Expert Tips to Kick Sugar Addiction
It’s About Biochemistry, Not Willpower
It’s important to recognize that sugar addiction is not simply a lack of willpower. For long-term recovery, it is absolutely necessary to balance the biochemical systems in the body, such as blood sugar, poor intestinal health, and insufficient brain chemicals (neurotransmitters). Only then can sugar addiction be overcome, otherwise relapse occurs similar to any other addiction.The number one tip for someone looking to free him or herself of sugar addiction would be to have an in-depth nutrition consultation. This is critical to address the unique biochemical needs of the individual. Treating sugar addiction is complex and different for each person.
–Darlene Kvist, Licensed Nutritionist, “Dishing Up Nutrition”
Take Your Addiction Seriously
Remember you’re an addict. A drug addict needs to be locked in a room with no escape. An alcoholic is best helped in a clinic. A sugar addict needs to go cold turkey (no pun intended), while living alongside their fix 24-7. This should never be underestimated. Take one day at a time. Take one hour at a time. Even one minute. You have to kick sugar addiction sometime, so it may as well be now. (That’s the bad news. The good news is that freedom from sugar addiction is worth every second of withdrawal thousands of times over!)
Days 1-3 are the worst. Days 4-5 start to get better and beyond that you will have an even energy, calmness and clarity that you have probably not experienced for years. That’s the time to enjoy freedom from sugar addiction and vow never to go back. Learn from the smokers and alcoholics at this point – don’t have that first sip or first cigarette – it would never be a good thing!
–Zoe Harcombe, “The Obesity Epidemic”
Try a Three-Day Sugar Detox
Start with a three-day sugar detox to begin the process of overcoming sugar addiction:
Day 1: Eliminate all of the obvious sugars: the cake, the candy, the cookies, the ice cream – all the stuff that you know has sugar.
Day 2: Eliminate the simple carbohydrates, the things that turn into sugar in your body: white bread, white pasta, fruit juice and sodas. So many people get a lot of their sugar in the wasted calories of fruit juices and sodas.
Day 3: Learn how to read food labels and get rid of fruit. You have to read the labels because it’ll say ‘high fructose corn syrup’ or ‘sugar, even those sugar-free products have something in there to sweeten them, so you really have to be careful with those. When it comes to fruit, many people are unaware of the high sugar content: The average banana has six teaspoons of sugar – and that’s America’s favorite fruit!
It will be a challenge, but once you get through the first couple of days your body starts to readjust your metabolism. So instead of using the sugar for energy, it uses the other foods that you feed it for energy. It also utilizes the fat cells that you have for energy. I think what we should do is really try to eliminate sugar as much as possible and use it as it was originally meant to be used; sugar was so expensive when it was first produced and cultivated, and it was a treat.
–Fred Pescatore, M.D., “The Hamptons Diet”
It’s a process. Remember, this is a journey not a race. There will be hills, curves and even a few bumps along the way. But crossing that finish line victorious over your sugar addiction will make it all worth it in the end.
–Jimmy Moore, “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb”
There’s a Cure for Sugar Addiction
You will hear the baloney that “everything’s okay in moderation.” But in the end there’s only one cure for Sugar Addiction. It’s called not eating sugar.
– Jill Escher, “Farewell, Club Perma-Chub”
Treat the Underlying Causes of Addiction
In my practice, I have found that different biological forces drive different forms of sugar addiction. By treating the underlying causes active in your type of addiction, you will find that not only do your sugar cravings go away, but you also feel dramatically better overall. So consider (1) whether chronic exhaustion is hooking you on “Energy Loan Shark” drinks filled with caffeine and sugar, (2) whether stress is exhausting your adrenal glands, (3) whether your cravings could be caused by imbalance in gut flora such as yeast/candida overgrowth, or (4) whether your period, menopause, or andropause leaves you depressed and craving carbs. Each underlying cause may require a somewhat different medical and nutritional approach.
–Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, “Beat Sugar Addiction Now!”
