By Dr. Shreya Batra, ND
I’ve recently been inspired by Dr. Mark Hyman’s book “The Blood Sugar Solution” and the more I research about this topic, the more I’m convinced that sugar is addictive. Many studies have now shown that sugar, processed foods, and simple carbohydrates, provides the brain a similar amount of stimulation as gambling, drugs and other forms of addictive behaviour. It is also important to note that a high sugar diet has other impacts in your body – contributing to chronic diseases, autoimmunity, cancer…etc.
It is also important to remember that when referring to sugar, it doesn’t only mean desserts and chocolates. Sugar is also found in white flour (white bread, pastas, crackers…etc), sweetened beverages, glazed foods, cereals, yogurts…etc.
When reading food labels; look out for things such as: dextrose, galactose, maltose, dextrin, rice syrup, high fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, molasses…etc.
What is different about white sugar, processed foods, and simple carbs that makes it more harmful to our body than natural sugars, such as the sugar found in fruit?
Fruits are often packed with a large variety of other nutrients, vitamins and minerals which are beneficial for our health. Furthermore, fruits have a higher content of fiber – fiber will help modulate the blood sugar spike that your body experiences after indulging in sugar. That being said, fruits should also always be consumed in moderation, specifically for someone who is diagnosed with diabetes or insulin resistance.
So how do you know if you are addicted to sugar? Do this short quiz and find out!
Do you find yourself seeking out something sweet after you have dinner or right before bed?
Do you find yourself wanting something to eat, even if you are not hungry, just because you are craving it?
Do you find yourself having an afternoon crash in energy or feeling lethargic/fatigued after a meal?
Do you experience mood swings during the day?…and you feel better after indulging in a snack?
Do you think that certain desserts aren’t sweet enough or are you finding yourself adding an extra spoon of sugar into your coffee? AKA – is your tolerance for sugary foods high?
If you answered yes to 3 or more of those questions – it might be time to evaluate your relationship with sugar.
So what should your next step be? If you think your body needs a break from sugar, try the following:
Add more protein into your meals – will help you feel full and reduce cravings
Add healthy fats and fiber into each meal – this will help balance your blood sugar levels and reduce cravings
Stay hydrated – you may feel hungry if you are dehydrated
Reach for some blueberries after a meal rather than chocolate chips
Assess for any nutrient deficiencies that may be causing cravings in your body
Assess your sleep quality – this may reduce cravings during the day
The Blood Sugar Solution – Dr. Mark Hyman
Food and Addiction – Kelly D. Brownell, and Mark S. Gold
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