Dangers of Sugar Addiction & how to kick it

Dangers of sugar addiction and how to kick it

Almost every single day, more and more studies are proving that sugar is addictive and it plays a major role in the development of many major diseases from heart disease, diabetes, cancers, Alzheimer’s, just to name a few. Sugar is very topical these days, everyone is talking about it, but what can we do about it? More importantly, dear reader, could you, perhaps, be one of many who is eating too much sugar?

Some obvious signs that you may be addicted to sugar are:

  • You constantly crave sugar and simple carbohydrate foods like bread, pastries, cakes, biscuits, coffee with sugar, etc…

  • You crave meat and salty foods (as a way for body to seek balance as you are eating too much sweet foods – and it works vice versa too),

  • You can not stop eating simple carbohydrates and “will power” simply does not work

  • You eat them so much and can get to the point of being sick from the quantity you have eaten?

If any of the above is YOU – yes, you indeed may be eating way too much sugar or simple carbohydrates, in general.

But, do not worry as you are not the only one and it can be changed. I used to be the same. For years. Because I ate healthily the rest of the time, I convinced myself that it was OK. Everything in balance, right? Well, wrong! For me, anyway. Feeling that I was not in control and could not stop was driving me crazy. I don’t know about you, but Nutella was MY poison of choice. I even had a nickname given to me. I would sneak into the kitchen just to have “one little teaspoon”. And then I kept going for more, until I felt I was going to be sick or realising that in the space of two to three days it was all gone. Guilt galore! The truth is, with that action, I was undoing all the great work I was doing the rest of the day. Because of the way I felt emotionally (guilty, frustrated, disappointed) as well as physically (possible diarrhea, stomach pain, occasional spots on my face), I decided to take action…

Most people have their poison. What is yours?

Whatever it is, I can assure you that it can be kicked. I have not touched Nutella for months now (including other sugary snacks) although I have handled it many times (and have it in the house) to spread it over pancakes for my boys. The more strength I have demonstrated to myself, the more I wanted to continue. It happened primarily because of the internal shift that was happening when I finally wanted to live with more integrity of a health coach that I was than I needed my “fix” and I also wanted to be the best version of myself and sugar fixes were not taking me in the direction where I wanted to go. I had to wake up.

When I made that decision, I then started changing habits of not eating sugar overall, cleaned up my diet further and even took out added salt from my diet (as it occurs naturally in foods anyway). This eliminated cravings and also set up new, healthier behaviours in motion that created new, healthier habits. My body simply did not need it any more. It truly feels like freedom. Last six months I have gone through many family celebrations and resisted cake and alcohol, to name a few. My husband can not recognise me and neither can I. And it feels so good. I am not saying never again to lick an ice cream, but, I feel that it is way too soon. I do not feel deprived from not having it and I am passionate to share a bit of wisdom with you from my experience and perhaps help you reduce sugar in YOUR diet. Because some of you just know you simply must do that as things may be out of control. You feel it.

The truth is, we all need a small amount of sugar to function. Government has set daily adult sugar intake to a limit of 90 grams for adults (it includes natural and added sugars), whilst there is no guidance on children’s upper overall sugar limit intake. There is, however, guidance on the amount of free sugars or added sugar. That limit for adults is 25 grams for women and 37 grams for men, whilst it is, on average, 25 grams for children (depending on the age, it ranges from 19 grams for 4-6 year olds, to 30 grams for children aged 11 and above.)

To put it all in perspective, one can of fizzy drink or a fruit juice is around 40 grams of sugar. So, just this puts us over the limit and you can imagine how much more we could be having if we have a cake or biscuit on top, start our day with cereals or pastries, put dressing on our salads or sauces over our food (that are high in both sugar as well as salt), etc. No wonder we are addicted. On average, research shows that children, in particular, have three times more sugar than they should on a daily basis. Adults are right there too. It has been estimated that an average Brit is eating sugar by pounds, over 100 lbs of sugar per year.

Have a look what the health implications are for sugar over consumption:

  • Cycle of sugar highs and lows, which effect our energy levels throughout the day, focus and concentration as well as our moods.

  • Same cycle causes us to over eat and store excess weight, which, in turn, can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, just to name a few major conditions that have all been linked to sugar.

  • It lowers our immunity making us more susceptible to immunity related conditions.

  • It causes tooth decay that has become more and more common in children

So, given health implications, we must kick the sugar habit, like our life depended on it – because it does! The science shows that eating sugar emits the same signals in our brain that drugs, such as cocaine, activate. It is easy to give a solution to a healthy, active lifestyle, but, given the nature of sugar, my experience tells me that it is easier said than done. However, it CAN be done and you CAN do it, you must believe in this!

Here are some tips how you can start kicking the sugar addiction:

  1. Eat three meals and two to three snacks OR five to six small meals a day. For most people, if you don’t eat regularly, your blood sugar level will drop – hunger sets in and so does the craving for sugary/ carby snacks.

