Substitute With A Better Behavior
When it comes to addiction, there is no one size fits all approach that works for everyone or even for the same person at different stages of recovery. And theres no addiction too small either to find the right approach for you or your loved one. At MATClinics, we pair outpatient medication-assisted treatment with counseling with cognitive and behavior therapies.
However, when it comes to sugar addiction, medications may not be needed. Take a moment to notice when you reach for sugar and then try to substitute that behavior with something else like meditating or exercise. Trying to keep your stress levels down as you work on breaking the cycle of this addiction can help you have few cravings for sugar at all. Thus, it will make quitting sugar easier because you have other behaviors and habits to combat the stress that might have been causing you to reach for the sugar initially.
How Long Does It Take To Withdraw From Sugar
Youve decided its time to learn how to give up sugar, so what can you expect? Sugar is known to be addictive and to have similar effects on the brain as some recreational drugs, says Adrienne. When you cut it from your diet, youre likely to crave it more. Youll possibly also experience low mood and anxiety as dopamine levels reduce, as well as disrupted sleep, headaches and fatigue, she explains.
These feelings should only last a few days, she adds reassuringly. But they may last longer depending upon how much sugar you currently consume.
Although withdrawing from sugar does not provoke the same unpleasant symptoms as stopping caffeine says Suzie, if you eat a lot of the white stuff youre likely to feel its absence. Certainly for the first few days, people may suffer from very strong sugar cravings. Plus, they may notice energy levels flagging as the body adjusts, explains Suzie. However, tastebuds may change within one to two weeks and sugar cravings can disappear.
Are Artificial Sweeteners Safe
If you place an order at your local coffee shop, it’s no longer a question of if you want cream or sugar added. Artificial sweeteners are just as popular of an option nowadays to help curb sugar habits.
These synthetic sugar substitutes received a bad reputation years ago for their link to cancer, but subsequent studies haven’t found a clear connection to causing cancer in humans, according to the National Cancer Institute.
With those concerns out of the way for now, the FDA has approved five artificial sweeteners for use: aspartame , acesulfame-K , neotame, saccharin and sucralose .
But just because the FDA approves their use doesn’t mean you should swap sugar for artificial sweeteners and keep the same diet. Artificial sweeteners can temporarily help by weaning you off added sugars, but long-term use could play a role in how you view foods.
Think of artificial sweeteners as a concentrated version without the calories a little goes a long way. According to Harvard Health, the sweetness from artificial additives can make you more likely to develop a sweet tooth and crave sweets even more. Plus, the psychological component can alter the way you think. For example, if you tell yourself you’re saving calories by drinking a diet soda instead of a regular soda, you may be more inclined to eat cake for dessert. In this case, you cancel out any benefits of drinking a diet soda with something full of added sugars.
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Things You Can Do Right Now To Kick Your Sugar Habit
Sugar is everywhere. From break-room doughnuts to healthy-looking packaged foods, the sweet stuff is all around us, and its all too easy to indulge. But sugar could be wrecking your health, whether you realize it or not. Sugar contributes to the development of a number of diseases, and some researchers consider any amount of sugar toxic to human health.
Sugar is typically associated with weight gain, but the problems dont stop there. Even if your daily sugar consumption fits into your caloric needs, a high-sugar diet puts you at increased risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimers disease. It also increases your odds of developing mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
Thats not all. If youve ever felt like youre addicted to your daily sugar fix, its probably because you are. Studies have found that sugar stimulates the same reward circuits in the brain that are activated by cocaine and opioid drugs. Like in those addictions, your body gets accustomed to having sugar in your system, so you must eat more and more of it to get the same effect.
Clearly, its not a good idea to make a habit of eating sugar. And if youre looking for ways to improve your overall well-being, cutting sugar from your diet is a major step. But what if youre already hooked on chocolate or ice cream?
Reading To Help Navigate Addiction
3. If you want a sweet treat, go for something low-glycemic and healthy that won’t trigger you.
Berries are great. I love eating big, juicy, red strawberries or copious amounts of blueberries . They are low-glycemic, meaning they produce very little sugar in your blood and body. They won’t trigger your addiction to sugar, and even if you ate a lot of them, there are virtually no negative consequences.
4. Be aware of the “just one drink” phenomenon.
Because of my interest in the addictive process, I have read the famous Alcoholics Anonymous “Blue Book,” said to be a good read for anyone with any addictive tendency .
The “just one drink” lie we tell ourselves is so true. People who struggle with alcohol will often tell themselves, after a stint of sobriety, that they can handle “just one drink” since they’ve been doing so well. They have that drink, and the addictive cycle in the brain gets triggered again. Before they know it, they are deeper into their addiction than ever before.
