The Sugar Addiction You Didn’t Know You Had
Sugar is delicious, unassuming and wildly addictive.
Raise your hand if you’ve made frenzied dessert runs because you were fiending, or lost focus after smelling free bagels at work. Almost all of us are guilty here. Common knowledge states that excessive sugar consumption can lead to diabetes and high blood pressure, but what about mood swings, weight gain, yeast infections, fatigue, PMS, PCOS, anxiety and more? Like carbohydrates, excess sugar metabolizes into excess fat — which makes us pack on the pounds. So, how can you figure out if you’re addicted and what to do about it?
Let’s break this down.
You eat more sugar than you think.
The average American eats 130 pounds (or 12,480 teaspoons) of sugar every year. Just because sugar isn’t on the ingredient label doesn’t mean it isn’t hiding under a code name. Some of its sneaky aliases include cane juice, dextrose, fructose, rice syrup, maltose, raw sugar, glucose, galactose, barley malt and corn syrup. So when you check ingredients, check for all forms of sugar. Oh yeah — honey and agave count too.
Much of our sugar, however, comes from unlikely culprits like sauces, salad dressings, snack bars and seemingly healthy drinks. Just one regular strawberry yogurt has more sugar than two donuts, and McDonald’s oatmeal has more sugar than a Snickers bar.
How to know if you’re addicted
- When you’re not eating, you are constantly thinking about food.
- When sweets are around at work, at parties or in the kitchen, you can’t say no.
- You eat primarily low-fat foods and still can’t shed those last couple of pounds.
- Daily or weekly, you crave sweet foods, even fruit.
- You need to have something sweet with every meal.
- Your energy levels fluctuate wildly throughout the day.
If you answered yes to any of these questions then you may benefit from a sugar detox.
Are ‘sugar-free’ foods are a better alternative?
To date, we have discovered that artificial sweeteners can cause memory loss, sleep problems, weight loss resistance, headaches and increase cravings. Truly, many wannabe sugars haven’t even been around long enough to complete the list of their negative side effects. It’s best to stick to real foods, those that once lived or grew, in as close as possible to their natural states.
Detox for Balance
To put you back in the driver’s seat, do a sugar detox. I recommend cleansing for 21 days, the proper amount of time to break a habit and start fresh. The detox you choose should advise you to focus on whole unsweetened foods for a couple weeks. This means avoiding even natural sugars — including most dairy, sweetened beverages, fruits, refined carbohydrates, processed foods, grains, starchy vegetables and some nuts.
The list of avoidable detox foods may seem daunting, but you can do this! I have seen individuals who chain drink sweet beverages and eat candy daily successfully detox. The key is to find a buddy, focus on what you can eat, plan and prepare, choose recipes you’re excited about, avoid socializing around food and to stick to fresh natural ingredients. Visit your local bookstore or check out the wealth of awesome online resources to get directions, options for eating out and recipes. Pinterest and Instagram also have a wealth of resources, recipes and inspiration for sugar detox-ers.
You’ve got this. Here’s to a slimmer, healthier and more in-control you!
Brocollete is the public persona of L.A. native, wellness promoter and entrepreneur Njambi Gibson. Njambi’s mission is to educate, inspire and empower all people (but specifically women) to live cleaner, healthier lives. Brocollete.com offers nutritional consultations, lifestyle revamps, wellness guidance, events and free resources. To get freebie guidance and daily tips from Brocollete, follow her on Instagram. Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook pages coming soon. Check out her website at brocollete.com.