When scientists took MRI images of the brains of people consuming sugar and highly addictive drugs like cocaine, the same pleasure centers in the brain started lighting up. This reaction happens because eating sugar releases opioids and dopamine in our bodies. This is the link between added sugar and addictive behavior. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is a key part of the “reward circuit” associated with addictive behavior. With scary facts like that, what does it actually mean to your brain and your overall health?
Sugar is truly addictive. That means that it will alter your brain chemistry and over time you start to crave more and more sugar. The urge for your next sweet fix comes more frequently and you need to consume it in larger quantities and like any other drug, it comes with some pretty scary side effects. Not being able to fit into your favorite pair of jeans because of your cookie addiction is going to be the least of your problems.
Yes, there will be weight gain, but with it, and particularly because this weight gain is brought on by consuming too much sugar, you’ll increase your risk of developing Type II Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and with it, an increased risk of stroke. Add to that the extra stress the added weight puts on your joints and tendons. You may also have painful joints due to inflammation. All these various health conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome and it’s just one of the things you can look forward to as you continue to feed your sugar addiction.
But like with a cocaine addiction, harming your body and compromising your health doesn’t really matter all that much when you’re faced with a box of donuts. That’s a serious problem. Then, as with any highly addictive drug, there will be unpleasant withdrawal symptoms as you start to wean your body off of sugar.
Cut out all added sugar for a couple of days. No more soda, no more sugar in your coffee, no candy, no cookies, no donuts. That’s just the beginning. You’ll also want to avoid all foods with added sugars like bread, most salad dressings, ketchup etc. Cut all those foods out and don’t eat anything without checking the label for added sugars. See how you feel after a few hours.
It will start with a little headache and then the headaches will begin. You’ll start craving something sweet. We’re talking serious cravings. Next, that little headache will start to grow into a full blown pounding head along with joint aches. You may also experience some nausea and don’t be surprised to experience mood swings, too. Some people will even have flu like symptoms and start to shake a day into their sugar detox.
Doesn’t that sound a lot like the withdrawal symptoms of a “serious” drug addiction? That’s because sugar addiction is a serious addiction. Sugar consumption is detrimental to one’s health. This article will examine :
- Benefits of eliminating Sugar from your Diet
- How to Kick the Sugar Habit
Benefits of eliminating Sugar from your Diet
There’s been a lot of talk in the media about the evils of sugar consumption. Sugar is hidden in all sorts of foods including bread and salad dressing. Add to that our love for things like cookies and ice cream and it’s no wonder our sugar consumption is skyrocketing. Unfortunately, all this added sugar is doing a lot of damage to our health and it’s making us gain weight in record numbers.
It’s time to cut added sugar from our diet. Here are four benefits of eliminating sugar. These benefits gives reasons as why a sugar detox may be prudent:
- Consuming Sugar spikes your Insulin
- Consuming Sugar makes You Gain Weight
- Consuming Sugar Increases Your Risk For Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
- Sugar’s Low Nutritional Value
Consuming Sugar Spikes Your Insulin
As soon as your body starts to digest sugar, your insulin spikes up. Insulin is the hormone that is in charge of keeping blood sugar levels from rising too high and converting extra sugar into fat for storage.
It’s a delicate process and consuming sugar in large quantities will cause your insulin to spike and deal with more than it is designed to handle. Over time it becomes less and less effective this is when things start to negatively affect your health.
Consuming Sugar Makes You Gain Weight
Because of the insulin and because sugar adds a lot of calories to food, it can make you gain weight and you don’t have to be eating a lot of candy and cakes for that to happen.
Since the late seventies, when health authorities advised consumers to watch and lower their fat intake, the food industry has provided us with all sorts of low fat and fat free food options. To make these low fat foods taste ok, they had to add a lot of sugar.
Take a look at regular and low fat or fat free salad dressing. The lower fat options have a lot more carbs and in particular, sugar. You may not taste it, but it’s there. Since sugar is much more quickly digested than fat, you’re hungry sooner after consuming a low fat meal and you eat again. The end result is weight gain.
Consuming Sugar Increases Your Risk For Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
With all that increased sugar and weight gain comes a higher risk for diabetes and a condition called metabolic syndrome. Metabolic Syndrome is a group of symptoms and behaviors that put you at a much higher risk of developing heart disease and Type II diabetes.
