It has been said that sugar can be as addicting as cocaine, a commonly known narcotic. Strange as it may seem, sugar is an abused substance that can lead to natural form of addiction. This addiction is likely caused by the subsequent release of dopamine post-consumption.
Many dieters swear by sugar substitutes such as Stevia, Splenda, or Sweet n Low, due to the low calorie count and absence of carbohydrates. Since sugar substitutes taste similar to sugar, using them as a replacement is the perfect solution, right? Unfortunately, no. The problem with swapping out one sugar taste for another sugar taste is that you are continuing to feed your body’s want for more sugar. Our bodies are already predisposed to want sugar thanks to its easy absorption and quick delivery of fuel to the brain and muscles.
While the initial effects make sugar out to be the hero, it causes a steep increase in blood sugar and later, a drop in blood sugar levels below normal. As many of us have experienced, that blood sugar drop makes more sugar seem like the ideal food choice. Cutting out processed sugar and moderating natural sugars is important for maintaining a healthy weight and keeping your risk of diabetes low.
Dr. Mark Hyman, notable physician and chairman of the Institute for Functional Medicine, says, “When we treat alcoholics or cocaine addicts, we don’t say ‘practice moderation’ and advise them to cut down to just one drink or snort one line of cocaine a day.” Of course short term effects of excessive cocaine and alcohol intake is considered more harmful than short term effects of sugar consumption, but a “cold turkey” approach to ending the cycle of excess sugar consumption has potential to work.
A good way to begin the transition to a sugar free life is to plan the meals you will eat for 5-7 days for a week or two. Test out different foods, try not to be a picky eater. If you enjoy chicken and other lean meats, you should know that high protein intake, compared to fat and simple carbohydrates, has been proven to help cause weight loss and maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Although fruits can come with high levels of natural sugar, they also come with necessary minerals, vitamins, and fiber. Fruit should not be cut out of your diet for this reason, but intake should be modified. Strawberries and blueberries are the perfect low sugar, low calorie snacks.