Sugar has been around for thousands of years, but sugar addiction is something relatively new to the 20th and 21st centuries. As fast food restaurants and even grocery stores are increasing the sugar content of their food, the American populace is increasingly experiencing addiction, diabetes and obesity. What makes it worse, sugar addiction still isn’t widely recognized, even by those suffering from it. Find out what sugar does to the body, how you can make healthier choices and what the potential health risks associated with sugar addiction are with this guide!
What is Sugar Addiction?
One of the biggest epidemics that our nation is experiencing is sugar addiction, but many people have yet to recognize or accept its implications. With the advent of fast food restaurants, processed foods and the explosion of candy and sweet products that have been introduced to the United States over the past few decades, sugar is overwhelming the country. In fact, adults eat on average 22 grams of sugar per day, while children consume 35 teaspoons a day. It can be difficult to know whether this is a lot of sugar, but when experts are recommending that adult women consume just 5 grams of sugar per day, adult men 9 grams and children 4 grams, you can easily see the drastic difference. These numbers are alarming, especially for children as they typically consume the most sugar each day. With these high levels, it’s no wonder that people develop sugar addiction. The addictive nature of sugar is often compared to that of cocaine, and people like it due to the dopamine it releases when it’s consumed. The dopamine release is particularly powerful on those who struggle with anxiety, stress and other low moods, and it often leads to sugar overindulgence. When left untreated, sugar overindulgence puts you at-risk for obesity, diabetes and other health conditions that not only impact your life but could kill you. Learning and understanding how sugar addiction occurs and what you can do to combat it will not only keep you healthy now but could potentially save your life in the future.
How Addiction Develops
As mentioned, dopamine is released as our bodies digest sugar. This experience makes us feel happy, which prompts us to continue doing it. Over time, this can cause sugar dependence and addiction, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies and a myriad of other health problems. The question is, though: How do people get addicted to sugar in the first place? There are three main reasons why sugar becomes such an important part of a person’s life. For starters, emotional eating is a very common trend among Americans as sugar provides a “quick fix” to a long and stressful day. Combine the energy that sugar offers with its good taste and sugar can become your escape for emotional relief. Secondly, binge eating is another route to sugar addiction as a person goes through the process of eating high amounts of food (typically sugary food) in a short amount of time as a crutch for emotional hardship or regulation, which only leads to feelings of guilt and shame. This is not an effective way to combat depression, stress or other emotional conditions but puts your health at-risk. Lastly, anxiety and sugar typically go hand-in-hand. Stress often encourages people who like sugar to eat more of it, and while your serotonin levels will increase for a time after consumption, the sugar lows that follow often make anxiety worse and can make you feel fatigued and depressed. While most sugar addiction cases are connected to an emotional response or need that isn’t being met, some people simply love sugar so much that their body craves it, even if they’re in an emotionally stable state. Whatever your situation may be, there are ways that you can overcome sugar addiction and find control again in your life, no matter how deep your addiction might be.
Tips To Overcome Sugar Addiction
It’s important to note that sugar in small quantities is completely okay to eat, but the problem starts whenever you start indulging or depending on sugar for your daily fix. To overcome this, you first need to make a conscious decision to stop eating sugar. A 10-day detox is a great way to start as it helps reset your brain and your body. From there, quit eating sugar cold turkey. That means no artificial sweeteners, MSG, pre-packaged foods, white flour or hydrogenated fats, so you’ll need to take the time to evaluate your diet to account for these foods that may be overpowering your nutritional needs. You should also cut out the sweet drinks like soda, juices and sweetened tea and coffee as they quickly cause sugar overload. Make sure that you’re eating protein during each meal (eggs, seeds, chicken, nuts, etc.) and choose non-starchy vegetables like asparagus, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant or mushrooms. You also should be doing all that you can to manage your stress. Most pathways of sugar addiction start with emotional responses that your body tries to address, and stress is one of them. When overly stressed, the body releases cortisol which, in turn, causes your hunger pains to increase. Lastly, get plenty of rest. Getting less than 8 hours of sleep each night can increase cravings and drive you to eat more than you should. By following these tips, you’ll be able to combat sugar addiction and take control of your cravings again. This will help you feel happier and live a healthier life, which is something that you deserve to have.
Start The New Year Sugar-Free With Our Help!
At Balanced Well-Being Healthcare, we can help you defeat sugar addiction and get your health back on track. Whether you’re struggling with emotional issues or don’t know how to eat a balanced diet, we can help! Call our office at (970) 631-8286 to schedule a consultation so that the New Year can bring a new you!