I’m not one of them.
After experimenting with all sorts of diets and detoxes, I have learned that it’s important to work with my natural food preferences rather than fight them, and I’ve helped my clients do the same. Having said that, it’s difficult to practice moderation if you’re addicted to sugar.
So what’s the difference between a sweet tooth and sugar addition?
Sugar addiction rules your life. There is a strong need for sugar at certain times of the day, and often, you need to have it at every meal. You experience strong cravings, energy crashes and difficulty losing weight, no matter how much you exercise or watch how you eat.
Recognizing the problem is the first step.
Aside from the giant Starbucks cookie 3pm habit, you may not even be aware you have a problem. Sugar is hidden in so many foods these days – everything from processed bread, to cereals, ketchup, and those deadly fancy coffees that contain literally 4-6 teaspoons in one cup. Even seemingly healthy options like dried fruit, juices, yogurt and granola bars can feed your addiction, making it impossible to get your cravings under control. If you find yourself experiencing strong cravings, constantly eating sugary foods, and unable to feel satisfied no matter how much of your favorite foods you consume, you may be addicted to sugar.
Why should you care?
Sugar is one of the most unhealthiest substances we can consume – right up there with saturated fat and chemical preservatives. Most importantly, it can make it almost impossible for you to lose weight. Here are just a few reasons it’s important to get your sugar habit under control:
1) Sugar, especially white, processed sugar, is full of chemicals. In order to maintain optimal health and prevent disease, you want to avoid as many chemicals as possible because they put stress on the liver and can result in toxicity and even fatty liver. Your liver is the fundamental detox organ for your body, it’s critical in maintaining health and disease prevention.
2) Artificial sweeteners are even worse. They are chemicals foreign to the body that can disrupt our natural body chemistry. Studies have shown that people who consume artificial sweeteners are likely to gain more weight over time – this can be partly due to the fact that it disrupts the body’s natural response to sweet foods. Not only are these sweeteners much sweeter then sugar, they also have 0 calories,which distorts the body’s biochemistry and the very signals that tell us when we’re hunger and full.
3) Sugar contributes to inflammation in the body, which in turn has been linked to numerous illness, including diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. Inflammation is known as the “silent killer” because it has few external systems, and yet is one of the initial stages in disease development. Chronic inflammation is a major health concern and increasingly recognized as a major factor in disease.
4) Perhaps most important – sweet foods spike our insulin levels. High levels of insulin in the blood significantly impact our ability to lose weight because insulin is a hormone that encourages fat storage. Too much circulating insulin makes it almost impossible to lose weight; and furthermore, the insulin roller coaster throws our appetite into a tailspin, causing uncontrollable cravings that are difficult to resist no matter how much we try. You end up eating more and not feeling satisfied.
Managing our body’s insulin levels is the key to beating sugar addition. The main way to do this is by consuming a low glycemic diet that consists of lots of protein, complex carbs, fibre and good fats, while avoiding foods that spike our insulin. In addition to a balanced diet, supplementing with omega3’s and chromium can help to maintain a healthy blood sugar.
**One of the easiest changes you can make to manage your glycemic index: Switch out a sugary breakfast for one high in protein and fibre. Rather than cereals and breads, which tend to be high on the glycemic index, have a protein shake instead. By having a shake with added protein powder (such as whey, rice or pea protein) and fibre (flax is particularly gentle), you will be consuming a low glycemic breakfast that will stabilize your blood sugar and help to control your appetite throughout the day.
Everyone loves chocolate, and as women we are particularly prone to defending our sweet tooth. Unfortunately that little sugar habit can be doing more damage then we realize. If you find yourself eating sugar all the time, or with cravings that are out of control, you may in fact be addicted. It’s critical that you get your sugar habit under control. The good news is that you can definitely kick the habit, and still be able to enjoy your favorite treats in moderation. Learning the principles of low glycemic eating is the best way to ensure long term success.
Live Fit. Live Happy.