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6 Signs You’re Eating Far Too Much Sugar (and What to Do About It)

6 Signs You’re Eating Far Too Much Sugar (and What to Do About It)

Sugar consumption is at an all-time high, thanks to increased access to sodas and various sweets. What may be a little treat here or there can actually be indicative of a full-blown sugar addiction. Because it’s so easy to get and not considered dangerous, sugar addictions don’t get the same attention as hard drugs; yet, sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine.

But what are the signs, and how can you stop the cycle of excess sugar intake? Here are six signs that you’re eating too much sugar, as well as what you can do to stop.

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1. You crave sugar all the time

This is a pretty obvious sign that your need for sugar is more of a mental trigger. If you see a slice of cake during your lunch break and can’t get it out of your mind and end up buying it, then you likely have a sugar addiction. You might even choose to have sweets when you don’t really want to eat them. To combat these cravings, have a better, more natural alternative, like a piece of fresh fruit.

2. You binge on sugar until you’re sick

Overeating is a typical trait of sugar addiction. Part of this is using excuses to reason with yourself on why you should have ‘one more bite.’ Some of the immediate effects of eating too much sugar are feeling bloated, dizzy, or gassy. You may also have a headache. Much like alcohol, sugar is best in moderation.

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3. You experience sugar withdrawal

Much like a typical drug withdrawal, cutting down on your sugar intake will have major effects on your body. Some of the symptoms are: cravings (even when you’re feeling full), depression, anxiety, mood swings, and muscle aches. Cutting back will also rid you of a continued sugar high, so you’ll feel tired. These new, uncomfortable feelings are caused by a lack of dopamine (the chemical released in the brain when you eat sugar). To avoid these side effects, try to get a minimum of 7 hours of sleep, start an exercise regimen, and make sure to replace the excess sugar with healthier food choices.

4. Strangely, you crave salty foods (or meat)

Our bodies operate on a sense of balance. So if you tip the scale towards sweets (by eating too much bread, pasta, or pastries) you’ll find that you suddenly need salty foods or meat to feel balanced again. However, the proper solution is not to eat a high level of salty foods, like chips or other snacks. To help achieve a more stable diet, add slightly sweet vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, or yams to your meals.

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5. You reward yourself with something sweet

Emotional eating is one of the leading contributors to obesity; it is also a factor in sugar addiction. Whether it’s for celebrating, or to help you cope with sadness or anger, sweet rewards used to boost your mood are signs of addiction. Before you eat or buy that next piece of cake, really consider why you’re buying it. Do you need it because you’re hungry (in which case you can choose something healthier and more filling), or because you want emotional validation? If you’re looking to candies to boost your mood, you might want to try going for a walk, listening to music, or writing in a journal.

6. You make a special effort to get or keep sugar around

If you have a stash of snacks hidden around (in your office, your car, or in your home) that you keep from those around you, you likely have a sugar addiction. Much like any addiction, there are feelings of shame and guilt, because part of you knows that constant and excessive use is not healthy. The first thing you’ll want to do to help break this habit is to throw away all of it. It might seem impossible, but with a restructured diet and commitment, it actually takes less than a week to lessen a sugar habit. You can also use artificial sweeteners to help come off a high sugar diet, but it’s important to be mindful of becoming dependent on those, too.

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Featured photo credit: RitaE via pixabay.com

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Sasha Brown

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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