It is possible to get away from the hold sugar has over you.
I have a serious problem.
Just this morning I woke up and had a brownie. For breakfast. Before I even changed out of my jammies. And I ate it with a fork, straight out of the pan. (Because that’s how I roll).
If that’s not a problem, I don’t know what is.
I am an addict. And it’s like my mind and body have been hijacked by a sugar villain and I can’t escape. Now, if you already know you have been hijacked by a sugar villain, just click below to get 12 NEW tips on how to beat those sugar cravings
Because once you know the problem, you can start working on the solution!
Now, I joke about being a sugar addict, but the truth is, it’s possible for that to happen! It is possible for our bodies to become addicted to it in the same way we could to nicotine or cocaine!
An addiction so strong that we can’t control it.
In fact, researchers have watched the brains of sugar addicts and found that their brains light up in the same way a drug addict does when they see or take drugs. It is a serious issue that you can’t control with just sheer willpower. It’s a clinical problem and needs a serious intervention.
But not all of us are really addicted to sugar. At least not in the clinical sense. Sure, it may be hard to overcome the cravings, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a clinical addiction that requires medication, serious therapy or rehab.
But I know how strong sugar cravings can be.
I know how hard your struggle is to cut sugar out of your diet. To be able to pass up on the donuts at work or walk past the office candy dish without your mouth watering.
And unfortunately, we’re bombarded with sugar from every which way! Celebrations at work, happy hours with friends, sporting events, and birthday parties always seem to be founded on sugar. We can’t always escape the sugar, so we have to learn to control our cravings. To be strong enough to pass on that dessert when it’s offered.
So why do we have these crazy sugar cravings anyway? And why can we kick them sometimes but other times they have a hold on us?
First, let’s get granular.
What is sugar anyway?
To simplify it, sugar is a carb. It most often comes from plants (like sugar cane or sugar beets), but it can also be created (good ol’ science laboratories at work). Our bodies don’t care what kind of sugar you eat. Sugar is sugar, whether is plant or man-made, and your body can’t tell the difference.
What we know as “sugar” is technically called sucrose. And for the extra nerdy who want to be extra technical, sucrose is really two different simpler sugar molecules (glucose and fructose) combined together to make those delicious crystalline cubes we love to sprinkle on those Grape Nuts (half sugar, half Grape Nuts is a good ratio, right?).
But there are other forms of sugar too.
- Fructose and glucose are simpler molecules that are found naturally in fruits, vegetables or honey.
- Lactose is the sugar in milk and dairy products.
- And maltose is the sugar we all love that is found in our most favorite beers.
Now all of these forms are also created by super nerdy scientists and come in artificial forms (plus a few dozen other fake variations), but sugar is sugar. Fake or real, your body can’t tell the difference! Whether it’s honey or Splenda, your innards are going to respond to it the same way.
Now let’s talk about fructose for a sec. Because it always seems to be the source of debate. Do you eat or skip the fruit? Is the sugar in fruit healthy or not?
Yes, fructose is the form of sugar in fruits (and some veggies). But it also makes up almost half of all artificial sweeteners (that fake junk from the chemical gods). Fructose is seen as a healthier option because it’s metabolized by the liver and doesn’t raise your insulin levels too much. And if insulin isn’t being raised, your energy and fat stores shouldn’t be affected, right?
But when you look at the research (rather than just the claims) fructose still has ugly, evil side.
Fructose increases your risk of diabetes, makes you gain weight, wreaks havoc on your metabolism and puts a stop to any fat burning. I wouldn’t call that a healthy option!
The problem with this fructose is that the liver doesn’t have the capacity to process all of the fructose you eat! Sure, a handful of blueberries or raspberries can be processed no problem. But the amount of fructose most of us eat – between the 5 servings of fruit, spoonfuls of artificial sugar in your coffee, the couple pieces of candy and the hidden sugars in condiments or dressings – becomes wayyyyy too much to handle!
So instead of being able to process it through, the liver turns it into fat and stores is! That’s right, more fat storage! And your liver loves to store those extra fat deposits in your belly, muscles or in your liver. These are the worst places to store fat. Not just because they make us question our sex appeal in a bikini or speedo, but they actually damage us physically (high triglycerides anyone?)! All from too much fructose!
