Most of us love sugar. We can eat it any time, any place and in just about anything. We don’t have a sweet tooth; we
have a sweet arm or leg. We know it’s not healthy or good for us but we just can’t help ourselves. We swear that
starting tomorrow we are off sugar. NO MORE. But then tomorrow comes and all we can think about is candy,
cookies, cake, and ice cream – anything sweet. WHY can’t we stop thinking about it? Are we weak? Do we not have
any will power? There’s a really good reason. Sugar. Is. Addictive. Studies show that it is as addictive as alcohol,
heroin, nicotine, opiates and even cocaine. Just a taste of sugar triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter
involved in the brain’s pleasure/reward/motivation pathways. Basically, sugar addiction pushes us to keep looking
WHY CAN’T WE STOP EATING SUGAR?
Essentially, when sugar, especially simple sugars are digested, glucose enters your bloodstream and says, ‘Hey,
release the insulin!’ That moves the glucose into the cells where it then becomes energy. Your blood sugar levels
spike. Then your pancreas makes insulin, a hormone and as a result, your blood sugar level may have a sudden drop.
This rapid change in your blood sugar leaves you feeling weak and shaky and searching for more sweets to get back
that sugar “high.” It becomes an unhealthy cycle of eating sugar, the drop in blood sugar and the craving for more to
get more energy.
WHAT ARE DANGERS OF SUGAR ADDICTION?
Sugar has many negative impacts on your health.
It can cause:
Hypertension (high blood pressure)
Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
…Just to name a few scary possibilities.
Sugar overloads your liver forcing it to turn the glucose into fat which makes your whole body work harder. Sugar
upsets the mineral relationships in your body and increases both your total and bad cholesterol levels. Sugar also
feeds cancer cells and is one of the leading causes of gum disease.
HOW DO I BREAK THE SUGAR CYCLE?
Sugar withdrawal sounds a little dramatic, but it’s a real thing and quitting cold turkey can be difficult. You need to
cut out all sweets, fruits, refined grains, and most dairy. You can expect lethargy or lack of energy, anxiety,
headaches, muscle pain, insomnia, chills and nausea. While the withdrawal sounds miserable, it’s better than the
continuing up and down cycle of sugar and the health dangers.
If quitting cold turkey sounds like more than you can handle, try eating a little less day by day. You’ll feel less of the
withdrawal side effects but it will (obviously) take longer to detox. The less sugar you eat, the less you’ll find you
crave. There are foods that have lower glycemic levels which mean that they have less of an impact on your body and
the insulin produced by your body when you eat it. Foods that are higher in fiber are good choices since the fiber
keeps you feeling fuller, longer. Berries and oatmeal are good options as well as leafy green vegetables, legumes,
sesame seeds, peanuts and other seeds.
CAN SUGAR SUBSTITUTES HELP KICK MY SUGAR ADDICTION?
There are different schools of thought on this. Several sugar substitutes can have the same impact on your blood
glucose as sugar. Saccharine, aspartame, sucralose and products like them can trigger the same drop in blood sugar.
However, Erythritol and Stevia are natural sweeteners that have a low glycemic index and won’t affect your blood
sugar but can give you that sweetness you may crave or want in certain foods.
Kicking your sugar addiction is great for your overall health and that includes your teeth. We all know that sugar
leads to tooth decay which can lead to periodontal disease. Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body so
keeping your mouth healthy by staying away from sugar is just plain good for you!
Your health matters to us. If you have any questions concerning this post, call us at (248) 357-3100 today.
We’re always happy to hear from our awesome patients!
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or
treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding
medical conditions or sugar addiction.