The Deadly Cycle Of Sugar Addiction
Each Wednesday, I have the pleasure of having health and fitness expert Dayna Deters in the studio to discuss ways to help us lose weight, maintain weight, and build muscle. Today we were talking about how the sugar addiction is so hard to break. Dayna’s topic today just happened to be….SUGAR ADDICTION. I asked Dayna to share her knowledge with us so we can all learn the consequences we have to face with our love affair with sugar. The below article is from Dayna Deters.
Sugar Addiction- Dayna Deters
My topic this week will be on sugar addiction, and I have a lot of new clients that have had a tough time with this one because of the addictive properties of sugar.
Believe me…. I have a sweet tooth! But what has helped me will be some of the tips I want to share with you. Before I talk about the tips, I want to talk about the Sugar Addiction Cycle. When you eat something with sugar, you crave it, and then the addictive properties will make you want more. Once you eat it, your blood sugar spikes-that would be your high. Then, the dopamine is released in the brain which will will make you want more. Then when blood sugar drops drastically, you get tired, and feel low in energy. This causes immediate fat storage and your body will crave that sugar high, and the hunger and craving become even more intense and the cycle begins again. There is no easy way to break the cycle. You have to make a concious effort to do it. And you can!
List of health concerns from too much sugar:
Kidney and liver stress
Mood swings and digestive problems
Poor brain development in children
Lack of concentration
Immune and nutritional deficiencies
In fact, sugar is known to cause over 70 different illnesses and diseases including many forms of cancer.
It has been found that just 8 tablespoons of sugar, equivalent to a can of soft drink, is enough to deplete the immune system by 40% for up to 5 hours.
But, before you reach for the ‘sugar free’ products, think again. These products are even more toxic to your body, linked with cancer, multiple sclerosis and many other serious health conditions.
Here are some tips if you feel that you are on the Sugar Addiction Cycle
Step One: Replace ALL Refined Sugar with Natural Sweeteners
This step means exactly what it says. You must get rid of all the white sugar and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in your home wherever it may lurk and replace it with natural, whole forms of sugar like honey (make sure it is organic local honey), Grade A maple syrup, coconut sugar and Stevia.
Do not use agave as it is highly processed.
Don’t forget condiments. They are a big source of High Fructose Corn Syrup. Ketchup is a HUGE one! Check your labels. Our family gets Annie’s brand ketchup for my daughter.
Most condiments will have some form of refined sugar in the first ingredients.
Replace those protein bars with health food store versions that use whole cane sugar instead of refined white sugar as the sweetener. Or make your own protein bars. Whatever you do, DON”T replace the refined sugars with artificial sweeteners.
Studies have shown that folks who consume artificial sweeteners have more sweet cravings than folks who just eat the sugar in its natural form!
Step Two: Increase the Amount of Whole, Unprocessed Fats in Your Diet
The sugar cravings many of us experience are due to the lack of enough healthy, whole fats in our diet. Dietary fat stabilizes blood sugar. Sweet cravings become overwhelming on dips in blood sugar. I used to think that it was lack of willpower that was preventing me from succeeding in getting my sugar cravings under control. As it turned out, it wasn’t a lack of willpower at all. It was because when I was at my worst with my eating disorder a decade ago, I was SO scared to eat any fat in my diet. All I wanted was carbs, it was all I craved. Once I start incorporating healthy fats like, nuts and oils in my diet the intense craving of sugar went away.
It was my nonfat diet that was the primary problem! (of the carb cravings anyway!)
So as part of this step, be sure to clear out of your pantry any item that features a “reduced fat” or “fat free” marketing line on the package. That packaging most of the time means there are a lot of processing done to make that food. More sugar, more chemical, and less nutrition.
Make sure to stay away from: trans fats, partially hydrogenated fats, such as cheap vegetable oils that are used in processed foods.
Good fats include egg yolks, unrefined coconut oil, nut butters, nuts, sun butter, hemp oil, glee (a clarified butter) , raw organic butter, and avocado.
Step Three: Remove All Forms of Processed, Whole Sugars from Your Home
I tell my clients this first thing! Clear out the pantry or cupboards if you are having trouble with sugar and only stock up on natural sugars. Just cut out the temptations.
Step Four: Reduce Consumption of Natural Sugars from All Sources to No More than 3 TBL (36 grams) per Day
Congratulations are in order if you have made it this far to the fourth and final step. You are now 90% of the way to slaying the sugar monster in your life!
The final step involves a gradual reduction in the amount of natural sugars you consume to a manageable level of no more than 36 grams per day. Significant immune system suppression begins to occur above 36 grams (for adults, less in children) so this is the cutoff point you want to shoot for.
How long should this step take? As long as is necessary! For some, it will take one week. Others may find it takes several months. The point is to keep moving forward and don’t give up if you fall off the wagon on occasion. Just get up, dust yourself off, and keep going!
Ideally speaking, some of your days should not include any sweets at all after a while. Having a goal of no sweets ever is not realistic, so don’t even go there mentally.
Step Five: Get on a high quality Pro-biotic
If you have a buildup of sugars and ‘yeast’ in your digestive system, the bacteria can cause sugar cravings. By taking a quality pro-biotic such as Metagenics that you can get at some of the chiropractors offices in town—it will assist in bringing back a healthy balance of good bacteria to your digestive system, which will in turn decrease the sugar cravings.
Step Six: Baby Steps
Cut out one thing of sugar weekly, if you are having a hard time with this. It may work out best if you do baby steps, baby steps seem to help most people because cutting everything out of your diet all at once can be very drastic and may lead to failure. So you want to be doing something that will be encouraging you to keep going. Celebrate with every milestone!
Sugar fuels every cell in the brain. When you overload on sugary foods, it may alter the parts of the brain that control how much you eat.
Think you don’t have a sweet tooth, but crave bagels, chips, or French fries? These starchy foods are complex carbs that the body breaks down into simple sugars. Eaten without better foods, starches can make blood sugar surge and crash like sugar.
Simply put–carbohydrates, if eating too many will indeed be converted to sugar and stored as fat. Some examples of higher refined starches are rice, flour, and potatoes, bread, pretzels, crackers, and pasta. Not saying you can’t have carbs but watching portion sizes is a must.
You can beat your sugar habit by quitting cold turkey. Some sugar detox plans urge you to avoid all sweets. That means all fruit, dairy, and refined grains. The idea is to clean out your system of sugar. But with this the diet changes like this are too drastic to keep up. Changes that you can do only for the short term mean you’ll fall back to your old habits. I like to start by just eating all fresh produce, eating lean meats and staying away from package foods and drink a lot of water. I feel my best on that. Everyone is different so I can’t say what would be best for you. I do think there are some crazy cleanses out there that are very drastic so make the best choice for yourself that you can fulfill the cleanse to get them best out of it.
The American Heart Association says that we should only be getting 9.5 teaspoons of sugar a day but as an adult (this is on average) we are getting 22 teaspoons daily of sugar and children (on average are getting 32 teaspoons of sugar a day.
Simply put….Sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Yikes.