Break up with sugar once and for all! Every person has heard how bad processed sugars are for the body, leading to major health concerns like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease…and yet people still buy them.
A lot of the time, this can be due to uncontrollable sugar cravings that cause an irrevocable cycle of bingeing foods high in processed, refined sugars. It’s time to take back control of your health and your diet–and we’ve collected the valuable information needed for you to do just that.
Consuming refined sugars leads to an addictive brain response, as the sugar hits the pleasure sensors of the brain, which causes sugar cravings. This addiction can cause stress on the liver which can then lead to fatty liver disease.
The ingestion of sugar can cause blood sugar to spike, which then urges your body to release insulin to control the blood sugar spike. When the insulin pulls blood sugar levels to a level too low, it needs to be raised for energy levels to improve so the body craves food. This is why sugar cravings are such an issue as they are constantly messing with blood sugar levels and causing a cycle of sugar cravings.
The Harm Of Excess Sugar Intake
Excess sugar intake more often than not leads to obesity, which then can cause other major health concerns such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease, to name only a few. Some researchers believe that excess sugar intake can lead to leptin resistance, which is connected to sugar cravings, insomnia, and obesity.
Risks of excess sugar intake:
- High Cholesterol
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Increases Risk Of Cancer
- Increases Risk Of Depression
- Accelerates Aging (Cellular And Body)
- Low Energy
- Leads To Fatty Liver
- Risk Of Kidney Disease
- Negatively Affects Oral Health
- Increases Risk Of Gout
- Accelerates Cognitive Decline
The Harm Of Refined Sugars
The metabolization process of breaking down sugars is different between refined and unrefined sugars. The process of breaking down refined sugars is immediate, which causes a spike in insulin and blood sugar levels. For those with diabetes, this is a serious issue, hence the reason they have to watch the foods they eat for fear of insulin spikes.
Since refined sugars are ultimately digested rather fast, a feeling of satiety, or fullness, is nonexistent. This more often than not leads to obesity if a person is dependent on foods high in refined sugars to feel full and as refined sugars are extremely high in calories, this leads to a large caloric surplus which then leads to weight gain.
Break Up With Sugar Once And For All
Check The Ingredients Label
You’d be surprised by the number of hidden ingredients or misleading labels placed on food products. As a vegan, it’s not uncommon to double-check the label even if a product states that it is “dairy-free”…and then you find a milk derivative in the ingredients list.
Double-checking the ingredients labels on food products is the best way to ensure you’re checking for:
- Added Sugars
- Processed Sugars
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Evaporated Cane Syrup
These are all different forms of processed or refined sugars, which have been found to negatively impact one’s health depending on the amount consumed and length of time of frequent consumption (as in years).
Raw (Unrefined) Vs Refined Sugar
Many people automatically assume that zero sugar is the way to go simply because “all sugar is bad”…right?
Processed sugars, also known as refined sugars, are considered to be “empty calories” meaning they hold no nutritional value but boast a heap load of calories when consumed. This leads to negative health risks due to its addictiveness and inability to provide satiety and nutritional value.
Some examples of refined sugars are:
- White Sugar
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Cane Sugar
- Rice Syrup
On the other hand, unrefined, or “raw”, sugars are able to boast nutritional value along with their calorie content. Nutrients such as iron, magnesium, and calcium can be found in unrefined sugars.
Some examples of unrefined sugars are:
- Maple Syrup
- