Yes! The truth is, sugar is not an emotional eating condition but it’s a biological disorder.
It’s the neurotransmitters and hormones that fuel sugar and carbohydrate cravings which thus lead to uncontrolled overeating.
Now you might feel that you’re one in a million that has a sugar obsession. Wrong! Studies show that about 70 percent of Americans adults and 40 percent of children are overweight.
Current research by Harvard scientists discovered that a high-sugar milkshake (compared to a low-sugar) increased blood sugar and insulin levels plus induced sugar cravings. As well, the high-sugar milkshake caused massive changes in the brain. In actual fact, the sugar kindled the addiction center in the brain in a big way! So the next time you grab a cookie or soda loaded with sugar, think morphine cookies or cocaine soda because it’s by far worse!
Moreover, some experts believe there’s a relationship between added sugars and diabetes, heart disease and obesity, but this opinion is still debated.
Did you know that the majority of processed foods contain high amounts of added sugar? Added sugars are syrups and sugars that are added to beverages or foods when they’re processed. This doesn’t include naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and milk.
The main food and beverage sources that have added sugars in America are:
- Pies and cobblers
- Dairy desserts, like ice cream
- Sweet rolls, donuts and pastries
- Fruit drinks like fruit-ades and fruit punch
- Conventional soft drinks, energy drinks and sports drinks
The best way to avoid products with added sugar is to read the ingredients on the label. In case you’re not sure what to look for; here is a list of added sugars:
- Raw sugar
- Corn syrup
- Malt syrup
- Invert sugar
- Brown sugar
- Corn syrup solids
- Anhydrous dextrose
- White granulated sugar
- Confectioner’s powdered sugar
- High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS)
In addition, there are other names used for added sugars but are not recognized by the FDA as an ingredient name. These added sugars include glucose, cane juice, crystal dextrose, evaporated corn sweetener, sugar cane juice and liquid fructose.
Start with the Kitchen Cupboards
If you feel you’ve grown too dependent on sugar or your body’s ability to fight illness has been compromised, then you definitely need a Sugar Detox. The best place to start is in your own kitchen. Personally, I feel ‘cold turkey’ is the easiest. Why prolong the agony of withdrawal?
Now, I won’t lie to you. Quitting sugar can be very challenging. To begin, get rid of all forms of sugar in your cupboard including honey, agave syrup, molasses, maple syrup and stevia. Any type of sweetener can stimulate your cravings. You can later add these “better for you” sweeteners after your sugar detox. Similarly, watch out for hidden sugars in products like ketchup, soups, lunchmeat and salad dressings.
While you’re at it, you really should remove all products that contain preservatives, additives or any other type of harmful chemicals. A good rule of thumb: If you don’t recognize a certain ingredient then it’s probably bad for you.
Important Note: I cannot stress enough about the numerous side effects of artificial sweeteners, get rid of them!
A Simple Three Day Sugar Detox
Generally when you remove sugar from your diet you’ll get cravings, especially if you decide to go “cold turkey”. You can also expect to have headaches from the withdrawals. Just remember most cravings and withdrawal symptoms go away within 3 days. After your detox, remain on a healthy diet and keep clear away from all sugars.
- Day 1: Exclude all products that obviously have sugar such as cookies, cake, ice cream, doughnut, candy and soda.
- Day 2: Remove simple carbohydrates from your diet like white bread, white pasta, muffins and pancakes. Also avoid juices contain sugar or other added sweeteners.
- Day 3: Start learning how to read labels. Eliminate all products that have added sugars. See list above*
Here are a few special tips:
- Keep A Food Diary so you can pinpoint habits that trigger sugar cravings
- Eat a banana when you have an immediate urge for sugar (limit 1 banana a day)
- Drink plenty of water to flush out the system faster, water will also help with cravings
- Respond to cravings with physical activity, it can also help with headaches or nausea
- Increase your Omega 3s; they help to reduce sugar cravings when eaten regularly. Good sources are olive oil and avocado
Spices & Herbs for Sugar Cravings
When on a sugar detox, there a certain herbs that are said to be helpful for cravings and withdrawal symptoms. As well, some herbs and spices can help with weight loss.
According to the National Institutes of Health, ginseng has a “B” rating.
A “B” rating means that there’s sufficient scientific evidence that ginseng is a good herb for high blood sugar levels. In fact, ginseng is said to help regulate blood sugar and help fight craving.
There are many types of ginseng, each with their own medicinal properties. Try using only one type of Ginseng for a couple of months. If it doesn’t seem to help, then try another type.
Gymnema Sylvestre has been utilized for centuries in India as a treatment for diabetes, sugar cravings and obesity. A 1992 study in the medical journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition revealed that compounds in gymnema temporarily fill the mouth with a sweet flavor. The sweet flavor is said to last about 2 hours after chewing on Gymnema. The extract of Gymnema will also curb a sweet tooth. Moreover, people had a reduced reaction to sugar e.g. sweet food were less satisfying.
According to a study by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Fenugreek can help to prevent blood sugar spikes.
Ayurvedic health experts recommend chewing fenugreek leaves or seeds to curb a sweet tooth. You can also take 2-3 fenugreek capsules every morning. Note: Fenugreek shouldn’t be consumed successively for more than a few months at a time. This is because the herb may cause low blood glucose levels. Also, fenugreek is not recommended for pregnant women and children.
Cinnamon also helps regulate blood glucose levels, is high in chromium and is a natural anti-inflammatory.
According to an article by WebMD, there is no established dose because cinnamon is an unproven treatment. Some recommend 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of powder a day while other studies suggest between 1 gram and 6 grams. Extremely high doses may be toxic.
Special Note: No herb by itself is a miracle cure for sugar cravings. As well, sustaining from sugar is only part of a healthy diet plan. For optimum results; eat healthy, consume organic foods, stay clear of products that contain GMO’s and get plenty of exercise.
Disclaimer: The statements enclosed herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products and information mentioned in this article are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional. Before starting any diet (including a sugar detox), seek expert advice.
White and raw sugar cubes in white bowl: KJGarbutt via photopin cc
White and raw sugar skulls: Cy-V via photopin cc
Sugar cubes that spell poison: chrisjohnbeckett via photopin cc
Raw sugar on spoon for steamed milk: LexnGer via photopin cc
Sculpture of sugar harvest: colros via photopin cc
Ginseng root: eekim via photopin cc
Fenugreek and other spice seeds: niznoz via photopin cc
Cinnamon: Nomadic Lass via photopin cc