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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 9, 2019

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

1. Get Rationally Optimistic

Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

The result: no more mental stress.

2. Unplug

Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

3. Easy on the Caffeine

Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

  • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
  • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
  • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

The result: mental stress will be gone!

So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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