You know you are addicted to something when you have an uncontrollable urge to consume it.
Our bodies need sugar for energy.
In fact on a busy day where you even forget to eat, when you start to feel faint and tired, grabbing a quick soda can boost your energy levels and revive you almost immediately.
Craving sugar may not be a bad thing all the time.
However, if you start to feel like it is more of an addiction than a need for a quick energy boost then there is a need for checks and balances.
Why is too much sugar bad?
Sugar has been linked to many health complications like obesity, tooth decay, diabetes, and heart disease.
Artificial sugars like those added in soft drinks like soda have high levels of fructose.
Fructose increases your desire for sugar and yet it does not curb your hunger.
When you look at most of the foods that have high sugar content, they do not have much nutritive value.
That means you are eating stuff that is not helping your body in any way other than making you fat, and you are eating lots of it.
All the extra food you eat will go into storage hence the weight gain.
Eating too much sugar leads to fat deposits around your heart which clogs your arteries leading to heart complications.
When you consume too many drinks with added sugar, you increase your recommended daily intake of sugar and whatever the body does not use it converts into fat and stores it.
Some of that fat is deposited around your heart and when your blood vessels narrow it puts a strain on your heart which may give way causing you to have a heart attack.
It increases your risk of diabetes
Consumption of higher than required levels of sugar makes the body resistant to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar.
When blood sugar levels are not regulated then a person is at a high risk of getting diabetes.
When you eat sugar, the bacteria in your mouth want in on the fun too and as they feed on the sugar, they erode your enamel which causes your teeth to decay.
How can one know that they are addicted to sugar?
When you can’t control yourself around sugary foods, you eat them to the point where you feel sick, then you might have an addiction.
If you crave sugar even when you are not hungry, then you need to check yourself.
Do you eat stuff without much thought to it, you don’t quite enjoy it but you are helpless to stop yourself?
That is a warning bell for addiction.
Manufacturers of foods with added sugars are deliberate in making them addictive so that you can keep buying more and more, so do not feel too bad if you cannot stop yourself.
However, you can also make deliberate efforts to make sure you don’t fall prey to their clever schemes.
Here’s how you can beat the system.
1. Plan your meals in advance
If you know what you are going to eat all day or all week then you should go ahead and shop for healthy stuff and prepare a menu in advance.
It takes away the element of surprise that makes you look at unhealthy options when you can’t decide what to eat.
This way you can always be deliberate about choosing healthy nutritious foods as opposed to the empty calories from the sugary stuff.
2. Edit your pantry
Since we are making deliberate choices how about getting rid of all that unhealthy stuff in your pantry?
If it is not easily accessible, you will not crave it because of all the trouble you will have to go through to get it.
That means you will revert to healthy choices instead.
Even when doing your shopping, make deliberate choices and this way you will kick sugar addiction to the curb.
3. Add flavor to your food
When many people think about healthy food they think of bland boring food.
However, there are lots of herbs and spices that you can use on your food to make it more exciting and that way you will not crave the unhealthy stuff.
4. Look out for hidden sugars
Sugars are not always obvious like on glazed donuts or a bottle of your favorite fizzy drinks.
Sugar can be found in sauces, canned foods, and even some condiments.
There are lots of other foods too that are packed with bad sugars labeled as something else.
Here are a few ingredients to look out for, molasses, rice syrup, crystallized fructose, beet sugar, fruit juice concentrate, and barley malt.
All that is added sugar going by an alias and should be consumed in moderation.
5. Stay hydrated
Sometimes, we are not even hungry but just thirsty.
Many times when the body is craving for water, it can be confused for a sugar craving.
Making sure that you drink enough water is a sure way of keeping your addiction at bay.
Add some fruit to your water or some slices of lemon and a little stevia to satisfy your mouth’s need for a sweet taste.
6. Meditate to avoid stress
Stress has been linked to increased sugar cravings.
When you meditate, it reduces your stress levels and meditation can also help to ward off the withdrawal symptoms of cutting sugar out of your diet.
It increases your will power and helps you focus on other things.
7. Eat more protein
Include high protein foods and foods rich in fibers in your diet.
These foods keep you feeling full for a lot longer and help keep the cravings at bay.
Stock up on eggs, beef, chicken and healthy fats from nuts and avocados.
Go for fruits instead of fruit juices.
8. Have a positive mindset
All the information about addiction out there can make you feel like a failure before you even start.
Because they talk about how it is hard to beat, how the withdrawal symptoms can take you to the edge of insanity and all other sorts of things.
However, it is important that before you embark on this journey you harness the power of your mind.
Believe you can do it and you will.
Let all the other nonsense be secondary to your desire to beat this.
Even when you cave in, do not lose focus or give up but instead, think of all the benefits you are going to gain when you succeed.
Weight loss, more energy, reduced risk of health complications, longer life.
The rewards are immense.
Trying to beat an addiction is not easy.
Pace yourself and do not try to set unrealistic goals for yourself.
While there are a few people who can just wake up one morning and decide to quit, the vast majority struggle and if you fall into this category, you don’t have to feel discouraged.
Rome was not built in a day and with consistency and the right mindset, you can be able to conquer anything you set your mind to.