When I was growing up I had cravings for sugar. One day my middle school teacher told me – “Sugar is a white poison!”
That statement stuck with me for rest of my life. I decided to find an answer to the most important question – “ Why Sugar is so bad for health?”
Some of the harmful effects of refined or added sugar on the body which are proven by scientific studies showed that excess consumption of refined sugar or added sugar :
- Cause non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH)
- Increase cholesterol and triglycerides level leading to cardiovascular disease
- Cause insulin resistance and leads to type II diabetes
- Raise uric acid and can cause chronic kidney disease
- Increase risk of obesity, weight gain and Metabolic syndrome
- Cause early aging
- Artificial Sugar contains no essential nutrients and cause cavities in teeth
How sugar addiction works ?
Look at chart below –
High glycemic index food like cupcake/coke follows the red line and low glycemic index foods like veggies/meal/nuts follows blue line.
30 mins after the sugary meal, your blood glucose will be very high, your body will produce insulin which will signal your fat cells and muscle cells to soak up the glucose. This is how your body accumulates fat.
1 hour after the sugary meal, your blood glucose goes back to fasting levels.
1.5–2 hours later, your blood glucose will be below fasting levels. During this period, your body will want you to eat something that raises your glucose. You will be craving sugar and flour. Give in to the craving and the cycle starts over.
If you do eat something, your brain will produce dopamine to “reward” you, which means you enjoy the food.
Eating a lot of sugar will cause you to crave more sugar. That is how sugar addiction works.
How to stop sugar cravings ?
- Make the decision to QUIT
Commit yourself to at least 10 days to start getting sugar out of your body and life. The changes outlines below will reset your brain and body!
- Reduce your intake of processed foods and increase your intake of whole foods, nutrient dense rich foods and good healthy fats.
For example increase intake of :
Chromium rich foods: Broccoli, sweet potatoes, apples and whole grains
Magnesium rich foods: Dark leafy greens, raw cacao, nuts and seeds, brown rice, quinoa, and avocado.
Zinc rich foods: Whole grains, pumpkin seeds, pastured eggs, and oysters.
- Distract yourself, go for a walk
Cravings usually last for 10-20 minutes maximum. You can distract yourself with something else during that time, go for a drive, a walk, music, meditation.
- Keep yourself hydrated
Sometimes drinking water can help with the sugar cravings. Drinking flavoured waters with cucumber, mint, lemon/watermelon and ginger can help reduce the cravings immensely.
- Manage your stress levels
When your stressed your cortisol levels shoot up, this can drive up your hunger and lead to sugar cravings. Meditation and listening to music will help you.
- Explore your emotional issues around your sugar cravings
Many times our craving for sugar is more for an emotional need that isn’t being met, may be you are craving for a real relationship when you get home from work and all you need is companionship but you don’t have that so you eat instead.
- Educate yourself
Sugar seeps into everything. Sugar has different names. Read labels. In the United States, six high-intensity sugar substitutes have been approved for use: aspartame, sucralose, neotame, acesulfame potassium, saccharin, and advantame. Instead use Stevia which has been widely used as a natural sweetener in South America for centuries. It has zero glycemic index and zero calories and it is becoming popular in many other countries.