soft drinks are with sugar, while the diet varieties are packed with aspartame, a sugar substitute that increases weight gain.
10. Avoid artificial sweeteners – artificial sweeteners are incredibly toxic and are even more detrimental to your health than regular refined sugars. These toxic crystals increase appetite while also increasing sugar cravings and fat metabolism. Studies have shown artificial sweeteners such as aspartame which is most commonly used to flavour diet coke and a range of diet soft drinks has been linked to cancer. Check out our post on the 12 most toxic foods you can consume.
11. Eat good quality proteins and vegetable carbs – eating quality nutrient rich foods will stave your cravings for sugar. Eating these foods will also keep you fuller for longer, which means that you won’t be grabbing the sneaky snickers bar anytime soon.
12. Start exercising – exercising lowers insulin and metabolises blood sugar levels in the body therefore lowering sugar cravings.
13. Emotional eating – usually when we eat foods that are high in sugar such as chocolates we often associate these foods with a pleasant time in our lives. For example the present of chocolates on birthdays and other special occasions such as Valentine’s Day has a happy or positive memory anchored to the act of giving chocolates. We have to separate the emotion from the food. Try and substitute the associations between food and emotions, instead of giving chocolates go with flowers on Valentine’s Day.
14. Read the label – almost every processed food that you purchase has some form of sugar in it. Read the label and look for signs of sugar being added to foods that you think that there should not be any sugar added to it. Be wary of condiments and dips and other foods that you would not suspect having any extra sugar added, these foods often contain the most amounts of sugar. Other foods to watch for are rice crackers or ketchup, both of which have a high refined sugar and high refined salt content.
15. Other things to watch out for – Another substance to watch out for is high fructose corn syrup. Fructose alone is not much of a problem, however high fructose corn syrup has been broken down and condensed to a level which the fructose becomes toxic for human consumption. HFCS is another additive that is not sugar perse but has to be avoided at all costs.
Try starting with one step at a time, say for example you are consuming regular soft drinks throughout the day, cut it back to one then eventually cut it out all together. Even if you start off with incorporating one of these steps into your day, you will see huge benefits. As time goes on, try and incorporate another step and gradually build up your immunity against sugar cravings.
Please feel free to comment below on your experiences with trying to quit sugar, we would love to hear your story!
Photo credit: Jeff Adair