Are you battling with sugar cravings? AKA Legal crack. The struggle is real. Sugar is one of the most addictive foods in our Standard American Diet. And sugar is the most available food out there as it is hidden in a lot of everyday foods. Studies show the average American eats an estimated 130 lbs of sugar per year. You might be thinking, no way, not me, but this stuff is sneaky. It doesn’t just hang out in the junk food aisle, it’s also in healthy foods. Hidden sugar can pile up fast. Not only is sugar a challenge you should be aware of for your weight loss program, but especially if you’re dealing with a health challenge. Sugar is inflammatory to your body. Consuming too much of it can increase your risk for health challenges like cardiovascular disease, fatty liver, an unhealthy gut and a number of cancers. Excess sugar can also cause tooth decay, contribute to obesity, accelerate the aging process and even impact brain function. Not to mention, if we have too much of it in our diet, we miss out on essential nutrients from whole foods.
So why is it so hard to break the addiction? Is it all in your head? Yes, but not in the way you think. Studies have shown that eating sugar has a seriously, powerful impact on the same parts of our brain that is stimulated by addictive drugs! Yup, its true. This can lead to increased tolerance and a very real sugar dependence. Sugar can also interfere with our appetite-regulating hormones, which can lead to even more overindulgence. Keep in mind that as you are trying to break your addiction, detox symptoms are common. They can include headaches, skin breakouts, insomnia, low energy, etc. Drinking lots of water, getting enough rest, eating nourishing whole plant foods, exercise, managing your stress levels and making yourself a priority can help you cope with these symptoms, as you transition to a healthier lifestyle.
Don’t forget to read your nutrition labels at the market as well. We are talking all nutrition labels. You will find sugar lurking in pasta sauces, condiments, salad dressings, cereals, yogurt, creamers, baked goods, etc. I remember when I went on a strict elimination diet last summer that it was very challenging to find yogurt, and coffee creamer that was absolutely sugar free. Even my favorite fat free balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing had sugar. It was during this time that I learned to make my own dark chocolate with stevia, as all the dark chocolate bar options had sugar of one form or another. It took a lot of effort in the beginning but was definitely worth it. I felt amazing once I was able to break the addiction.
One of things I personally found helpful to me was to treat myself by making healthy desserts using dates as sweetener. Some of my favorites were almond coconut balls, raw brownies, apple cinnamon cookies and my freezer dark chocolate. This helped me not feel deprived. I also loaded my body with lots of raw vegetables by my daily intake of green smoothies and salads. It helped me immensely to keep my home surroundings free from all junk foods. A real life issue I feel must be addressed, is when we at times feel like eating emotionally or stress eating for comfort. When life pushes me to my limit, I like to do what I call, Change the Channel. I like to change my environment until the crisis passes. I sometimes go to the gym, get out in nature (especially water), call a friend, journal or even take a nap. Self care is a day to day process, for sure.
I hope this blog has given you some insight into the very real addiction of sugar and can help motivate you to take care of your body. If you feel like you need more support, AZ Medical Weight Control has the tools you need for success.
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