This is Luke Douglas’s weekly health column. Luke runs the blog Ripped.me where he writes about training equipment, nutrtion, and fitness. Each week Luke is going to write about a new subject in the fitness field. This week Luke talks why so many people have sugar addiction and how to develop healthy habits to combat it. Enjoy.
You’ve probably heard a thousand times how sugar is bad for your health but do you really know what it means? Eating a dessert or two during a day sounds harmless but it can lead to developing a serious sugar addiction which will make you crave sugar even in the middle of the night. All scientists agree that sugar is highly addictive and the more you eat, the more you’ll crave it and end up in a vicious cycle. Since excess sugar intake is linked to many negative effects on your health (weight gain, increased blood pressure, increased risk of diabetes and heart disease) knowing why you have sugar addiction and putting an effort in developing healthy habits is of the utmost importance.
The science behind sugar addictions
First of all, let’s explain what sugar does to your body. It fuels all of your brain cells while your brain identifies it as a reward and, naturally, always craves more of it. Sugar consists of simple carbohydrates which are quickly turned into glucose in your bloodstream thus making your blood sugar spike. These are called sugar highs, while sugar lows happen when the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin in order to move glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells for energy. That’s when sudden drops happen and you feel shaky and in the need for something sweet. All of this happens because of simple carbs which are found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products but there are other things in that type of food, such as fibers and proteins, that help slow down the process of turning carbs into glucose.
It’s not just about sweets
When you say sugar, most people think candy bars, soda, and cake but the harsh truth is that sugar is everywhere. Sometimes, starchy food, such as bagels and chips can have the same effect because they consist of complex carbs which break down into simple sugars and cause blood sugar to surge and crash. Artificial sweeteners might not be the best solution either because they can change your palate and make your body crave for even more sugar. The same goes for healthy sugars, such as honey and brown sugar – although they’re higher in nutrients, they’re still sugars and their consumption needs to be limited. Finally, take a good look at labels of various salad dressings, ketchup, barbecue and pasta sauce and you might be surprised by the amount of sugar in it. Scout out hidden sugar if you really want to fight your addiction.
Finding healthy alternatives
If you want to kick sugar addiction and develop healthy habits there are two paths you can take. The first one is to cut sugar out of your diet all of a sudden while the other one is all about baby steps and slowly getting it out of your system. Whatever road you choose, retraining your taste buds is the key. Once you lower the consumption of sugar, you’ll train your palate and lose that need for sugar. Soon, things you ate before will be too sweet for you and you’ll start feeling the taste of food more intensely, which will make the transition period much easier.
Switching to natural sugar when in need, i.e. eating fruit, might help but try to keep that moderate as well. Instead, clear up your diet and detoxify your body. Focus on the real food that contains proteins and fibers that will keep you satiated longer and won’t make your blood sugar spike. Consider taking detoxifying natural supplements to give your body an additional boost and speed up a process of getting your diet back in balance. Finally, don’t forget about the power of physical activity – not only will it make you feel better but it will also make you want healthier food and get you back on the track in no time.
Kicking this sweet habit might look like a rocky path, but once you manage to do it – you’ll feel so much better. Having your diet under control will help you maintain good health, lose weight, and be in a better overall condition, so don’t hesitate – go tackle your sugar addiction. Your body will be grateful!
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