Now, I’m not saying fruit is bad for you! They are chalked full of vitamins and minerals. But you do need to be mindful of how much fruit you eat and even MORE mindful of how much fructose is hidden in all of the other foods you have!
So fructose is fine in ‘small’ doses. As long as it’s not the fake crap. This is when you want to be a hippy-dippy and go al natural.
Now let’s talk about glucose… Because glucose is a different story than fructose.
Glucose itself isn’t actually sweet, but when it’s combined with the fructose, you get the delectable sugared sweetness.
Now glucose comes from our tasty treats, but it’s the main molecule that is broken down from our breads and starches. Remember, sugar is a carb. So it all gets broken down into the same stuff. Glucose.
In case you need a review, here’s the gist of how that happens:
You eat sugar. Your blood glucose levels skyrocket! Extra insulin fighters are released to wrangle the levels and bring them back down! The insulin fighters do an incredible job and your glucose levels plummet to rock bottom. And because it’s way low, you crave more sugar to spike it back up! We don’t want levels too high or too low – just like Goldilocks we want the middle ground because it’s juuust right.
So to keep our little Golden Lady of Curl happy, we spike the levels up and down in an attempt to stay in the middle of the road. It’s a vicious cycle. And over time, your body becomes accustomed to the spikes and starts relying on sugar when you need energy!
But because our bodies are complex, there is even more happening when you eat sugar.
You aren’t just fighting the insulin spikes when a sugar craving hits. There more complex inter-workings that bring that sugar craving on and make it super hard to resist!
But don’t worry, we have your back! We know how hard sugar cravings are to resist, so we put together the 12 best tips for battling that sugar war! Click below to get your download now!
So what the heck are you fighting when a sugar craving hits?
1. You’re Fighting Some Crazy Smart Manufacturers
The people who make your favorite sugared treats are super smart. Super smart and super evil. They know how to create foods that your body will crave. There have been millions of dollars spent in research to find out what ratio of sugar to fat to carb is the perfectly evil balance to keep you coming back for more! These super evil geniuses know how to get your body physically hooked on their most sinfully delicious chocolate! Sometimes, that physical craving is out of your hands because your body has become so addicted to that perfectly evil balance of (nutrient-free) ingredients! But don’t let this stop your fight! It is possible to overcome the cravings!
2. You’re Fighting a Chemical Warfare
When you eat sugar, your brain releases two powerful chemicals: serotonin and beta-endorphins. And these chemicals make up our reward center in our brain! So it’s not just the chemicals in the food we crave, it’s the chemicals in our brain that we have to fight!
These chemicals tell us that because we feel good now, the food we ate must have been a good choice! And that we should do more of what makes us happy! So eat more of that delicious chocolate cream pie!
Well, serotonin is our happy hormone. It makes us feel good. So more serotonin means more good feelings! Beta-endorphins are the chemicals that give us the runner’s high feeling. When you are floating on Cloud 9 and nothing can get you down. It’s even like a natural painkiller. It makes your body physically feel good, which gives you a boost in self-esteem!
These chemicals make us feel oh-so-good! And extra oh-so-good chemicals are released when we eat sugar! So, of course, we turn to sugar when we are feeling sad, anxious or depressed. We want to get out of those negative feelings and into the happy ones! Sugar can do that! So we reach for an extra cookie or two!
The trouble is, the more chemicals that are released, the more we start to lose the war! Because we build a resistance. So today, your brain released a little serotonin and you felt that reward! But as you eat more and more sugar, you need more and more serotonin! One cookie might cut it today, but next month it might take 3 to hit that same happy feeling! Your sugar cravings get stronger to give you more and more chemical releases.
3. You’re Fighting a Physical Battle
Sugar cravings change depending on your physical state. If you are so tired you can’t open your eyes, but you want to stay awake, your body is going to tell you get to some sugar for a quick spike in energy! Other things, like dehydration or hunger, can sneakily mask themselves as sugar cravings. What may seem like a need for sugar could really be a need for food, water or sleep! Our tricky bodies like to keep us guessing.
