The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem…
Do you find yourself eating the whole pack of chocolate fingers in one sitting? Do you pick at sugary treats even when your not hungry? If this sounds like you then you may well be addicted to that sweet sweet white stuff, sugar.
Yes sugar addiction is a real thing and could be to blame for your endless string of failed diets and lack of willpower. Sugar can effect some of us so profoundly that it can cause you to become dependant on it. All of us indulge in a sugar rush from time to time, but if you find it hard to control your intake then you need to take a step back and ask yourself why.
Sugar can activate the same pathways in the brain as alcohol and cigarettes, which explains why some people cannot resist but binge on sugar filled food. According to Nicole. M Avena, author of ‘Why Diets Fail: Because You’re Addicted to Sugar’, over 11% of the general population have the characteristics of a sugar addict. Avena recommends not making a harsh attempt at going completely cold turkey as foods containing sugar are so vast you would struggle to succeed. She recommends giving up two things every week i.e. fizzy drinks and sweet cereal or sugar in your hot drink, until you have eliminated sugar from your daily diet.
Giving up sugar too quickly will cause unmanageable withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, stomach cramps and nausea, so a much more gentle approach is wise. However, to successfully remove sugar from your diet you need to really understand the foods which contain sugar, many people are eating large quantity’s of sugar without even realising it. Foods such as cereals. sauces, flavoured yoghurt’s and bread contain hidden sugar, so make sure you are reading the carbohydrate content of your food as carbohydrate is sugar! And be aware that not all packaging will clearly state sugar as an ingredient, look out for ‘dextrin’ or ‘maltodextrose’ too.
A recent study carried out by the University of Utah showed that sugar can actually lessen your life expectancy. Mice who were fed a diet of 25% extra sugar had just half the life expectancy of those who ate a normal diet. Which is sour news for those of us whose diets are high in sugar. But do not despair as there are lots of alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth. Try dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, or even try carob chocolate which is a chocolate like plant and has been found to contain anti-bacterial properties, limiting the need for antibiotics. Also, many fat free yoghurt’s may well be fat free, but can contain over 18g of sugar in one serving! Why not try Coyo coconut milk yoghurt or a natural Greek yoghurt and sweeten with a natural sweetner such as Truvia. Remember, it may seem like your committing yourself to a life of sugar free misery, but not only will you start seeing a soar in energy levels and weight loss, it can also revive your taste-buds. So you never know, even broccoli may start to taste nice!