I have been talking A LOT about sugar lately. It is an addiction that is feeding chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease and even hormone imbalances. More and more Americans are faced with unexplained symptoms that often leads to the answer of too much sugar consumption.
If we know this, why is it so hard to ditch the sugar? Because it truly is an addiction. It affects our brain, our gut, and our blood sugar balance, in turn driving the cycle to consume more and more.
What is important to keep in mind is that we have a rather primitive brain on some levels. While we have advanced as humans in what we understand about the world in which we live, our feeding behaviors have not changed much over time. Our brain is still wired for a famine, which drives us to seek sugary, high calorie foods to maintain a set weight slightly above what where we should be. This ensures survival in times of famine where we really did need the excess energy stores. The brain doesn’t know we have an excess of calories at our disposal, and continues to push us to feed.
So, how does a person successfully rid themselves of this sugar addiction? It really is mind over matter, and eating mindfully counts in this battle of wills.
1) Setting clear goals is key, and remembering those goals throughout the day can help you stay on track.
2) Intermittent fasting can help stop cravings by literally killing the feeding cycle. Ensuring you have 12-14 hours at night without eating can really help, provided you do not suffer from hypoglycemia.
3) Kick start with a sugar detox that lasts a month and involves eating whole foods only. You can really reset your palate by doing this. You will also regulate blood sugar better as well as improve gut health by starving off the sugar craving microbes.
Remember as you work to conquer those sugar cravings, extra weight feeds those cravings by upsetting your hypothalamus and making you more resistant to insulin and leptin. These are important hormones that regulate feeding and sugar handling. In addition to all of this, if you are experiencing stress, which most of us are, we secrete more of a hormone called “ghrelin” which stimulates the need to feed.
The best answer is to adopt a whole foods eating plan that is primarily plant based to curb the brain’s drive for high calorie, sugary filled foods. It can be done, and oddly enough, sugar will taste unbelievably, sickeningly sweet once you accomplish this.