How to Recover from Sugar Addiction
If you’re addicted to sugar, there are ways to wean yourself from it. You’ll notice the difference in how you feel pretty quickly.
Depending on how much added/artificial sugar you’re used to consuming in a day and how long you’ve done so, you may actually experience withdrawal symptoms. (20) Like any other addiction, your body will respond to the absence of sugar:
- Changes in appetite/food cravings
- Impulsive behaviors
- Weight loss
You can end your over-consumption of sugar cold turkey or more slowly, making conscious dietary choices to cut out the bad stuff. Stopping abruptly is more likely to result in noticeable symptoms of withdrawal. It can take anywhere from a few days to a month to pass through the withdrawal period. (21)
To ease the discomfort of withdrawal, you can try:
- Increasing your activity level will burn sugar before it has a chance to forever store on your hips.
- Eat a handful of nuts or other protein sources (e.g., beans) with anything sweet to slow digestion and the body’s sugar absorption rate.
- Drinking green tea with lemon will help you to eliminate sugar from your bloodstream faster and keep it from sticking around in your kidneys and liver.
- Eating a protein-rich, low carbohydrate breakfast will kick-start your metabolism for the day. Protein in the first meal of the day promotes the burning of sugars to get you going before the protein kicks in to provide the morning’s energy.
- Drink a smoothie that’s primarily made of vegetables (low in sugar) with a little fruit to provide the sweetness you crave. It’s filling, satisfying, and nutritious without a crash later. (22)
Help yourself kick the habit:
- Remove sugary snacks and artificial sweeteners from your pantry.
- Be kind to yourself. Understand the root of your addiction and the chemistry of it. Don’t feel guilt: instead, make conscious choices to make yourself feel better in the long run.
- With a decrease in sugar intake, your brain won’t produce as much dopamine. (23) Do other things that will lift your mood and don’t involve food, liek spending time with friends.
- Replace sweet treats with foods that make you feel good without the sugar. For instance, raw cocoa contains phytochemicals that increase feel-good hormones. Eggs, cultured dairy, cruciferous and green leafy vegetables, beans, spinach, corn, fish, and poultry contain nutrients that stimulate neurotransmitters, including dopamine.
- Drink plenty of filtered water. Not only will it help flush out excess sugar but dehydration can lead to sugar cravings. (24)
- Keep blood sugar levels stable by grazing on healthy foods throughout the day. Sugar spikes and crashes make you crave more sugar.
- Green and sea vegetables provide minerals that often become depleted with excess sugar and give you the energy boost you crave, without sugar.
- Probiotics will help your digestive system to process sugar and rebalance intestinal flora: kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, kimchi, and miso are all super sources.
- Use peppermint oil to ease withdrawal symptoms, either in a diffuser or by applying topically to your temples and insides of your wrists.
- Chromium helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. Eat more chromium-rich foods: shellfish, brewer’s yeast, broccoli, garlic, grapes, beef, and turkey.
- Click here for tips on how to do a 3-day sugar detox.
Remember: the less sugar you eat, the sweeter real food will taste. Reducing the amount of sugar you eat will make you feel better and live longer, now isn’t that sweet?
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