Is sugar really the new fat?
Can we really be addicted to sugar like alcoholics addicted to alcohol?
Interestingly, a study done by the NCBI states that “Sugar is noteworthy as a substance that releases opioids and dopamine and thus might be expected to have addictive potential”. The study went on to report, “After a month on this intermittent-feeding schedule, the animals show a series of behaviors similar to the effects of drugs of abuse. These are categorized as “bingeing”, meaning unusually large bouts of intake, opiate-like “withdrawal” indicated by signs of anxiety and behavioral depression.”
While I don’t know for sure that sugar really is the new fat more studies do show that most Americans eat an average of 20 teaspoons of added sugar a day. That’s just added sugar! That’s not including the hidden sugars that we eat on a regular, daily basis.
We are also learning that sugar is the leading cause of diseases such as diabetes and other inflammatory conditions and other autoimmune disorders. Sugar also has its ties back to cancer, heart disease and high blood pressure just to name a few. We also know that obesity in our country is rapidly becoming an epidemic and soon to be considered to be a disease.
So maybe, just maybe there’s something to this theory that sugar has become the new fat and maybe we really are addicted to it.
Today I want to share my Top 10 Tips on How to Overcome Sugar Cravings:
Start reducing your overall added sugar consumption.
While, yes, this may be obvious, we have to start somewhere. Start paying attention to exactly how much sugar you are eating in a day and determine where you can start cutting back. Whether this be an extra soda a day or teaspoon of sugar in your coffee and avoiding that extra donut at work, start making baby steps towards cutting back. This also includes hidden sugar. This is a tricky one, because we don’t think about bread being sugar! High starches such as bread and other white foods convert to sugar very quickly, spike your blood sugar and sudden release of insulin.
>>Read your food label. Shoot for 5 grams or less of sugar per meal. In the actual ingredient list, ingredients are listed in order of the quantity that’s included in the food.
Avoid artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners are defined as a synthetic sugar substitute. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the real thang to anything made synthetically. Studies have also shown that artificial sweeteners may have even more addictive properties and cause more health problems than refined sugar. The top three artificial sweeteners are sucralose, saccharin and aspartame.
>>My sweetener of choice is organic Stevia.
While this one also may be a no-brainer, exercise can drastically reduce your blood sugar levels. When you exercise, your muscles pull that sugar from the bloodstream to use/burn for energy, in turn lowering the levels in your blood, in turn lowering the insulin supply as well. Don’t ya love how all that works together in harmony!
Increase Protein and Fiber
Protein and Fiber at every meal make losing weight no big deal. Right? Adding a good source of both to your meals and snacks will reduce the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and block your body from going into fat storage mode.
Chromium is a supplement (it’s actually a trace element needed by the body) that aides in moving blood sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream into the cells to be used as energy and to turn fats, carbohydrates, and proteins into energy. The one I take is called CORE Carb and Fat Inhibitor.
Do a 7 Day Detox
I love detoxing and personally think it is critical for optimal health. I’ve written a complete article on why I think detox is important, but the reason I love to detox is to literally cleanse the body of toxins (in the form of sugars, preservatives and all things artificial and unhealthy to the body). Detoxing cleanses the colon, as well as the liver. Go through a 7-day detox and then eat something sweet and you’ll probably spit it out really quickly! 🙂
Write it Down
Statistics show that those who journal will have a 50% improved success rate over those who don’t. Just knowing you have to write down everything you eat will make you think twice about putting it in your mouth! ha! It also reveals different times of the day or other emotional triggers on why and what you’re eating.
This is a biggie! Your body has been fasting for 8+ hours and needs food to nourish it. It’s not about it being the first meal of the day….it’s scientific and speaks more to what’s actually happening in your body. By eating a protein packed with protein and fiber…it doesn’t have to be a huge breakfast, just a nutrient-packed breakfast, like a protein shake with added spinach and fruit…not only sets the tone for the day, but immediately puts your body in fat burning mode, keeps your blood sugar level, reduces insulin production and prevents those sugar cravings.
Our body needs water….for, well, everything. Energy production, keeps the tissues, bones and joints lubricated, skin health, digestive health, organ health….get it? Everything. Replacing those sodas and sugary-filled drinks not only provides the body with what it has to have, but will also continue to drastically reduce those sugar cravings even more. I’ve written a full article here on The Benefits of Drinking Water.
Increase healthy fats
Just like water, our body needs ‘good fats’ for proper function as well. Good fats are beneficial for digestion, muscle recovery and heart health. Healthy fats also keep us feeling fuller longer, also reducing the amount of sugar and insulin in our bloodstream.
>>Healthy fats include almonds, walnuts, olive oil, coconut oil, salmon and avocados.
After reading more on that study of sugar and its addictive properties, it definitely sheds a new light on just how much sugar we consume every day.
Let me know your thoughts on sugar. Admittedly, sweets are a weakness for me so I do try to enjoy only in moderation and find other ways (aka peanut butter and fruit) to satisfy that sweet tooth. 😉