By: Julie Fletcher
Refined sugar has been at the root of many dietary problems for years. Food addictions are often cited as ‘comfort measures’ by the people suffering from addiction, while a spiral of binge eating, depression, and more binge eating has led to more expanded waistlines and health disorders. Until recently, sugar addiction was considered a willpower issue, but we know that it goes deeper than that.
Thanks to a study release in 2010 by the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, we now know that sugar causes the brain to release the same type of endorphins in a pattern reminiscent of some habit-forming drugs. In the study, researchers noted that the addiction to sugar follows the same path as drug addiction. The addict will crave sugar, gain a high tolerance level, and after cutting sugar from the diet – experience withdrawal. The addiction system is very similar to that of street drugs.
Researchers at California State University also noticed that children of drug and alcohol addicts were more likely to become addicted to sugar during childhood. The children were also more likely to become alcoholics later in life. Children of people with addictions presented genetic markers that drew a connection between sugar addiction and disorders like alcoholism, bulimia, and obesity.
With carcinogenic sugars rampant among the food supply, it is easy to see how sugar so easily takes over. Kids alone are cumulatively taking in nearly 7 trillion calories of sugar from beverages each year, while Americans overall are consuming 35 pounds of sugar in the form of high-fructose corn syrup on average each year.
The good news for anyone suffering from an addiction to sugar is that the withdrawal symptoms fade fast. By changing diet to eliminate refined sugar and include natural, raw sugars, the body can easily recover. Whole grain bread with raw honey can replace processed ‘goodies’ such as doughnuts or other sugary treats. Raw honey is a natural, healthful sugar that is processed by the digestive system easily. Honey can cause a blood glucose spike, but not as dramatic as refined sugar, nor does the brain react as it does to ‘table sugar’. (Here are some awesome health benefits of honey you won’t want to miss). It will take about one week to kill the cravings – during this time, always use natural, raw natural sugar sources in place of refined sugar like honey or stevia.
People often claim they ingest sugary foods as a ‘pick me up’. Sugar will give a burst of energy, but the energy high does not last. At the end of the high there is a dramatic energy crash. Cutting sugar and replacing energy snacks with true energy boosters such as homemade trail mix will eliminate the sugar crash and save your body from sugar-induced health damage. Here are another 10 foods to consider when eating for energy. Whole fruits, nuts, grains, and fresh foods will counter the sugar cravings until they are a thing of the past.