By Elaine Earles
Here is the plan that I’ve used to break my sugar addiction and stop eating cookies and sweets and drinking caramel lattes every day. I had so much of the sweet stuff when I was a kid that I’ve developed hypoglycemia. In other words, if I don’t eat at regular hours I tend to turn into a gremlin; and if I wait a bit longer I become as pale as a vampire and sluggish like a zombie; not exactly the lively, exciting woman I want to be.
Cutting out sugar became vital for me, and below I show you how I did it. I still have a little sugar from time to time but in much more controlled and manageable amounts. It makes me much friendlier and pleasant to be around with. I sleep better; my teeth are healthy. I can’t count the blessings I’ve received by putting an end to eating a lot of sugar. Now it’s your turn to enjoy these blessings. Read on.
Why is sugar so addictive?
When it comes to sugar cravings, a few obvious causes come to mind. First, your brain is trained to prefer sugar at birth. Your palate changes throughout your life, but you are born with a sweet tooth. Also, sugar releases soothing hormones that uplift your mood and give you a boost. Then, there’s also the reward trigger. Parents often train their children to feel good when eating sugar by providing sweets in exchange for good grades or deeds or just for being a good boy or girl. This creates pathways in the brain that equate sugar with being accepted and rewarded.
As adults, sugar becomes a way to get back to that feeling of belonging and deservedness. It can become a strategy to relieve stress when life seems out of control, beyond our grasp or when we feel rejected. I remember watching a movie in which a woman said she would immediately reach for the ice-cream bucket after being dumped. I had a client who used to literally rush to the supermarket to buy candy bars, sodas, and chocolate each time he felt his financial security was at stake. Whether you are feeling uncertainty, stress, or rejection, you may have learned that sugar is the only way you can return to feeling safe, at home, and accepted.
Lastly, if you have taken on the habit of eating sugar-filled foods regularly, you will experience withdrawal symptoms that only sugar seems to alleviate. I have experienced that feeling and mistook it for a panic attack. It happened when I was living in New York City.
I was finding the city very stressful. I felt homesick and very insecure. Everything seemed new and threatening. I started eating fat-free foods, lattes, and baked goods, which are all filled with extra sugar. Then, to gain a sense of control over my sugar consumption, I started using chemical sugar substitutes and drinking sugar-free sodas. This made things even worse. My stress levels shot up, and I was craving sugar even more. I experienced burn out, and my formerly healthy teeth started rotting one after the other.
Sugar had tricked me and never really delivered on its promise to make me feel safe or at home. It did for a few short moments, but I ended up needing more and more, like a junky.
If my story seems familiar, maybe you have been using sugar as an emotional eater. You may not feel the emotion behind the sugar cravings, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an emotional dimension to it. Sugar is addictive by itself; but I believe you get addicted to the emotion or sensation sugar procures 90 percent more than to the substance itself.
Sugar is hidden in most of the food we eat.
The food industry understands the power of sugar. It feeds young kids with cereals, then adds tons of sugar in sodas, and makes sure the entire population becomes hooked on sugar long before it ever reaches adulthood. Don’t take my word for it. Here is a list of food sugar contents:http://www.ars.usda.gov/SP2UserFiles/Place/12354500/Data/Classics/herr48.pdf
The sugar content is listed in grams per 100 g:
Chocolate wafers 40.5g
Breakfast bar meal replacement 41.4g
Crunchy granola bars 19.7g
Cherry, Brandy 32.6g
Fruit pie 30.2g
Semisweet chocolate 55g
Hard candy 66.7g
Rice crispy sugar coated 39g
Dry oatmeal 1.8g
Pineapple juice 12.5g
Cheese sandwich 5.1g
It becomes very easy to get used to that sweetness. If you travel abroad you will notice that U.S. portions were a lot bigger and everything tasted much sweeter. My mom had raised me with home-cooked meals, and I had taken on the habit of cooking my own food. So far, I had escaped the added sugar hidden in processed foods. However, with a deli at every corner and supermarkets open 24/7, I fell into the convenience food trap. I started eating out or ordering in more, adding loads of sugar to my diet. I would sometimes skip a meal and have a cappuccino and a muffin instead. I didn’t realize that a frappucino could contain 58g of sugar and a latte 17g.
If you want to learn how to stop eating sugar, you have to learn which foods contain the most sugar and ban them from your diet. Or simply avoid sugar altogether for a month and watch the pound drop miraculously.
The American Heart Association’s daily recommended limit for sugar is 6 tsp for women and 9 tsp for men. The average American consumes an average of 22 tsp of added sugar per day.
I personally recommend switching to eating home-cooked meals with no fructose ingredients.In other words, cook your own food and stop drinking fruit juices, sodas, wines, and alcohols, and stop eating dried or cooked fruit, desserts, bakery goods, and cereal bars all of which have way too much sugar.
Sorry, but you have to choose fresh fruits or naturally sun dried fruits that are sweet and healthy or prepare your fruit pies without sugar or honey. Do this for a month and you will notice that your tastebuds will begin to change. Do it for two months and the next time you go for sugar your body will remind that it’s bad for you..
Break bad habits today!