5. Don’t have it in the house.
This is a very simple rule of thumb, and it really works. I don’t fool myself into thinking I can resist having something sweet in my house. It will not last the week. Probably not even 24 hours. If I don’t have anything tempting in my house, and make it hard for myself to out and get it, that’s more than half the battle.
And don’t underestimate the power of sugar. Seriously.
Connect with Dr. Biali on and , and visit her website to receive a complimentary e-book.
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How To Beat A Sugar Addiction
Breaking a sugar addiction begins with reducing the amount of added sugar that you have in your food. Sweetened beverages are one of the main culprits, including sodas, energy drinks, and sweet iced tea. Opt for the sugar-free versions of your favorite drinks, or add sweetener yourself, gradually reducing the amount youre putting in your drink. Also consider reducing the amount of alcohol you drink. Beer and wine have a lot of sugar in them, too.
You may also like water with a few flavor drops added in. When you become dehydrated, its easier to cave and say yes to sugar. However, switching to foods and drinks with artificial sweeteners may delay the amount of time it takes to kick a sugar addiction.
Opt for the sugar-free versions of your favorite drinks, or add sweetener yourself, gradually reducing the amount youre putting in your drink. Also consider reducing the amount of alcohol you drink.
You can also stop buying desserts and sweet treats. If you think youll have a hard time moderating how many cookies or pieces of candy youll eat, simply stop bringing it into the house. If others in your family are asking for treats, ask them for their cooperation in helping you beat your sugar addiction. Or, you can buy small packages of your favorites instead of a large family-sized container.
When you feel a sugar craving coming on, try to do something to distract yourself. Exercise is a natural mood booster and can help take your mind off the craving for a sweet treat.
The Pros And Cons Of Slowly Cutting Back
If cravings tend to get the better of you, you might prefer to slowly wean yourself off sugar.
The upside? This method takes longer, but it lets you avoid the worst of the withdrawal symptoms. Youll still have cravings, but theyll typically be more manageable.
The downside? If you choose this approach, its important to measure your sugar intake accurately. Figure out how much sugar youre eating every day, and cut back a little bit every day or every week. If youre not sure how to pace yourself, try cutting back by one teaspoon a day, the equivalent of one packet of sugar.
Heres how it works:
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Being Set Free From Sugar Will Be Worth The Work
Is all this work worth the effort? It is if you want to take your health back and truly be set free. Ill admit that the first few days and weeks will be the most challenging.
But after consistently turning down the temptation you will notice the desire for sweets to begin to subside. The more you surrender this area to God the easier it will be to pass the test.
Randy and I call this our Jesus and Keto Lifestyle. Because it wasnt until we combined our faith with a ketogenic diet that we began to experience real transformation. It finally put us on the path to being able to say no to sugar and yes to our health.
How Can I Stop My Sugar Addiction
Theres nothing wrong with treating yourself, even with sweets. But sometimes that sugary deliciousness can be too much of a good thing. Research shows that its an addicting substance that can cause serious health concerns if its not controlled.
While giving up sugar can be difficult, its not impossible. Knowing the reasons why sugar is so addicting and the negative impact it has on your health are important steps to kill the cravings.
How Much Sugar Can We Eat
Many foods contain natural sugar, including fruit, vegetables and dairy products and these should be included in a healthy diet, but aiming for no added sugar will help to support health and reduce cravings, says Adrienne Benjamin, nutritionist for ProVen Probiotics.
The NHS states 30g added or free sugar a day as a maximum intake for adults, and suggests that sugar should only represent 5% of calorie intake, says Adrienne. In comparison, the average sugar intake in the UK is now 100g a day way higher than the recommended amount. But its very easy to consume excess sugar. For example, 100g serving of Special K contains 10g , she explains.
Its really not that easy to stick to the recommended amounts, confirms Suzie Sawyer, clinical nutritionist for Feel Alive! Supplements. For example, for those with a passion for fizzy drinks, then one can of original cola has 35g sugar. And if you also eat a portion of Muller Greek Style Yoghurt with 22g sugar that will take you well over the recommended daily intake.
Here, Healthspans head of nutrition Rob Hobson shares further examples of the average amount of free sugar in a recommended serving of:
- A Mars Bar: 32g sugar in 54g bar
- Sainsburys Fruit Yoghurt: 15g sugar in 125g pot
- Fruit Gummies: 12g sugar in 25g serving
- Bens Original Sweet & Sour Sauce: 14g in 112g serving
- Bran Flakes: 4.3g in 30g serving
You may suffer side effects from giving up a sugar-heavy diet.
