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When Overwhelming Sugary Treats Can’t Quench Your Crave, Time to Look for Sugar Detox!

When Overwhelming Sugary Treats Can’t Quench Your Crave, Time to Look for Sugar Detox!

We’ve all been there – bad grade at school, tough day at work, or a bad breakup, and we find ourselves bingeing on life-saving ice cream or chocolate. It is not rare that mood swings influence our need for sugar. This happens since our serotonin levels decrease in negative circumstances, and being quick gratification creatures we are, our bodies crave instant dose.

Since sugar acts miraculously quickly and is digested fast, it is no wonder that sugary treat is the first food that comes to our mind in times of emotional distress. As the 2016 study [1] suggests “Lower levels of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin) in the brain elicit sugar craving, while ingestion of sugar rich diet improves mood and alleviates anxiety.”

This type of behavior can lead to serious sugar addiction, one not much different than a drug addiction. Although it is not entirely the same as drug addiction, sugar addiction affects human behavior in a similar manner. Most of us would simply mistake sugar addiction for sugar craving, yet the repetitive craving and indulging in sugary snacks, creates a vicious addictive circle, making each next craving much more intense.

Sugar affects our brain in a fast and powerful way. As with any other drug, dopamine levels are increased in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) – the reward center of the brain. [2] The brain then easily forms dependency and lessened sensitivity to sugar, which result in more intense craving and the need for greater dosage each next time. As a result, sugar addiction causes similar symptoms as drug addiction as it follows a familiar pattern that includes:

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Signs Where You Have to Re-Evaluate Your Sugar Crave

Bingeing

Larger amounts of the drug are needed due to greater tolerance. [3] Each time we consume food high in sugar, we develop stronger tolerance, and therefore, the same amount of sugar won’t be enough each next time. [4]

Withdrawal

Sugar withdrawal shows signs symptomatic of a drug withdrawal behavior. [5]

Craving

“Sugar deprivation effect” influences enhanced intake after abstinence [6] and greater urge to procure sugar.

Cross-Sensitization

Sugar addiction shows cross-sensitization with other drugs of abuse [7], which is a common drug addiction symptom.

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Even though sugar is not as seriously hazardous as drugs of abuse, removing it from our diet seems almost impossible due to its powerful effect on reward system in our brain. Since award craving is not just reserved for stressful situations, cutting sugar can be a truly challenging process.

However, there is no need for panic if your sugar cravings are not frequent or excessive, since not every single need for instant boost can be described as sugar addiction. There are clear signs of sugar addiction which are a warning sign that you may have become addicted to sugar. For most sugar addicts it is common to make unreasonable excuses for their dietary choice.

Additionally, buying, stashing and binge-eating sugar when alone is your daily habit. Moreover, you use sugar both as a reward and as a mood elevator. Finally, you are well aware that quitting sugar is almost impossible since you have probably tried it a couple of times, only to return to your usual pattern.

Although highly challenging, removing sugar from our diet is still possible. With the right medical advice, and by following some of the most effective sugar detox methods, sugar addiction can be overcome in a matter of days. Here are 5 most effective ways to deal with sugar addiction.

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Put a Curb to Your Bottomless Sugar Crave

Allow for one sugary meal a day

In order to control your sugar cravings, make sure to find a way to lessen the cravings caused by a sudden withdrawal. Instead of cutting all sugar from each meal or snack you eat during a day, opt for one meal a day method. By cutting one sugar infused meal a day, you will be able to gradually instill a more healthy diet.

Get rid of the hidden sugary paradise

Most sugary addicts have a secret sweets stash in their home and office. In order to not fall into the craving trap, make sure to get rid of any temptations.

Look for cleaner substitutes (Fruits will do)

Breaking a habit is quite challenging, particularly in situations that trigger our addictive behavior. I order not to relapse in stressful situations, always carry a piece of fruit with you. Fruit will give you enough sugar for your body and brain to cope with any situation, yet fruit sugar is a much healthier and cleaner choice.

Let magnesium do the job

As sugar craving is associated with lower levels of magnesium, include magnesium rich foods into your diet in order to reduce urge for sugar. Great sources of magnesium include dark leafy greens, tofu, legumes and nuts.

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You won’t binge if you don’t think about it

As with any other type of addiction, sugar addiction requires certain distractions to help overcome the initial withdrawal struggle. Create a distraction plan filled with enjoyable and mind-occupying activities such as walking in nature, reading, painting or swimming, to help you take your mind off of sugar craving.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

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Ana Erkic

Social Media Consultant, Online Marketing Strategist, Copywriter, CEO and Co-Founder of Growato

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Last Updated on December 13, 2018

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

12 Practical Tips To Stay Fit For Christmas

Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra pounds. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season that starts at the Thanksgiving Day and ends with the New Year celebrations. Excessive eating is claimed to be the main cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise.

A lot of individuals out there tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts. And because they feel guilty after the holiday season, most of the gyms and fitness centers are packed with fresh members. Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and the New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:

1. Eat Before Heading Out

First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.

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2. Select The Treats

Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.

3. Avoid Skipping Meals

Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, don’t do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.

4. Drink With Moderation

It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you already eaten!

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5. Be Active

You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible and if you can’t do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs!

6. Get Out Of The House

Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved. Even a snowball fight in the backyard will burn a lot of calories and will keep the children entertained.

7. Don’t Skip Your Strength Workouts

Always remember to perform your strength training in order to maintain that muscle mass you worked hard to get. You might be tempted to use lightweights and just do some cardio, but you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights. And with all of those extra stakes you had on the holiday meals, you might even gain some extra muscle. And this is much better than gaining some extra fat.

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8. Set Realistic Goals

You should set realistic exercise objectives. Aim for at least half an hour per day and you will be very happy when you will achieve that. If you plan one hour or more and not achieve it, you will only end up disappointed.

9. Enjoy Yourself

Also make sure to set realistic diet plans! Trying to restrain yourself totally from some foods will only make you eat more. Feel free to enjoy the treats that you really love, but in small portions.

10. Drink A Lot Of Water

This can satiate your appetite as well as keep you hydrated at all times. And it will also prevent a possible hangover if you overdo it with alcohol.

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11. Eat Less And More Often

Distribute your meals evenly throughout the day, and do not eat everything at once.  Instead of having 2 enormous meals, have 5 small ones.  Eat your dinner earlier and have a nice walk before going to bed.

12. Prioritize Your Workouts

Try to do them early in the morning while everyone else is still sleeping. This way you will also avoid remarks like “Oh, come on! It’s Christmas…”

So there you go! Twelve simple tips that will help you avoid gaining weight during the winter holidays, but will also allow you to enjoy yourself and have a great time with your loved ones.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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