Do you live to eat or eat to live? Many people are living to eat. I remember being that person. My appetite was abnormally strong, and it seemed nothing truly satisfied the hunger I had. I would spend my days daydreaming of when I would eat next and designing my day around eating.
This never really concerned me, as I was always active and it made sense that I would be hungry more than normal. I even attributed it to being a male and a growing boy. That is, until it became apparent that my craving for food was particularly a craving for sugar.
Maybe you can relate?
When you are hungry does the thought of real food satisfy that desire to eat? If some fresh vegetables, healthy fats and proteins – eggs, fish, meat, or nuts/seeds for example – doesn’t cut it, then you’re not truly hungry. There’s likely a deeper issue driving your hunger.
What you find with sugar is that you need more of it to satisfy the craving. You grab a sweet treat and it makes you feel normal again, lifting your spirits; however, soon after you need more. If things really get bad then it only takes a few moments until you start feeling hangry – cranky, tired and sick.
This is sugar addiction.
5 Signs of Sugar Addiction
Your sugar addiction isn’t just in your imagination, but no one wants to admit they’re addicted. However, if it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserved to be destroyed by the truth. In other words, admitting we crave sugar is the only way we can truly start to destroy the craving of sugar.
So how do you know if you’re truly addicted or not? No one wants to be put into a box, and I am not here to point fingers. I’m here to help you see potential blind spots, so you can free yourself! In general, I will say this… if you rely on sweets for rewards or have a secret sugar stash, you could be a sugar addict.
Don’t feel guilty; sugar addiction is very real it has everything to do with the biochemical effects it has on our bodies. It has to do with a neurotransmitter called dopamine. This brain chemical promotes a sense of wellness and balance in us.
When there’s plenty of dopamine flowing through our blood, we just feel good. Guess what floods the body with dopamine? You guessed it, sugar. Other things that flood the body with dopamine are cocaine and heroin.
You may be a sugar addict if:
- You make excuses for your sugar. (It’s organic! or I deserve it!)
- You make special trips to the store just for treats.
- You find motivation by rewarding yourself with something sweet.
- You have a secret sugar stash, or eat sugar when you’re alone.
- You have tried to give up sugar, and you can’t.
The good news is, we can also create dopamine via healthier ways such as exercise, laughter, healthy sex and feeling gratitude and forgiveness!
Sugar Is A Drug
Endless amounts of studies are telling us that sugar is more rewarding and addictive than cocaine. It doesn’t take a Harvard study to know this, though. See what happens after you open a box of Oreos. Can you really have just two – seconds, thirds, thirty-seconds anyone?
The truth is, we are hardwired to seek out sugar. That’s because our cells have evolved to rely on sugar as their number one fuel source. We seek sugar and fat because they are survival foods, loaded with calories and plenty of easy-to-use energy.
So what’s the problem with sugar? The problem really isn’t sugar; the poison is in the dose. Refined sugar is no ordinary sugar; it’s been refined and concentrated to something nearly identical to cocaine!
It’s the way we use sugar that is destroying our bodies. Additionally, when we eat too much sugar for too long, our brain rewires itself to look something like the brain of a cocaine addict.
This is because foods have cues very similar to those of drugs – they have the same circuitry within the brain. Brain chemicals known as opioids and cannabinoids that are similar to the chemicals in drugs like heroin and marijuana actually make us think we enjoy sugar. It’s funny because it’s not sugar or drugs we become addicted to, it’s brain chemicals like dopamine!
A surge of dopamine makes us want more of whatever triggered the release of dopamine, such as the sweet taste of sugar. Those tricky sugar manufacturers…
How to Kick Sugar Cravings
Addiction could be described as not getting enough of the thing you most don’t want. When we just can’t get enough sugar – no matter how much we eat, it still doesn’t satisfy us – we have an addiction. Therefore, the ultimate solution for sugar addiction is just getting enough of it. Once we have enough of it, we stop craving it.
But how? Do we eat it until we’re sick and diseased? The solution is simpler than you think.
The first step toward getting off sugar is awareness.
As innocent as it seems, the persuasive powers of sugar are in place for a reason. As we discussed, sugar makes us crave sugar. What better way to get us to keep buying things we don’t need?
The difficulty in getting off sugar is it takes our own awareness and responsibility. Unlike street drugs, sweetened foods are available in overflowing amounts. They are cheap and can be found within walking distance from you — likely right now – unless you’re happily off the grid.
Though they seem harmless, candy, soda, baked goods, mocha Frappuccinos, fruit drinks, and energy drinks all contain added sugar. They’re packaged really cute and friendly to make you feel happy and comforted about your purchase. It’s all a clever game we must become aware of. Ignorance and ignoring a problem just makes it persist. By confronting these not-so-pretty parts of the modern world, we then can take our power back.
Here are a few ways to do so:
Read your labels, and you will find added sugar in: Sauces, marinades, salad dressings, deli meats, canned or boxed soups, and baby formulas.
Better than this, is to just skip prepackaged foods all together. Make your own condiments, desserts and soups. It’s way cheaper and you’ll know exactly what goes into everything. Not to mention it’ll be way more nutritious, too.
Though some more health-conscious food companies are arising and you may very well find some healthier alternatives, be sure to read the food labels and make a conscious choice to stay away from any form of sugar. At the very least, raw honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar or even better xylitol and stevia can be consumed without the same disastrous effects on the hormonal system as refined sugar.
While sugar doesn’t have the same reputation as street drugs, be aware that you’re up against a substance as formidable as cocaine. Consuming sugar tells your brain and your hormones that you need the added sugar or you will die – this creates the emotional dependency we are working to avoid.
Try this exercise: Find a quiet place, as you would if you were to meditate. Be sure to be well-fed and in a calm emotional state. You will have the best results when doing any sort of mental/spiritual work when you are most relaxed. Now, in your mind mock up piles of sugar and all of your favorite sweet treats all around you. Imagine endless piles of them in the room you’re in. Allow yourself total access to all of these foods; even taste all of them as if you were really on a sugar-eating spree – no guilt. Now, make all the sugar and treats disappear into thin air. Repeat this process a few times – bringing into the room endless supplies of sugary treats in all your favorite assortments, tasting them then making them disappear. Do this until they become less desirable. Bring in smaller amounts of treats then make them disappear. Finally, bring into the room the last sugary-laden delicious treat in existence into the room, sit with it, and then make it disappear. Bring it back one last time, and then finally, waste it. Imagine yourself throwing it off a cliff or doing whatever would seem like the biggest waste of a dessert you could imagine.
As I mentioned earlier, all addictions come from simply not having enough of the thing to which you’re addicted. This is the psychology hidden behind all addictions. Though consuming refined sugar is a great way to physiologically trigger our brains to make us think this way – it can be resolved at the root using our own minds.
This is more of a spiritual solution to sugar addiction; however, it is the most profound solution for healing the core of the problem. It will obviously help to remove the physical causes, but let’s face it, sugar is all around us and the temptations are endless. We will never truly rise above these addictions until we get rooted in our true power.