In all honesty, most of us have a “sugar addiction” it’s almost a societally accepted cliché like “caffeine addiction” and often shrugged off or seen as a benign attribute of our modern lifestyles where these substances exist in so many elements of our diet.
Yet for many people, sugar is not a sweet little pastime or guilty pleasure, and the overconsumption of sugar-laden food or drinks carries with it a substantial impact on their physical and emotional wellbeing. The perpetual cycle can in many ways be likened to drug addiction it carries a whole other sphere of stigmas and shame which can be no less destructive.
Sugar causes our bodies to produce opioids and dopamine in the brain that is intrinsically linked with substance use disorders. Dopamine is a form of neurotransmitter in the brain that plays an important role in the “reward” circuitry so often associated with addictive cycles.
While our society, friends and family may not correlate sugar with drug addiction to some degree, it’s worth talking about the mechanics in play and outlined in this post.
Why do humans have a sweet tooth?
In some cases, our genetics may influence how sensitive we are to certain flavours and perhaps why some of us have a “sweet tooth” and others may not. While the jury remains out on genetics and addictions there are a number of hereditary traits that are more likely candidates.
Our minds, on some level, are all predisposed toward sugar on a biological need for carbs to boost energy in times of need. In modern society, we seldom find ourselves in situations that require these sorts of energy reserves. With no fending off Woolly Mammoths or running from Sabre Tooth Tigers so the “threats” we face are largely perceptual and shifted to the disparities we experience in relationships, work pressures and other life stresses.
But “Why can’t I stop eating sugar?”
Culturally sugar is the constant in so many products and “foods” that we have grown up with positive associations. These associations can stem from childhood and rewards that embed into subconscious learned behaviours.
When people are stressed, anxious or depressed is where so often sugar cravings are triggered. One needs to acknowledge that cravings in of themselves can be your body’s way of telling you that it isn’t getting enough of something that it requires either biologically or psychologically.
The question of what the source of that missing “something” is can be different from person to person. The behaviour response can become conditioned into subconscious thoughts and behaviours.
Usually, the inability to stop, in spite of negative consequences is an indicator that there is an unaddressed subconscious need or “addiction”. This need can stem from many sources either present, past or future and maybe simply a mechanism that your subconscious mind uses to signal to your conscious mind but generally that something requires your attention.
Keep in mind that your subconscious controls all your subconscious bodily functions like breathing, heartbeat, digestion and subconscious emotions that are all used to protect the human in which the mind resides. When the subconscious detects “something is wrong” it only has a limited number of ways to alert the cognitive and conscious mind that something is amiss.
Where anxiety may trigger the nervous system, the process of craving is linked to hunger which is resolved by substance, in the case of sugar addiction the substance is sugar but equally could be cocaine or alcohol.
According to researchers, a serotonin imbalance in the brain contributes to the development or progression of depression. When you have a carb need, you are frequently drawn to foods that promote serotonin production. In some ways, eating sweet, carbohydrate-rich foods can be a form of self-medication for depression.
Sweet craving is often described as a strong need for sweet foods, appears to be linked to unpleasant emotions such as anxiety and bad eating habits.
Many sugar cravings are caused by a blood sugar imbalance. When you consume sugar, your blood sugar rises, and your body releases insulin to bring it back down to a healthy level. If insulin causes your blood sugar level to drop too low, as it frequently does, your body seeks things that will raise it and give you more energy.
Sugar withdrawal symptoms
“Exhaustion, headaches, cognitive fog, and irritability are all possible side effects. Some people even have stomach discomfort.” It’s a process, in other words.
There is no clear suggestion for how long you should detox, whether it is 7, 21, or 30 days, due to a dearth of clinical studies addressing sugar detoxes.
Some experts recommend starting your sugar detox with a minimum of one or two weeks without eating added sugar. The Mayo Clinic suggests a two-week sugar fast to reset your body. This does not have to be a complete cleanse but aim to limit yourself to foods with little to no added sugars or sweeteners, with a goal of fewer than 5 grams of added sugars per serving.
Sugar Cravings-Reducing Foods
- Fruits & Berries
- Snack Bars Made with Dark Chocolate
- Chia Seeds
- Mints or sugar-free chewing gum
- The oil of coconut
- Tea with liquorice
- Carrot and sweet potato sticks
- Nut butter with Kombucha
Is it true that peanut butter might help with sugar cravings?
According to a recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, including peanuts or peanut butter in your breakfast can help decrease cravings for up to 12 hours thereafter. Choose naturally high-fiber and protein snacks and meals, such as hard-boiled eggs or even a tiny omelette; a handful of nuts at your desk; an apple with peanut butter, or even crudité and hummus.
How to Flush Sugar From Your Body
When your blood sugar levels are high, your body tries to flush the sugar out of your system through urine. As a result, your body will require extra fluids in order to rehydrate. Water can assist the body in eliminating some of the glucose from the bloodstream. Experts recommend consuming 6-8 glasses of water per day to allow oxygen to move freely throughout your body and to assist the kidneys and intestines in eliminating waste. What’s more, it aids in the removal of excess sugar from the body.