A slice of pie here, a few cookies there, an extra helping of Grandma’s Jell-O mold. Sweets are enjoyable to eat. We get it! Especially during all the holiday parties and family gatherings.
Whether it's the holidays or any other time of year, we want to help set you up for success in avoiding the temptation to consume excessive sugar and the decline in health it can cause.
Processed sugar can affect the brain reward center generating cravings for more. The reward center releases dopamine, a hormone that makes us feel good. But this feeling is short lived, so we often reach for more sugar to get another dose of dopamine.
Recognizing a sugar addiction and knowing the steps to break this dependency can set your mind and body free from the undesirable side effects sugar can cause such as fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and depression.
Signs you may be addicted to sugar:
- Feeling sluggish and tired
- Eating sweets and bleached white flour even if you’re not hungry
- Getting colds or other sickness often
- Always feeling hungry
- Finding yourself thinking about unhealthy food
- Moody behavior
- Experiencing regret after you eat
In a time when so many Americans desperately seek an afternoon caffeine pick-me-up due to low energy, we should consider the possibility that sugar is at the root of our energy crash.
How to beat a sugar addiction:
- Pray - All change is easier with God. Pray for your Father to help you in your journey of defeating sugar dependency.
- Eat - Going long periods of time without food can drop your blood sugar level, making you crave unhealthy foods. Keep your blood sugar stable with small, healthy meals throughout the day. Stick to whole, nutrient-dense foods that will fuel your body.
- Drink - Consume plenty of water throughout your day. We often confuse thirst for hunger, so try a tall glass of water instead of a snack.
- Replace Habits - If you sit at your desk and snack all day, try chewing gum or drinking water as healthy alternatives.
- Consume Minerals - Mineral deficiencies can make blood sugar control worse. Eat plenty of mineral-packed green, leafy vegetables instead to keep your blood sugars level.
- Enjoy fermented foods - Some individuals find they have fewer sweet cravings when they consume sour or bitter foods. Fermented foods have healthy bacteria that may fight gut issues that were caused by high sugar intake.
The Cleveland Clinic reports that a sugar addiction can be broken in 10 days, but even if it takes longer, it will be worth it. You will be shocked when you realize that you no longer seek sweet foods and the “sweet taste” will become very strong to you. A carrot will taste so much sweeter than it has in the past.
Dr. Asa Andrew teaches a 10 percent rule: Eat well 90 percent of the time and 10 percent do what you want. But, he goes on to say that there are some foods that aren’t worth eating due to their long-term negative health effects including added sugars.
Sugar is hidden under many different names in most processed foods, even foods that don’t seem sweet, everything from bread to spaghetti sauce. Read labels using this guide to find concealed sugars in packaged foods. Eat mostly foods in their natural, unprocessed form.
Gain pleasure from the Word of God and the people in your life, taking the focus off food as a way to please us. Focusing on the good things in your life will help shift your focus while breaking the desire for sugar. The holidays are a perfect time to reflect on the blessings God has given us.
Looking for alternatives to sugar-laden dishes this holiday season? Check out our Health & Wellness Library full of delicious, healthy recipes.