Food addiction does exist and one of the driving forces are foods with sugar. Unfortunately, almost every processed food has some type of sugar in it. Sugar makes it harder to eat healthier, since it’s extremely addictive. In fact, it stimulates the neuroreceptors in the brain that opioids do, releasing the body’s natural drugs, like dopamine, which make you feel good. It stimulates the reward center, much like recreational drugs. That makes sugar emotionally addictive, so it’s hard to wean off of sugar.
Why wean off sugar instead of going cold turkey?
Both ways help you quit, but quitting all at once is harder for some. For others, it’s the perfect route to take. Either way, you’ll be doing a great service for you body and your health. Taking small steps is the easiest technique. Start by identifying where you intake the most sugar. Is it by drinking several sugary soft drinks throughout the day, eating candy or pastries? Find the biggest offender and work on it first until you’ve broken the habit. Drink water instead of soft drinks. Switch to healthy snacks instead of candy. Do this for several weeks and then tackle another sugar bomb in your life.
Once you’ve conquered the obvious, start looking for those areas that aren’t so obvious.
Read labels. Once you start looking at the label, you’ll start to realize that just about everything contains sugar. If you opt for reduced fat items, they often beef up the flavor that was lost when the fat was removed with sugar. It explains why you’ve given up all the full fat products and still gain weight. Condiments are particularly laden with sugar, too. Sugar goes by many names, such as dextrose and fructose, learn all the names and avoid foods that contain them. Whether they’re natural sugars or man-made, they all keep you addicted.
Give up foods with refined grains, such as pasta, crackers and white bread.
Refined grains are simple carbs that break down quickly and gives the body a rush of glucose—sugar. Some even contain substantial amounts of sugar, too. That can keep you on the sugar train even longer. Try whole grain products without added sugar or opt for natural products to substitute, such as spaghetti squash for spaghetti or eggplant or zucchini slices for lasagna. Make your own zoodles or other vegetable noodles to cut back on the pasta.
- The more sugar you eat, the less you notice the sweetness of food. Once you give up sugar, you’ll start to really enjoy the sweet flavor of fruit and probably be able to identify food with added sugar.
- Plan your snacks. Snacks like fruit have natural sugar, but they act differently on the body. The fiber in the fruit slows down the effect of its sugar. Peanut butter on an apple or chunks of melon kept in the fridge can be quite satisfying to a sweet tooth.
- If you have a craving for your favorite sugary treat, get active. Being active can help eliminate the desire for sugar, since it also helps produce dopamine that makes you feel good.
- When giving up sugar, make sure you get plenty of sleep. If you aren’t tired, it reduces the chance of grabbing for a sugary treat for energy. Also make sure you stay adequately hydrated, since thirst can mimic hunger and dehydration can make you tired.
For more information, contact us today at Sci-Fit Nutrition