HAVE YOU BEEN EATING TOO MUCH OF SUGAR?
Sugar in small quantities is not a health risk, but we are simply eating too much of it. Excess sugar in the diet is bad for our waistline as well as heart we all know. But there is evidence now to prove that high levels of sugar consumption (or sugar addiction) have a serious negative effect on the mental health as well.
WHO recommends only 5% of daily caloric requirement from sugar. It is as high as 13% -15% in a typical diet with zero nutritional value. Mostly in the United States of America, people are consuming five times more the amount of sugar is required.
Research has proven that with high intake of sugar the communication among brain cells is impaired leading to learning difficulty and impaired memory. It may contribute to depression and anxiety. Sudden binges and craving for sugar causes the blood sugar to spike then drop, often called as “crash down” causes irritability, mood swings, and fatigue.
Recent studies suggest that sugar& carb-rich foods can also mess with nerve signals and neurotransmitters, sugar stimulates the release of the mood-boosting neurotransmitter – Serotonin. Cravings for sugar lead to the Over-activity of the serotonin pathways, which causes depletion of the limited supply of the feel-good neurotransmitter. It mimics symptoms of depression.
THE SUGAR ADDICTION-THE VICIOUS CYCLE:
What if I tell you that Sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and it stimulates the same pleasure centers in the brain as cocaine sometimes even more? The more sugar we eat, the more dopamine is released, and you experience that “high” and just like these drugs getting off sugar leads to symptoms of intense withdrawal, hunger & restlessness!! With time the dopamine receptors in the brain become less sensitive to the presence of sugar, your brain needs more sugar to generate the same “high” and your addiction to sugar grows stronger.
Over-consumption of sugar creates a chaos in the brain, it creates a perpetual cycle of intense cravings.
When a person consumes sugar→ it activates tongue taste receptors→signals to the brain→ It lights up the reward pathway releasing the feel-good hormone – Dopamine, blood sugar level increases→ Mass insulin is secreted to drop the blood sugar levels→ insulin sores sugar as fat in the liver→blood sugar levels drop rapidly→ body craves for sugar→ it increases appetite and binge eating for more sugar→ hence, the cycle starts again.
HOW MUCH IS YOUR SUGAR ADDICTION COSTING YOU?
Some foods like fruits have natural sugar and it comes along with many vitamins and minerals, but there is far too much sugar hidden in most of the food that we consume in today’s lifestyle. Most foods are highly refined, processed and packed with preservatives readily available in the supermarkets and we are consuming sugar in a quantity which is 5 times more than the desired amount. This excess consumption of sugar is predominantly the cause of childhood obesity, developmental issues and behavioral problems in adults and kids.
What’s scarier the consumption or the addiction? The addiction, sets in without notice, with the multi-million food chains making sure that this addiction stays strong. “Low fat” hides the fact of excess sugar in the item, adds to the empty calories, & we end up putting on extra kilos.
OVERCOMING THE SUGAR ADDICTION:
Most of the people understand that excess sugar is bad but still something prevents them to overcome the addiction.
- First, most people don’t realize how much sugar they are consuming every day.
- They don’t take their sugar cravings seriously as addiction.
- They try to stay away from sugar-laden snacks but find it too hard to do so. Though the addiction is strong and compelling it is possible to free your mind and body from this. It can be done in about 2 weeks if we start early:
STEP # 1: GET RID OF ALL THE PROCESSED FOODS AND SUGAR FROM THE HOUSE
Look out for sugary drinks, sugary cereals, snack bars, baked goods, white bread, replace it with whole wheat bread, fruits, veggies, fresh juice, healthy multigrain cereals.
STEP # 2: EAT BREAKFAST THAT IS HEALTHY AND WHOLESOME.
Most of the sugar carvings occur because in the rush hours of the morning we do not provide our body with the required nutrients and cravings sets in at odd times. Eat a well – rounded healthy breakfast to begin the day.
STEP # 3: DRINK MORE WATER
Dehydration will only increase your sugar cravings. Keep yourself well hydrated.
STEP # 4: PREPARE HEALTHY SNACKS AND KEEP THEM HANDY
A very important reason why sugar addiction is so difficult to break is the easily available “on the move”snacks, which are processed, refined, high in sugar content and gives instant energy. Replace cookies, snack bars, crackers with carrots, fruits, nuts. Always remember, if you skip meals, or avoid eating for long hours, you will only enhance your sugar cravings. Prevent this by eating healthy snacks throughout the day. Do not overeat in one meal
STEP # 5: BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE, EXERCISE MORE
To overcome your sugar addiction, it’s very important to balance your blood sugar. Daily exercise gives the outlet to the burn the excess sugar before the liver converts it to fat.
STEP # 6: LOWER YOUR STRESS LEVELS
Stress can cause binge eating and makes the addiction even stronger.
STEP # 7: SLEEP WELL IN THE NIGHT
Research has proved that the blood sugar levels depend upon our sleep pattern. Irregular sleep pattern tricks our mind into eating at odd times, giving into the sugar addictions. Make a strict bedtime routine every day, so that you get a good 8-hour sleep every night.
Sugar addiction maybe powerful, but you can overcome it. Follow these healthy steps and see the difference yourself.
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