Can sugar consumption really be called an addiction? Even though you may think this is a bit of an exaggeration, think about the withdrawal symptoms. They really can be compared to those of a quitting alcoholic. Both mental and physical symptoms are tough and quite intense. Experiments conducted on rats show that the animals deprived of sugar had lower levels of pleasure – stimulating dopamine, and they suffered from anxiety and the shakes. Except for headaches, the usual withdrawal symptoms include: low mood, anxiety, fatigue — and daydreams of binging on sugary treats. It all sounds too real when you consider the research that proves you can actually get hooked on sugar. Scientists have found that it’s addictive and stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as cocaine or heroin. So similarly to a drug addict, if you want to free yourself once and for all you have to go through the painful process of detoxing.
How it affects your taste
In a California study, researchers found that most subjects stop feeling cravings after 2-3 days and 87 per cent were feeling ‘clean’ and free from cravings after 6 days. On top of that, after such detox, you require less sugar, your palate changes and food seem ‘sweeter’.
Further benefits of detoxing
Not only will you feel better and experience less sugar crashes and cravings. Most of all, it will benefit your health and decrease risk of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Lots of sugar can have terrible consequences such as a premature death
connected to a cardiovascular disease or cancer.
How to fight the sweet tooth
1. Substitute sweets with fruit.
Choose the low GI low sugar fruit such as berries and eat them in moderation. The will help you resist eating refined sugar found in sweets.
2. Beware of artificial sweeteners.
Even though small amounts of diet soda or sugar free sweets can help you in times of crisis, be careful as artificial sweeteners are known to increase appetite.
3. Clear your house of temptation.
It will be much easier to fight cravings if you don’t see any sweets around you – simple as that.
4. Look for constructive distractions
If you find yourself struggling, take your mind off it – go out for a walk, watch a movie, go work out. Be proactive and avoid dwelling on your cravings.
Although some experts recommend reducing your sugar intake over time, dietician Carole Bartolotto believes that cutting it out altogether is the best way to get through a detox. According to her going ‘cold turkey’, as hard as it may be is the quickest and most effective way to fight the addiction.