Sugar is an addictive substance and some people are more prone to getting hooked than others through no fault of their own.
When I refer to sugar I am also referring to white refined carbs, for a recap on these go back to this blog.
Natural food, i.e. food in its natural state, before it’s been pretty much destroyed by processing, is absorbed slowly by our bodies and the energy release is slow.
Sugar is TOTALLY different. It’s absorbed rapidly giving a big sugar rush, leading to a big splurge of insulin to cope with it. The insulin quickly brings the sugar down (making us fat in the process).
How does this lead to addiction?
Eating sugar gives us a quick hit of energy and makes us feel good. It also stimulates endorphins to be released. This makes us feel good too.
After this you have a sugar and an endorphin crash. You are left feeling hungry and have an empty feeling. This sets up a craving for more sugar, so you are drawn to foods that will sort this horrible feeling out and give you another hit.
Nearly every processed food has sugar in it – baked beans, ready meals, many breakfast cereals, ‘health’ bars. Sugar is everywhere and you don’t have to have a sweet tooth to be eating loads of the stuff.
So sugar is something you can feel good with while eating, and for a short time after. It won’t be long before you feel bad and crave more. Proper food with its slow steady release doesn’t quite hit the mark when you’ve got yourself into a state of a sugar crash.
Why Is Sugar Everywhere?
Because the food industry loves it and here’s why:
- it sweetens food really cheaply
- it extends the shelf life of processed food
- it’s addictive and many people get hooked and keep coming back for more and more and more
The food industry DOES NOT CARE about your health. If we all ate what we needed for good health the food industry as we know it would collapse.
As well as sugar crashes causing you to eat too much there is something else too..
Malnutrition. Processed foods and refined carbs are largely empty foods. They provide very little essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. If your body doesn’t get these it will crave them and that is felt as hunger. People can be really fat but still be malnourished.
How to stop sugar cravings
We are designed to get our energy from carbohydrates in their natural form. We never need refined sugar ever. Natural carbs are founds in fruits, vegetables and whole grains. 2 things to help get off the sugar:
- Gradually cut down to a minimum sugar, refined carbs and processed foods
- Gradually increase complex carbs, ie fruit, vegetables, whole grains like whole rice, whole grain pasta, wholegrain breads
Many people don’t find it easy to change their diet overnight and there is no need to do that. Become aware of what you are eating and then make gradual changes by making better choices.
Uber Health to you, Dr Julie (any ads that appear are nothing to do with me, I am NOT endorsing)
PS I am looking for a hand full of volunteers to who want to lose weight and would like my help over the course of a few months, starting June/July 2013. Please email me if you are interested
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7 thoughts on “Addicted to Sugar?”
This is so timely for me JUlie! Much of what I eat is healthy but I so often find myself ‘craving’ chocolate to the point where I ‘have’ to have it… I do think I definitely have an addiction to sugar! All the biscuits people bring in to work don’t help either, but I have started to take in loads of fruit I can nibble on during the day- little changes like you say!
Keep the excellent information coming!
Thanks Steph 🙂
I think there are lots of people addicted to sugar and refined carbs, most of whom don’t realise.
Keep up the health things!
I have frequently pondered this. I do feel pretty out-of-control addicted to sugar, but I don’t know how to kick it. I have tried, but I always come back. I think I need an SA “Sugaholics Anonymous” support group.
If you haven’t already check this book out – Potatoes Not Prozac, Kathleen Desmaisons. It’s all about kicking the habit.
I’ve heard of the book but never checked it out. Thanks for the tip!
It’s a great little book.
It really opened my eyes and gave me a better understanding of the problem. I think I am a bit more sympathetic and useful in my work now 🙂
You’re very welcome 🙂