Healthy Dietary Fat Is An Antidote
To help reduce or eliminate sugar addiction, increase your consumption of animal fats. Over the last several decades, we’ve reduced our consumption of animal fats, which has, in turn, led to an increase in consumption of carbohydrates in general (not just refined sugars, beverages and juices, but fruits, vegetables and grains). Cravings are a sign that the brain is starving and the biochemistry is out of balance. Consuming too many carbohydrates starves the brain and dysregulates the biochemistry. Animal fats, on the other hand, help to feed the brain and stabilize the biochemistry.
Contrary to popular belief, animal fats and cholesterol did not join the “dark side.” Before WWII, we didn’t have meat phobia, egg phobia, dairy phobia, butter phobia, chicken skin phobia, liver phobia, fat phobia, cholesterol phobia, etc., and we were far healthier then than we are now. Back then, we understood the importance of eating “three square meals.” That is, meals that centered around traditional foods. Bon appetit!
–Pam Killeen, author of “Addiction: The Hidden Epidemic”
and nutritional consultant, www.pamkilleen.com
Your Brain Has Been Rewired
Addiction to sugar is directly linked to an inhibited production of any of your brain’s natural pleasure producing chemicals, which are:
• Dopamine / norepinephrine, our natural energizer and mental focuser
• GABA, our natural sedative
• Endorphin, our natural painkiller
• Serotonin, our natural mood stabilizer and sleep promoter
Brain building ingredients include foods such as:
Avocadoes, broccoli, bananas, beef, brown rice, Brussels sprouts, chicken, cheese, turkey, collard greens, eggs, flaxseed oil, legumes, peas, oatmeal, oranges, nut butters, sweet potatoes, spinach, tuna, wheat germ, yogurt, salmon, Romaine lettuce, and milk.
Brain drainers are:
Sugars, artificial food colors and flavorings, white flour, corn syrup, colas, artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and overuse of starchy foods (mainly eaten on their own and without healthy proteins or fats).When your body is deficient in these important and necessary brain chemicals it sends out a command that is stronger than anyone’s will power to “Find a drug-like food or a drug, or some alcohol, to substitute for our missing brain chemicals because we cannot function without them!”
Therefore the more we use sugar (and alcohol), the more depleted our natural mood-enhancing brain chemistry becomes. However, by substituting complete proteins, (these are proteins that contain all of the 20 essential and non-essential amino acids), into the diet you can very quickly reduce and eliminate a person’s dependency on sugar as this will stabilize their blood sugar levels, insulin surges, mood swing disorders, hormonal imbalances, and restore their deficient brain chemistry (neurotransmitters).
–Deirdre Rawlings, PhD, ND, MH, CNC.
Know the Four Stages of Addiction
1) Stage 1 – You want a very particular substance (sugar in our case);
2) Stage 2 – You find yourself wanting more and more of it (one confectionery bar becomes two becomes three, plus biscuits, cakes, etc.);
3) Stage 3 – You start to feel bad when you don’t have your fix (spot the person in the office who was running late and missed Starbucks and didn’t have their sugar and caffeine fix on the way in – ouch!);
4) Stage 4 – You suffer consequences.
It is only stage 4 where people seek help. If there were no consequences to sugar addiction, we would just eat confectionery, cookies, cakes, ice cream, muffins etc all day long. However we get fat, we get sick (diabetes most obviously), we get irritable, cranky, energy peaks and troughs, anxiety, can’t sleep and more and more. It’s the consequences that make us seek help. By this stage, we’re hooked!
Understand Insulin Resistance
Insulin is the hormone released by the pancreas that enables our cells to absorb glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream. However, if we regularly consume sugar over time our cells can lose the ability to respond to insulin and absorb the sugars, so the sugars get diverted into fat tissue storage. To reduce body fat, then, we need to reduce our insulin levels, and the best way to do that is to avoid sugars and starches, including grains.This little bit of knowledge will go a long way toward motivating you to kick your sugar or starch habit.
– Jill Escher