Addiction: a neuropsychological disorder characterized by a persistent and intense urge to engage in certain behaviors despite substantial harm and other negative consequences. (It) alters brain function in ways that perpetuate craving, and weakens self-control. Wikipedia
You’ve had a bad day, and frustration is running high. What could help you cope? Just got to have…what? A cigarette? A drink? A toke? Some ice cream?
When people experience trauma, especially as children, they create coping mechanisms to handle the stress. Addictions begin as self-soothing. The most obvious addictions are to drugs, alcohol, tobacco and sex. But people have a wide variety of addictions, many not commonly considered to be an addiction.
While some “experts” think that sugar is not actually an addiction, rather a hard-to-break habit, I believe that sugar is the most far-reaching addiction in the US and there are experts who agree with me. I suspect that as many as 90% of the population has it. If you don’t believe it, reads labels and try going without sugar for a week.
Do you lose control and eat more than you planned? I don’t need to tell you that sugar, in all its forms, is bad for your body’s appearance. It also boosts your risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It can re-wire your brain to crave sugar, and you can start having withdrawal symptoms when you don’t get “enough.”
Nerves can absorb sugar, which attracts water, which results in swelling. It can interfere with the nerves that cross joints, especially, creating arthritic pain.
“Sugar addiction is a measurable, physiological phenomenon many people suffer from,” says Ken Berry, MD, author of Lies My Doctor Told Me. “Sugar addiction makes it very difficult for many people to make the dietary improvements needed.”
Some people with a sugar addiction may recognize they’re eating too much, but instead of finding ways to cut back, they hide it. “Making excuses or making deals with yourself concerning sweets and desserts is a definite sign of sugar addiction,” Dr. Berry says. “No one hides broccoli in their closet; if you hide sweets, or sneak to eat them, you might have a sugar addiction.”
If you’re making special late night trips to the gas station to pick up a pint of ice cream, you should take a hard look at your priorities, according to the Addiction Center. This is a clear sign your need for sugar is spinning out of control.
Sugar can hide in foods where you least expect it. Although they don’t seem sweet, ketchup, barbecue sauce, and pasta sauce can have loads of sugar. So can reduced-fat salad dressings, bread, baked beans, and flavored coffees.
I recommend you get in the habit of reading labels. You don’t always see the word “sugar” on a food label. It often goes by another name, like these:
- Agave nectar
- Brown rice syrup
- High-fructose corn syrup
- Evaporated cane juice
- Malt syrup
So, what’s a person to do? I have a sugar addiction, and for me, going cold turkey is the only way. A little bit here and there never works for me, as it continues stimulating the craving. Even synthetic sugar replacements (as in diet sodas) promote the desire.
I have gone for as long as 8 months with no sugar, including grains and legumes (beans and peas) while on the Paleo Diet. To say I have kicked the habit would be wrong. Sugar shows up in so many foods, and one has to be careful when eating out or eating any pre-prepared food.
There are substitutes for that craving. Eat nuts. Have some berries. Try non-sweetened yogurt. Eat some sweet potato. Make butter bombs and keep in the freezer for when you want something sweet.
Recipe: brown some butter. Add some tallow (heath food store) and possibly a drop of liquid stevia. Put into little trays and freeze. When sugar cravings arise, pop one into your mouth to melt on your tongue.
The universe is giving you signs every day. In your sleep, on your timeliness, in your conversations, on the radio, in the sky, in synchronicities. Pay attention to them and piece them together. You will notice a pattern. The Universe is communicating with you.
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