It seems so harmless. After all, it’s naturally found in fruits, vegetables and just about everything else.
Still, it’s being called the most common addiction in our society today.
What is it? Sugar.
2016 research from the US Department of Agriculture found that Americans eat an average of 94 grams of sugar each day! This shows that we don’t just eat sugary foods because they taste good; we’re addicted.
Just like other addictive substances, when we eat sugars, our brain’s “feel good” chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) come into play. The more you eat, the more you need to eat in order to get that same feeling or high.
Besides causing many health problems, sugar is one of the biggest contributors to obesity. While it’s so important to control our sugar intake, it’s all of the added sugars in foods that are particularly troublesome—and addictive.
I work all the time with people who are addicted to sugar. Most don’t realize just how much they eat every day or what it does to their health.
To help with this, I have put together a list of five reasons to stay away from too much sugar and then five more ways to kick your sugar addiction now.
Take a Look at the Sugar Added to These Foods:
* 20 oz. bottle of soda: 65g of sugar
* Snickers bar: 30g of sugar
* Bag of Skittles: 47g of sugar
* Package of Twinkies: 37g of sugar
* One cup of ice cream: 42g of sugar
* Package of pop tarts: 34g of sugar
* Cereal: 13g (up to 18g in cereals like Raisin Bran)
* Cinnamon roll: 55g of sugar
* Granola: 23g
Check out these healthier breakfast alternatives
5 Reasons Not to Get Hooked
While you don’t have to cut sugar out of your diet completely (because it’s next to impossible to do), it’s important to take a closer look at your daily intake. Here’s why sugar is often a big addiction:
1. When We Eat Sugar, We Eat Too much
Since we don’t feel full after eating foods filled with sugar, we just keep eating and eating, seeking that “reward.” Besides, we rarely realize just how much we eat, causing us to surpass the daily recommendation by a long shot.
Don’t be fooled by “healthy” beverages, either. Fruit juice, sweetened iced tea, and flavored water contain plenty of those pretty white crystals. For example, a 16-oz bottle of orange juice can pack 48g of sugar!
2. When We Eat Sugar, We Aren’t Eating Healthy Foods
Many of us reach for a sugary snack before a healthy one. It’s usually prepackaged, fast and convenient, and looks tasty, but it takes us away from good foods. If you crave something sugary, try eating a healthy snack, or mix up an IdealShake real quick. The shake will take that craving right away and keep you full for three hours!
3. When We Eat Sugar, We Increase Our Fat Intake
Did you know that your body produces up to five times more fat from sugar than it does from starch? Even one sweet treat a day can affect the way your body looks and feels over time. It lowers good cholesterol levels and makes for an unhappy, unhealthy you.
4. Sugar Can Make Us Look Older
Sugar has a way of messing with proteins in our bodies. Proteins have so many different purposes like repairing our skin. Our skin can look aged and sickly due too much sugar. If the proteins in our bodies are unable to do their jobs, our skin can take a beating, which causes us to look older than we actually are.
What About Rewards?
There’s nothing wrong with a little treat now and then, right? It’s so important to have a clear picture of how much you do take in, though. Otherwis, you may get carried away by your brain’s attempts to reward itself.
Without thinking about it, you might have office donuts in the morning, a soda with lunch, and dessert after dinner. Just watch all those sugars add up!
As we can see, those “bites, licks, and tastes” bring loads of calories and sugar every day. In fact, they’re often a big reason for both weight gain and weight loss plateaus.
Knowing that it’s addictive also shows that you shouldn’t cut it out of your diet cold-turkey either. If you do, you’ll likely experience headaches, mood swings or flu-like symptoms. You also put yourself at a greater risk slipping up.
5 Ways to End Your Sugar Addiction
1. Decrease Your Intake Gradually
To control cravings and withdrawals, reduce your sugar intake a little at a time. Start having small servings less often. Create some boundaries by focusing on a treat or two that you really want to have this week.
If you have a favorite healthy food, like apples or carrots, try to replace your usual go to junk food for that. Gradually decreasing your sugar intake will make cravings and withdrawals less severe.
2. Find a Support System
It’s best to have support when you are dieting. Family and friends are awesome sources of support! Even those of us here at IdealShape are here to cheer you on. You don’t have to diet alone.
There are also so many testimonials from other people who were in your shoes. As our Ship Shape winner Yvonne says, eventually sugar cravings subside and it gets easier.
Another Idealshape champ, Shelby, struggled with junk food and soda, but was able to show sugar who’s boss. This means you can too!
3. It’s Time to Clean House
Another way to combat your cravings is to keep away from sugary foods. Don’t keep candy bars in the cabinet or buy a gallon tub of ice cream. Even if it would save you money to buy in bulk, it’s not worth it.
Be prepared for cravings to strike by keeping plenty of healthy snacks handy. You are going to get the urge to snack. Having healthier options around will get you through those sugar cravings.
4. Keep Yourself Hydrated
Hydration is key to getting rid of your sugar addiction. It is so important to drink plenty of water every day. Staying hydrated will keep you feeling full and satisfied all day long.
It will keep your sugar cravings in line and will help you know when you really are hungry.
Drinking plenty of water will also help flush out any harmful toxins from your body. There is power in water! Let it help you get over your sugar addiction.
5. Pump up on Vitamins and Minerals
Sugar cravings also come from a lack of magnesium and zinc. Zinc is especially important when it comes to sugar. It helps your body make insulin and keeps your blood sugar levels in check.
Foods like nuts, seeds, dark leafy greens, and brown rice all contain magnesium and zinc.
Luckily for you, so do our IdealShake! Begin your day with an IdealShake and you’ll be off to a great start. There are so many flavors to choose from, and each serving will provide you with all you need to tame your sweet tooth.
Getting Control Over Your Sugar Addiction
Take control of your sugar addiction. These small changes will make a big difference in your health and weight loss goals! Not only will you start feeling better quickly, you will begin to look healthier as well.
Sugar may taste great, but there are so many more ideal options for you to get you looking and feeling the way you want.
The IdealShake has been a perfect go to for all of my hunger or craving moments. Whenever I feel an urge to make and eat something quick and bad for me, I mix up one of these lifesavers and I’m set.
These shakes are perfect for getting you off sugar. In the amount of time it takes to open up a wrapper, you can make yourself a shake and be off to a better, healthier you.
With all of these tool to help you, your sugar addiction is as good as gone.