Are you sure sugar addiction is real? Most people, when asked this question will answer that, yes, they think that sugar is a real addiction. But, you might not realize just how addictive and how harmful sugar can be. Sugar, it turns out, is very similar to cigarettes in that it causes a slow destruction to our bodies that is barely noticeable until you wake up one morning felling very ill.
Sugar hurts us in a lot of ways, but the most harmful is that high blood sugar is toxic to the blood vessels that carry sugar throughout our bodies and, boy, it is hard to break free of that addiction.
Sugar addicts are unique, they want to have their cake and eat it too. Most people’s solution to sugar addiction is to ask for a substitute: “if I can’t have sugar,” they say, “what can I still eat that is sweet?” This would be like a cigarette smoker asking if it were okay to smoke cigars or to chew tobacco.
What You can do to Break Free of Sugar
First you need to be prepared. No one tells a cigarette smoker or a junkie that it is going to be easy to break free of their habit; sugar addiction is the same. Prepare for a battle. Studies show that sugar addiction is every bit as powerful as addictions to alcohol, cigarettes and other drugs, so you have a tough road ahead of you. The way you feel after kicking sugar and the health benefits are well worth the effort. Here are a few mental pieces of luggage you need to pack for your journey:
You will have cravings – Sorry, but there is nothing to do about this. Understand, though, that cravings do get better over time and many people are surprised when they break down and try something sweet after being sugar-free for a while that the thing they were craving doesn’t taste all that great and the wonder why they were craving it in the first place.
There are no substitutes – Remember, you don’t give an alcoholic even non-alcoholic beer once they are sober. As long as you are using substitutes, you are still addicted to sugar. The only good substitute is Stevia, but I recommend against it because what you are really trying to break is your addiction to having something super-sweet in your mouth.
Artificial Sweeteners are not an option – See the above for a good reason to avoid artificial sweeteners. These chemical sweeteners do much harm to our bodies; some speculate that the harm done by artificial sweeteners is greater than even sugar itself. Doubt that? Check out this book from Mercola, or I have a section in my book, Sugarettes that deals with how harmful these food additives really are.
Out of sight and Out of Mind – the best assistance you can give yourself is to take everything sugary and get it out of your house, workplace and, yes, even your car. Many of our sugar-eating habits are just that: habits.
Tools for Success
Okay, now that you have packed your mental baggage, let’s give you some tools to help you on your way.
Eat often: This not only helps balance your blood sugar level, but it also lessens the number of cravings you will have. While you may feel silly eating lunch at ten o’clock in the morning and having another lunch around noon, and yet another meal at two o’clock, having three small lunches is a great way to balance your blood sugar level.
Eat dried fruit: Many people crave sweet foods after they eat. Eating something like fruit or a dried fruit following a meal can help. Don’t overdo it, though.
Salad greens: Many grocery stores stock mixed salad greens. Eating these before a meal tends to fill people up; they are also loaded with vitamins and other nutrients so it’s a great two-for-one filler-upper!
Exercise: If you feel that craving-monster beginning to creep up on you, go for a walk. Exercise not only gets you out of the kitchen and onto the street and away from your temptations, it has also been shown to reduce cravings.
Brush your teeth: Brushing gives you a sweet taste and many people don’t feel like eating once their mouths have been cleaned.
Drink water: Sometimes cravings get mixed up in your brain and what your body really needs is water and not sugar. Try drinking a glass of water when your cravings begin.
Try supplementing: Supplements can help with cravings, including:
Amino acids: Tyrosine, phenylalanine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), tryptophan, and glutamine can help. Glutamine is sweet-tasting and can be placed under the tongue after a meal or between meals to calm cravings.
B-complex: A good mixture of B-vitamins is essential for reducing cravings.
Minerals: Some researchers claim that cravings are based on the need for minerals in our bodies. This is especially true of chromium, which has also been shown to help balance blood sugar levels.
Gymnema: This herb has been shown to help with blood sugar control and cravings.
A good multi-vitamin: Multi-vitamins can help quell cravings. Many include the B-vitamins and minerals (as mentioned above).
Remember, it is just a craving: You don’t have to be a slave to your cravings. You have probably eaten recently so you are not going to starve – even though your brain is trying to convince you that you are. Often, you can out-wait your craving and it will go away.
You can do it!
You can break free of your sugar addiction; it just takes a little effort. The effort, however, is well worth it. You have no idea how much better you will feel if you remove sugars and foods that act like sugars from your life. You have a great opportunity to avoid many of the diseases that will cut your life short by staying away from sugar foods.