How to finally break free from your sugar addiction

Food cravings can often simply be hunger or thirst, but if you are finding yourself craving sweets consistently throughout the day, it may be time to examine why and determine the root cause. 

Food cravings can indicate a need for comfort, because you may not be feeling emotionally supported. It can also indicate a need for comfort in a physical form, like a hug. What you really may need is pleasure, love, or acceptance. 

Where do cravings come from? 

The S.A.D., which is an acronym for the Standard American Diet, typically consists of high calorie and low nutrition, which leaves us fatigued and unsatisfied. This makes it really easy for us to reach for sugar and other stimulants to upkeep our energy.  Also, an unbalance diet can cause hormonal and blood sugar imbalance, leading to cravings.
The culprit that we also most often overlook is sleep.  After sleep deprivation, the pleasure-seeking centers of the brain are activated, which increases cravings for stimulating and sugary food options.

Is Sugar Addictive?
A study found that sugar stimulates the same part of the brain as cocaine and heroin, and even sugar-substitutes are four times more addictive than cocaine.  If you experience withdrawal symptoms like headache, moodiness, and irritability when you don’t have your usual sugar dose, you may be are chemically addicted.  
You may want to and even understand why it’s important to detox from sugar, but if it’s too difficult, it’s because the food industry does a great job in making sure you are chemically addicted to their product. It is manufactured to create addiction.  A recent study done by Ahmed’s in France showed that intense sweetness – not just refined sugar, but also artificial sweeteners – surpasses cocaine as a reward in laboratory animals.  One of the most addictive substances is high fructose corn syrup. High fructose corn syrup may be worse of a culprit than white sugar because it is known to contain double the sweetness as sugar and considered twice as addictive.  

How do I end my sugar cravings?
It is very important to determine if you are actually hungry before you eat. Ask yourself:, Could I eat a cup of broccoli or an apple right now? If you can, then you are most likely “physically hungry”. If the answer is no, you may be wanting to eat your craving out of boredom or discomfort. Many times, what you really may need is a walk, a hug, or a nap.  Teas, baths, and hot showers are also very comforting.

Another aspect to consider is understanding how our minds are conditioned when it comes to cravings.  Most of us have been conditioned since childhood to use food as a reward. We were told that if we were good, we could eat cookies or cake later. So we grow up as adults believing that we are “treating” ourselves with junk food. 

Instead, let’s reconsider what it means to “treat” ourselves.  Is filling your up our body and mind with chemically addictive substances that could potentially lead to long-term health issues complications down the line really “treating” ourselves?  Isn’t a delicious, fulfilling and nutritionally dense meal what the body really deserves? 

So what can I actually eat?
Natural sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup, and organic coconut palm sugar are healthier options and can be used in foods and drinks. They are not known to cause the chemical addiction that white sugars and HFCS do. 

So enjoy clean food with much love and sweetness. That’s what you actually deserve!

Jalpa Dhaduk