  2. Eating a good, balanced breakfast is essential to prevent sugar cravings. I recommend a very special Healthy Breakfast to all my clients that my whole family use that is easy, quick and nutritious and gives body all it needs in a perfect balance. The typical breakfast full of carbs and sugary or starchy foods is the worst option since you’ll have cravings all day (cereals/ bread etc.).

  3. Try to incorporate protein, fibre & fat with each meal. This helps control blood sugar levels. Make sure they are healthy sources of each. Example: Tofu or oily Fish combined with large salad made out of courgettes, carrots, tomato & pepper in a little olive oil and fresh lemon juice.

  4. Take a Pharmaceutical Grade multivitamin and mineral supplement, Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin D3. Nutrient deficiencies can make cravings worse and the fewer nutrient deficiencies, the fewer cravings. Certain nutrients seem to improve blood sugar control including Chromium, Vitamin B3 and Magnesium. Rather than buying them separately, Good quality Multivitamin & Mineral is preferable.

  5. Add naturally sweet foods to your meal: Use a little bit of raw honey rather than sugar is far better alternative. Squash & sweet potato instead of potatoes. In the evenings have plain yoghurt with some berries or some warm honey water. Have a piece of fruit instead of a cake!

  6. Cleanse Your Colon. There are parasites that live in the colon and feed on sugar, making us crave refined sugars and carbs even more. I recommend an amazing programme that helps cleanse colon –  Your skin will clear up, you’ll have more energy and retain less water, and pretty much everything in your body will feel and look better than ever, not to mention your sugar cravings disappearing.

  7. Spice It Up. Spices such as cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, cloves & cardamom will naturally sweeten your foods and reduce cravings.

  8. Analyse. Write down when and why you are craving sugar to help you come up with what triggers are and a plan to break the cycle.

  9. Explore the emotional issues around your sugar addiction. We could be substituting an emotional need that isn’t being met with sugar.

  10. Get enough sleep. When tired, we often turn to sugar for energy. Also, it triggers cortisol, fat storing hormone that encourages weight gain.

  11. Break habits that involve sugar. Watching late TV, going for a coffee with a friend or to a party almost always involve some sugary food. Read a book instead, occupy yourself, plan your outing and commit before going out to what you will eat and drink and, of course, make a healthy choice.

  12. Practice Distraction. If it works with children, it works for adults too. It is said that cravings usually last for 10-20 minutes maximum. If you can distract yourself with something else, like going for a walk, it often passes. The more you do this, the easier it gets and the cravings get easier to deal with and you will develop habit how to deal with them.

  13. Get Active. Whatever form of exercise you do, be it yoga, walking, dance swimming – it will boost your energy & mood, relieve tension and decrease your need for a sugar high. Exercise has been found to have a positive effect on our blood sugar levels.

  14. No sugary snacks in the house or office. Out of sight – out of mind! Go cold turkey! Sometimes, this is the only way.

  15. Get Educated on food labels. Educate yourself about what you’re putting into your body. Learn to read labels. Food can be very cleverly marketed and that yoghurt that is portrayed as healthy could be loaded with sugar.

  16. Watch Hidden Sugars. Sauces, dips, soups, baked beans, etc… are all loaded with sugar (and salt).

  17. Watch Sugars in Disguise. Most of the complex carbohydrates we consume like bread, including whole wheat, cereals, bagels and pasta aren’t really complex at all – they are highly refined & act just like sugars in the body. Same with fruit juices. It is not a substitute for fruit. 330ml of fruit juice contain over 40 grams of sugar – like eating several bananas in one go! The same sugar content as in one can of coke.

  18. Drink lots of Water. Sometimes we are thirsty rather than hungry. Drinking water can help with the sugar cravings.

  19. Eliminate added Salt – as mentioned above, in the same way as too much sugar makes us crave salty foods and meats – also is true that too many salty foods and animal products, especially processed meats, will make us crave sugar as a body’s way of seeing balance.

  20. Work on your Mindset. This may be the final point, but do not underestimate it. It could be the one that makes all the difference. Your mind is powerful beyond measure. You can only achieve an idea if it is clearly planted in your mind and remains a daily focus. Where focus goes, energy flows. Focus on being healthy with vibrant energy and at your goal weight. Why? Because life is a lot more beautiful when you are not sick or lack energy or when can move effortlessly because you are not carrying excess weight. You already know what to choose in order to have that kind of health. It is not easy, but it is worth it! That is how you truly honour the gift you were given that is your body.

Here is to kicking the sugar habit! Because you are worth it! You are sweet & beautiful already!

I would also like to invite you to take a FREE ONLINE Wellness Evaluation and find out how well your own diet is balanced.

Thank you for reading!

Your Partner in Health,

Sanela

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