4. You’re Fighting What Your Momma Gave Ya
I know, you never wanted to turn into your parents. But you know how every once in awhile, you catch yourself saying something that sounds just like them. And you pause, with a slight panic that you are turning into them. Well, they gave you more than those silly little sayings or mannerisms you are starting to pick up. They gave you a foundation for your sugar needs. And thanks to your momma, it started before you were even born. Scientists today now believe that your sugar preferences are shaped by what your momma ate while preggo with you. If she loved ice cream, you learned the deliciousness of this tasty treat! And the foods they fed you after you were born shaped your sugar relationship too. Your parents gave you a built-in programming for your relationship with sugar. Now, if your parents are overweight and have strong sugar addictions, it doesn’t mean you are doomed for life. But it does mean you probably have a little more of a challenge ahead of you to kick those cravings to the curb.
5. You’re Fighting Stress
Stress takes a huge toll on your body. And that stress can be physical or emotional. To your body, stress is stress regardless of the source. And your body sees stress as a negative thing. (Now, a little bit of stress can be a good thing – so yes, keep exercising – but too much can be harmful). Stress makes your body recognize uncomfortable feelings. And no one wants to sit in scratchy, uncomfortable sweater for longer than they have to. You want to shed that itchy sweater (despite how many hours granny put into making it) and feel good, sweater free! Your body is the same. You want out of the discomfort and want to feel good again! To avoid the discomfort, stress tells you to reach for that cookie to have a new blast of feel-good hormones! When you are extra stressed, it becomes extra hard to fight those sugar cravings.
6. You’re Fighting Against Your Gut
Our guts are filled with some crazy powerful little bacteria! And there are good little buggers and “bad” little buggers. These bad buggers are metabolically unfavorable. And they’re like big ogres. These guys are powerful, but they aren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. They don’t know what food is good for you, but they know what food they like. So when you feed them junk and sugar, they scream for more junk and sugar! And they take control from the good bacteria that are hoping for chicken and spinach! They help tell you what foods you are craving. Fortunately, the more you resist the sugar and junk and cut off the food supply to those nasty buggers, the less power, and control they have! Then the good guys can take over and keep you reaching for the kale salads.
7. You’re Fighting Your Own Lack of Knowledge
Now, I’m not calling you dumb. But you would be surprised how many people think they know what they are eating when they really have no idea! If you tell me you have cut out all sugar, but you eat fruity yogurt, a PB&J and a smoothie, then I’m going to call BS. But not because you are lying. You probably just don’t realize how much sugar is in the foods you eat every day. Sure, it’s easy to know to cut out desserts. Those are obvious sugar traps. But too many people don’t read labels. Does your favorite peanut butter have added sugar? I’m guessing that the jelly, fruity yogurt and juice in your smoothie all have a few extra grams of sugar that you didn’t even know were there. And yes, those foods seem healthy! But that added sugar is keeping you hooked on it. It’s like giving an addict a tiny taste every day. How can you stop the cravings if you are continually getting little sneaky doses? Start reading labels and don’t let yourself fall into sneaky sugar traps.
We all know that sugar isn’t good for us. And that Americans eat wayyyy too much sugar (almost 400 extra calories per day). If you’re trying to lose weight, your sugar, even the sneaky sugars, can set you back in your health goals. It doesn’t matter if its “natural” or artificial, your body is going to respond the same way. Negatively. And those doses of sugar are going to keep you hooked.
We all turn to sugar for different reasons – emotional state, physical cravings, genetically – but we all do have the power to overcome sugar cravings. Just like an addict can overcome their cravings, so can you. It just takes a little preparation and a whole lotta willpower, strength and support.
So how the heck do we battle those sugar cravings?
We know there are tons of tried and true strategies for combating that sugar hijacking. And those methods, like exercise or take a shower, can work sometimes. But sometimes you need more. You need a new strategy to kick that craving to the curb. So we found 12 of the newest and empirically based strategies to combat those dang sugar cravings!
To check them out, just click the link below:
Don’t let sugar keep your brain hijacked! Take back control and kick those cravings to the curb.