Why does sugar get such a bad rap? A Tbsp of sugar has 45 calories. About the same as a quarter cup of oatmeal. Both are classified as carbohydrates and will give you energy. So, instead of a cup of oatmeal this morning, why not have 4 tbsps of sugar?
If you choose those 4 tbsps of sugar, will you crave more once you’ve finished?
If so, you’re not alone. Sugar can be addictive. It can work the same way on your brain as alcohol or drugs. It can stimulate dopamine production. It can make you feel goooood. And when your brain gets that message, it demands more.
You may not even realize this is what’s happening. We all know cake, cookie, cant contain mega amounts of sugar; but sugar can be hidden in many unexpected places, and food labels can be misleading – sugar goes by so many different names: High- fructose corn syrup, Dextrose, Glucose, Lactose, Sucrose, Evaporated can juice, Malt syrup – these are just a few. There’s a good chance you are consuming sugar without even knowing it!
Once you’ve gotten in the habit of eating sugary foods, it can be difficult to stop. Do you eat sugar every day? Can you have sugary treats in the house without eating them? Do you choose donuts or muffins for breakfast? Can you stop eating after one piece of candy? Do you eat something sweet after every meal? do you find your self eating sugar when you are not hungry ad being unable to stop?
If the above sound familiar, this may be a sign that you have a sugar addiction. Chemical changes in your brain can be driving you to seek out sugar even if you have vowed to resist.
Taking a break from all sugary foods may be just what you need to break the cycle. While you do, make sure you are eating enough food to physically satisfy you – choose complex carbohydrates, lean protein and lots of veggies. Make sure you are eating enough healthy fats while you are avoiding sugar – Coconut oil, flax seed oil, extra virgin olive oil are all good choices as are raw nuts and seeds. It will most likely be difficult for the first week or so, but once you are out of the habit of eating sugar, it will become easier. Make a goal of 30 days with no added sugar in your diet. Once the 30 days have past, you may realize you feel so great that you want to avoid sugar going forward.
If you do choose to reintroduce sugar in your diet, remember, the tendency to fall back into old ways is strong, as it is driven by a physical addiction. You may find that you can eat moderate amounts of sugar – this can be more likely if you choose to not eat sugar alone, include a protein source along with any sugar consumption, and reintroduce slowly.