Thankfully both conditions are reversible and the first step toward better health is to cut out the sugar.
Sugar’s Low Nutritional Value
Last but not least, it’s important to remember that aside from a little boost of energy, sugar doesn’t provide a lot of nutritional value to your body. If you want something sweet, you’re much better off grabbing a piece of fruit than a cookie. At least with a piece of fruit you’re getting some vitamins and fiber with satisfying your sugar tooth.
If you want or need to lose weight, the first thing you should cut out is sugar. It causes spikes in your blood sugar, that then make your body produce a large amount of insulin to pull the sugar out of your system (and convert it to body fat). The sad little side effect of that process is that your blood sugar goes on a roller coaster ride that will leave you hungry and craving more sugary treats.
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How to Kick the Sugar Habit
You know all that added sugar you’re consuming isn’t good for you. How would you like to stop eating it and change your diet in less than a week? Best of all, how would you like to stop craving candy and sweets and eat healthy, real food instead? You can do it by following this simple six day plan. Each day you’ll focus on something different and before the week is over you’ll have broken that sugar habit.
Day One – Keep Track Of Your Daily Sugar Intake
For the first day, simply keep track of how much sugar you’re consuming. Write down everything you eat and drink and start adding up how many grams of sugar you’re consuming. Add it all up at the end of the day.
Now the gram amount probably won’t mean much to you. Grab your calculator and use this formula to figure out how many teaspoons of sugar you’ve had. Each teaspoon of sugar has about 4 g of sugar in it. So take your total grams and divide them by 4. How many teaspoons of sugar have you had today? If you need a visual aide, grab the sugar jar and measure it out into a bowl. If you’re anything like the average American, it will be quite a lot of sugar. Seeing the amount in front of you will help you make it through the next five days and work hard at cutting back on the sugar you consume.
Day Two – Cut The Sugar From Your Favorite Beverages
There’s a lot of sugar hiding in your favorite drinks. Today I want you to focus on cutting it out of everything you drink. That means no more soda, no sugar or fancy creamer in your coffee, no sugar or honey in your tea and no fruit juices. Pay attention to everything you drink and if it has sugar, skip it. Stick to water, club soda, black coffee (with milk or cream) and unsweetened tea.
Keep up this habit of sugar free drinks throughout the rest of the week.
Day Three – Change Your Breakfast
Today we’ll change up breakfast. Instead of grabbing a bowl of sugary cereal, a breakfast bar or a donut, go for something without sugar. Fry up some eggs, or fix a bowl of oatmeal sweetened with stevia or a little dry fruit. Unsweetened yogurt is another great choice. Find a couple of sugar free breakfast treats you like and start having them from here on out instead of your sugary breakfast options.
Day Four – Skip The Sweet Treats and Snacks
It’s time to give up your favorite sweet treats, snacks and desserts. That also means no more cookies, candy or ice cream. Yes, this is going to be hard, but you can do it. Instead focus on eating real food and bigger portions during your main meals. Without the blood sugar spikes and dips that your favorite sugary treats cause, you’ll find you won’t be as hungry in between meals. The first few days will be hard, but it will get easier.
Day Five – Find Healthy Replacements For Your Favorite Treats
When you really crave a little something sweet or feel like you must have some sort of dessert choose a natural option. Have a piece of fruit instead of cake or turn frozen banana slices, cream, and vanilla extract into mock ice cream in the blender. Fruit smoothies are also naturally delicious, sweet treats that don’t have any added sugar.
Find a few things you enjoy. If you’re craving chocolate, grab a bar of dark chocolate with little added sugar and allow yourself one or two squares a day. Moderation is key with these healthy sweet treats.
Day Six – Watch For Hidden Sugars
Last but not least start watching out for hidden sugars. Start getting into the habit of reading labels and avoiding things like low fat salad dressing and ketchup because those things have a bunch of added sugar. Words like glucose, fructose, and high fructose corn syrup – pretty much anything ending in -ose will alert you to added sugar sources. Cook what you can from scratch to have control over what goes into your food. Follow this advice and you’ll be free of that sugar habit in less than a week.
In concluding, its a good idea to curb your sugar consumption. Your health will thank you!