How to Break Sugar Addiction: Treatment Options in Jacksonville, FL
Several studies have linked sugar, especially refined sugar and high fructose corn syrup, to health problems like metabolic syndrome and heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, Americans consume an average of 22 teaspoons of sugar daily. It is also believed that a high sugar intake is related to childhood obesity; children consume an average of 32 teaspoons of sugar daily.
Fortunately, there are diets and other methods that can help you stop sugar cravings. You may be able to combat sugar addiction by rewarding yourself for abstaining from sugar or taking a walk to get away from your pantry when you feel a craving. Diets designed to curb sugar addiction may cut out sugar entirely for a few days or reduce sugar intake over a period of time. You may be able to work with a nutritionist or other healthcare provider to figure out which diet is best for you.
To schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional in Jacksonville who can teach you how to break sugar addiction, call (770) 674-6311 or contact Dr. Gail Ravello online.
Why Do I Crave Sugar?
Research suggests that our love for sugar develops early; in infant studies, the first taste preference expressed by babies is for sweet things. This is because sugar has been found to stimulate the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which has been called a "feel-good chemical" due to its role in keeping mood balanced. More recent studies have also demonstrated that foods which cause a rapid and dramatic rise in blood sugar levels - known as high glycemic index foods -are biologically addictive, as they stimulate the pleasure centers in the brain in the same way that recreational drugs do.
Sugar Addiction Symptoms
The excessive availability of sugar and processed convenience foods have made sugar addictions easy to acquire. If you are concerned that you have developed an addiction to sugar, signs include:
- Craving specific foods even if you are not hungry
- Lack of control over what or how much you eat
- Overeating to the point of feeling sick or sluggish
- Anxiety, depression, or obsession over your inability to control your eating
- Health problems directly related to food intake
- Social ramifications related to overeating
- Using food to soothe negative or painful experiences or emotions
- Requiring increasing amounts of food over time to satisfy your addiction
- Continuing these unhealthy food behaviors and ignoring the negative consequences
- Blaming feelings, situations, or other people for the unhealthy aspects of your eating habits
Sugar Addiction Treatment
Learning how to break sugar addiction is possible; however, it takes commitment. It is healthiest to begin a sugar addiction treatment-often called sugar detox-plan under the guidance of a healthcare professional, who can monitor chronic health conditions and offer support and suggestions along the way.
Here are some tips and insights to help you stop sugar cravings and end your sugar addiction:
- Try going cold turkey with regard to simple sugars for 48 to 72 hours. Some people find that their cravings for sugar decrease dramatically if they can cut out simple sugar for a few days.
- Cold turkey doesn't work for everyone. If this is the case for you, focus instead on first eliminating foods high in refined sugars like candy, cookies, breakfast cereals, and processed foods. If that is too difficult, stick to half a cookie or a miniature candy bar when the cravings hit.
- Combine foods. If you're concerned that you can't stick to a small portion of a sweet, try to fill yourself up with something healthier alongside the sugar. For example, mix chocolate chips into plain oatmeal.
- Eat plenty of fruits. Fruits have sugars, but they are packed with nutrients like fiber, which slows down your body's digestion of the sugar glucose and prevents the insulin spike and crash that can cause sugar cravings.
- Eat regularly. Waiting too long between meals can result in cravings for sugary, fatty foods that will sate your hunger quickly. The best way use your eating schedule to stabilize cravings is to eat small amounts every three to five hours.
- Take a walk. When sugar cravings hit, a change of scenery may help distract you.
- Reward yourself. If you successfully meet a dietary goal, play an extra hour of a video game, read a favorite book, or indulge in another reward of your choice.
Once you have broken your addiction to sugar, you will feel healthier both mentally and physically. Not only will you likely lose weight and lower your risk for diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and heart problems, but you will be able to stop worrying about satisfying your sugar cravings. You may feel like you have taken your life back, and you'll be right.
Request Your Appointment Today
Sugar addiction is far more common than you may think. If you are struggling with sugar addiction, a health professional may be able to help you. Call (770) 674-6311 or contact Dr. Gail Ravello online to schedule your first appointment for sugar addiction treatment.
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