Are you a sugar addict?

Sugar-Lips

With Easter looming around the corner, and at risk of ruining your sugar induced coma’s from all the Cadbury Crème eggs, we thought you deserve to know how sugar really affects your body!

On average, we consume 22 teaspoons of sugar each, per day! This number skyrockets at this time of year and we can see and feel the effects with our patients each day. I am constantly finding hyperactive pancreatic reflexes (part of the body that initially responds to blood sugar increases), as well as liver and adrenal overload following the Easter weekend! Many patients also report feeling inflamed and sluggish after a sugar binge.

Here are some not–so-fun facts about sugar:

  • It is the most addictive substance in the world, even more so than cocaine and other street drugs. Sugar lights up the pleasure centres in the brain and releases dopamine, the feel-good and reward chemical!
  • By any definition, sugar is a toxin. The calories in sugar are different to those from any other source and can affect the liver in a similar way to alcohol
  • Certain types of sugar triggers your liver to store fat more quickly
  • It can interfere with your body’s signals that tell your brain you’re full (leptin), making you feel ravenous even after a substantial meal. Have you ever wondered why you go searching for that piece of chocolate after dinner?
  • Just like drug withdrawals, quitting sugar can cause detoxification symptoms such as headaches, nausea, shaking, disorientation, fatigue, disturbed sleep, nightmares and severe cravings for up to seven days!
  • Try not to go reaching for the chocolate bar when you’re tired and needing energy. It takes about 30 minutes for the spike of energy from your chocolate bar to wear off which will leave you crashing and searching for even more sugar to regain that ‘high’
  • Just one can of soft drink per day can increase your risk of heart disease by 30% because of the high liquid sugar content!
  • Sugar also increases inflammation in the body, making you retain fluid, feel sluggish and can exacerbate many chronic inflammatory conditions.
  • The brain pumps out insulin even in response to the thought of something sweet!

Do you think your sweet tooth is a problem?

Here are 5 signs you are addicted to sugar:

  1. You make excuses for your sugar “it’s okay, it’s organic” or “it’s been a tough day”
  2. You make special trips to the café or supermarket to satisfy your sweet tooth
  3. For motivation, you reward yourself with something sweet
  4. You have a secret stash of sugary treats, or you binge when you’re alone
  5. You have tried to quit sugar but gave up

If this sounds like you, then you might need to start kicking the sugar addiction for good.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Sugar by any other name… Read the labels, even if it doesn’t read ‘sugar’ it may be hidden behind the following names:
    • Agave nectar
    • Brown rice syrup
    • Fructose
    • High-fructose corn syrup
    • Dextrose
    • Maltodextrin
    • Evaporated cane juice
    • Glucose
    • Lactose
    • Malt syrup
    • Sucrose
  1. Be prepared! Ensure your diet is rich with healthy proteins and fats that will often help to curb cravings
  2. Get outside! Exercise, even gentle walking, can help restore blood sugar levels and promotes positive rewards from the brain, similar to that of a sugar binge without the side effects!
  3. Get adjusted! This will help manage your blood sugar levels and ensures the ‘messages’ between your brain, pancreas and digestive system are working optimally.
  4. Recognise your triggers! Do you often reward yourself for a job well done with dessert or feel like you need chocolate after a stressful day? Try and prepare for these in advance by committing to more positive rewards for your hard work that don’t involve food!

~ Dr Andrea

P.S. And remember, you can still enjoy Easter with delicious treats that won’t leave your blood sugar levels crashing and your body inflammed. Check out the ‘healthy’ Easter Egg recipe in our latest edition of ‘The Openmind’!

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