Dont Add Sugar To Foods
Many everyday recipesincluding those for vegetables, soups, casseroles, and saucescall for sugar to add sweetness. In most cases, its just not needed. So if youre making biscuits, for instance, you probably can skip the sugar. Substitute applesauce or pureed prunes or dates for half the sugar in recipes you can also use them in place of the recipes fat. Sometimes it doesnt work, in which case, looking for or developing a lower sugar version is the best bet, says Eich. Make your own barbecue sauce, which will cut out the extra sugar in the ketchup. Learn what eating sugar does to your skin.
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Be Aware Of Hidden Sugars
Check nutrition labels to see how much sugar is in your snacks, condiments and meal ingredients. You can easily go over your daily limit just by using ketchup with french fries, since it contains so much sugar. Be mindful of how many grams of sugar are in your food and try to find alternatives within those categories.
For example, there are tons of granola bars to choose from at the grocery store with varying sugar levels. Investigate different brands and try to find the ones with the lowest grams of sugar per serving. That way, youre finding healthier options instead of sacrificing a favorite snack altogether.
Sweeten Your Own Foods
When you look at the nutrition labels on any foods and drinks, there is often a ton of added sugar its made up of. Sweeten things yourself to avoid these hidden sugars. Do this by purchasing unflavored items yogurt, oatmeal, cereals, etc. and control how much sweetener you add to it. With the control in your hands, youll probably end up adding less sugars than a manufacturer would.
Do this with your morning coffee, too. Start drinking it black, then slowly add sweetener until its bearable for you to enjoy. Youll eventually grow used to it and will be happy to lose the sugar.
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Face Your Sugar Cravings Head
The first step in being able to say no to sugar is to face that you have a problem. In the same way, an addict must own up to the fact that control has been lost.
We know its not easy to fix a sugar addiction since we are surrounded by sugar everywhere. Plus our society tends to enable this form of addiction.
Lets face it, we celebrate with sugar, we use it to comfort ourselves and others. Just think of how a crying child is often given a lollipop to attempt to quiet them down.
Is it possible to say no to sugar if we surround ourselves with high-carb foods? Dont you agree that it would be easier to pass a temptation if it were not always nearby?
Would we ask an alcoholic to just be strong around a liquor cabinet? Of course not. Yet we somehow feel that its easy to be surrounded by trigger foods and to just learn to say no. Unfortunately, for someone with food addiction, it can be very challenging.
After all, we still need to eat and we still will have to be around family or friends who consume high carb foods. Unlike other addictions where you break off toxic relationships, thats not really an option when it comes to an addiction to food.
Know The Difference Between A Craving And Hunger
Oftentimes when we think we’re hungry, we’re actually just having a craving. What’s the difference? Next time you want to reach for that chocolate cake, ask yourself: if the only thing I had to eat right now was an apple, would I eat it? If the answer is “no,” then you’re probably having a craving and not actually hungry. When you’re hungry, what you’re willing to eat is flexible, when you’re having a craving, it’s not. The next time you answer “no” to that question, take 20 minutes before you act on it. Often you’ll find that the craving goes away if it doesn’t then allow yourself to mindfully indulge.
“You can also try to replace that craving with a healthy substitute,” says Kien Vuu, MD, a performance and longevity doctor and the author of Thrive State. Whenever I experience a craving, I’ll either go for a walk or sip on sparkling water. I find that if I don’t act on my initial craving and allow some time to pass, my craving will usually dissipate on its own.”
When flavored water doesn’t do the trick, Cassetty tells her clients that one of the easiest ways to lower your added sugar intake is to swap out your usual dessert for something like Lily’s Sweets. “They’re botanically sweetened chocolate treats with no added sugar. A sweet like this doesn’t count toward your daily added sugar intake.” Note, however, even botanically sweetened treatsaka stevia-sweetened onesshould be consumed in moderation, as previously mentioned.
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Warning Signs Of An Addiction To Sugar
- Always thinking about ways to incorporate sugar into meals and snacks.
- Lacking satisfaction with meals that arent sweet.
- Being constantly influenced to eat specific foods or specific packaged products that have sugar.
- Eating just one sugary food causes a loss of eating control often leading to bingeing.
- Having waves of sugar cravings that last longer than a day or stretch into several days.
- Continually using sugary foods to cope with feeling depressed, lonely or isolated.
- Not finding enjoyment in usual activities such as being social, exercising, sex, or entertainment when they dont include sugar.