20 Apr Sugar addiction
Breaking the sugar addiction habit by Karen Mannion
Sugar is one of those foods that many of us just can’t seem to do without.
Physiologically, sugar from carbohydrate foods can have nutritional benefits, especially when it comes from the right food source – it can provide us with the energy to keep us alive. There are foods that provide us with energy from both good and bad sources.
Carbohydrates are in fact the main source of our energy and they can come from healthy wholefood sources such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. But then there are the types of carbohydrates that have very little benefit to us. These come in the form of refined carbohydrates from sweets, crisps, biscuits, cakes, white bread, white pasta, white rice.
These spike our blood sugar levels and provide us with a sugar high. They contribute to health conditions such as type two diabetes, imbalances in our sex hormones such as raised oestrogen levels, and they can cause an imbalance in our gut bacteria, leaving us feeling bloated, constipated and with other digestive issues.
Conversely, wholefoods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are very nutrient dense foods which promote our health and leave us feeling satisfied without the desire for sugar cravings. They contain lots of vitamins and minerals to fuel our cells to generate energy, and they also contain fibre which slows down the rate at which our blood sugar levels increase.
Refined carbohydrates can be attractive when we are looking for a quick fix. They provide us with an instant energy high when we are feeling tired. They can also be a really useful distraction when we don’t want to think about challenging feelings such as boredom, stress, depression and even excitement. It’s important to note that sugary foods are associated with the reward system in the body that produces a brain chemical called dopamine.
We produce dopamine when we anticipate a sugary treat and many people are addicted to the feeling that dopamine gives us. Let’s not forget that many food companies spend a lot of time making foods addictive so that we’ll keep going back to buy more. Certain combinations such as sugar and fat (found in ice cream for example) can be highly addictive.
Top tips to wean ourselves off sugar:
Sometimes, it can be as simple as eating a more nutrient dense diet to break our sugar habit. Balanced meals containing wholefoods such as fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds are full of vitamins and minerals which nourish our cells and leave us feeling satisfied. When we are feeling nourished in a healthy way, we are less likely to crave sugar.
To break the sugar habit, we need to become aware of such feelings, an emotional hunger which cannot be satisfied with a meal. There are many healthy methods we can use to regulate our feeling, such as the use of essential oils or getting up and doing something different. These are ways to interrupt the thinking pattern that keeps us stuck in the habit of mindless eating.
Another way to break the habit is to use a blood glucose monitor (widely available for less than £20) to experience which foods cause healthy blood sugar levels and which ones cause levels to spike. When you can see for yourself the levels of damage caused by refined sugars, you become more engaged in giving up. It almost becomes like a game to win.
Find out more about Karen Mannion
Karen Mannion is a nutritional therapist and mindset coach specialising in fibroid and hormone health – www.thehealthcreator.co.uk
If you would like a kickstart in learning how to break the sugar addiction, please feel free to download Karen’s free booklet from her profile on Instagram The Health Creator @the_health_creator