One of the most common addictions in society today, is that of emotional eating, sometimes referred to as “comfort eating” and whilst it seems a lot softer and friendlier than hardcore drug addiction or alcoholism, the effects can be just as damaging.
Indeed, the effects of sugar addiction in particular include heart disease, diabetes, and a variety of other physical diseases. In this article we’re going to take a look at what is sugar addiction and how to handle it.
WHAT IS SUGAR ADDICTION?
You might have noticed the growing trend of sugar free snacks hitting our shelves, which is due to the rising awareness of the negative effects sugar has on the body – particularly our youth, as today, more and more children are being diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.
Sugar addiction, in its simplest form is an addiction to sugar – a craving for sugar that for many becomes insatiable to the point they can’t function without a regular hit of sugar, in the same way a person addicted to nicotine craves a cigarette.
The reasons we crave sugar tend to be in one of two groups: physical and emotional, in that we are either responding to a physical craving (e.g. our energy level drops so we reach for sugar to spike it back up) or an emotional craving (e.g. we feel stressed or sad, so reach for chocolate as a coping mechanism).
The main reason we crave sugar is low blood sugar and low energy. After all, sugar is used as a fuel, for instance, the brain relies on glucose to function properly.
Therefore, we’re not intentionally doing anything destructive – we’re just responding to a physiological impulse to quickly get the fuel our body needs the most. If you look at the quickest and most convenient way to get an “emergency supply” of glucose into your body, it tends to be in the form of sugar – for instance, a sugary drink or a fruit high in fructose.
HOW TO CURB CRAVINGS
The best advice is to eat healthier food, in a healthier way, for instance, you want to make sure that you don’t have blood sugar crashes during the day that require instant sugar to balance them back out. In this sense, you want to eat a balance of macronutrients, as this will keep you fuller for longer and your blood sugar levels will be much more stable – meaning no peaks and crashes.
Eating regularly can help, particularly with regard to high protein meals.
Adding spices to meals, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom have been shown to improve blood sugar regulation. An example of what you could eat instead of a chocolate bar is a piece of toast with banana, peanut butter and cinnamon. This way, it will placate your need for sweetness whilst fueling your body in a more healthy and sustainable way.
Also, it can be as simple as making your favorite drinks and meals without adding sugar.
The final step is to find better ways to cope with emotions such as stress and sadness. For many people, sugar is their go to remedy, and if you want this to change – you need to find something to replace it that feels just as good (but is better for you).