How to Stop Craving Sugar and Eliminate It From Your Diet
Whether you’re a vegetarian, vegan, or carnivore, one of the best things you can do for your health and waistline is to give up added sugar. For most of us, this is easier said than done, mainly because sugar is addictive. Once it’s got us in its grip, and it doesn’t take long, we constantly crave it.
Why You Get Addicted
Sugar has some of the same characteristics as a toxic drug. When it hits our bloodstream it stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain that respond to heroin and cocaine. Eating just a small amount creates cravings for more, and quitting suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms, like headaches, mood swings, cravings, and fatigue.
The average American consumes 77 pounds of added sugar per year!
Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash
What You Can Do
Eliminate All Added and Hidden Sugar From Your Diet
Sugar can be a hard habit to quit. Precisely how hard depends on just how much sugar you currently consume daily.
A good place to start is to focus on the added sugar in the products you buy. Read the food labels and note the amount of added sugar there is in everyday products. Keep in mind that four grams of sugar is equivalent to one teaspoon of sugar. You’ll be astounded at how much it adds up and how much is in your diet.
Start eliminating these processed foods from your diet. You can replace them with healthy, sugar-free alternatives, or foods with natural sugars like fruit.
Minimize Your Sugar Cravings
Until you conquer the addiction, there are some things you can do to minimize your cravings.
Increase Serotonin Levels
Serotonin is the body’s feel-good neurotransmitter and can help minimize cravings. Higher levels of serotonin also help you to sleep better and boost your moods.
For more serotonin, try the following:
- Get plenty of sunshine. It’s scientifically proven that sunlight increases serotonin levels. No wonder we feel so good after a day at the beach!
- Take Rhodiola. Rhodiola is an adaptogen that can raise serotonin levels and feel-good opioids. Opioids produce morphine-like effects and are commonly used for pain relief.
- Try 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan). The body converts 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) to serotonin and can help with sleep, mood, anxiety, appetite, and pain.
Supplement With Magnesium and Vitamin C
Magnesium deficiency is common for people on a plant-based diet and those who eat a lot of grains. Older adults also need more (check here for recommended amounts). If you’re deficient, it can increase sugar cravings.
Another supplement that can help minimize sugar cravings is Vitamin C. Take 2,000 milligrams a day, but only during the sugar detox process and until strong cravings decrease or stop.
Always check with your doctor before taking supplements, especially if you take medications or have a preexisting condition.
It’s normal to indulge during special occasions and holidays; I do. But keep in mind that as soon are you start eating sugar again, the addiction and cravings return quickly.
More Reasons to Give Up Sugar
Sugar damages your skin, promotes premature aging and causes hard-to-lose weight. But there’s something much worse: it feeds and promotes cancer. The sugar and cancer connection is not well-known, nor has it been publicized in mainstream sources. Yet, the connection is backed by solid research, including the following:
- Pancreatic cancer cells use the sugar fructose to help tumors grow more quickly. This was discovered by researchers at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. They concluded that anyone wishing to cut their cancer risk should start by reducing the amount of sugar they eat.
- Depriving cancer cells of glucose leads to cancer cell death. The research was conducted by Thomas Graeber (a professor of molecular and medical pharmacology) and colleagues, and then published on June 26, 2012, in the journal Molecular Systems Biology.
- Sugar feeds tumors. Research that was done by the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, states “. . tumor cells use a lot more glucose than normal cells. Our research helps show how this process takes place, and how it might be stopped to control tumor growth.”
- Women in their teens who ate high–glycemic foods that increased their blood glucose levels had a higher incidence of breast cancer later in life. The study was done by Harvard Medical School in 2004.
- Cancers are so sensitive to the sugar supply that cutting that supply will suppress cancer. This was the conclusion of a comprehensive review of the literature on carbohydrates and their direct and indirect effect on cancer cells. It was published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism in October of 2011.
With so many reasons to give up added sugar can you afford not to? I can guarantee from experience that once you do, you will not miss it. And your body and mind will thank you.
“Sugar Love (A not so sweet story)” By Rich Cohen, National Geographic
“Smile! This Sugar Helps Your Teeth”, John Doullard
© 2021 Living Well Health Coach
Disclaimer: The information on this site is for information purposes only. It is not intended to replace your healthcare professional or provide diagnosis or treatment.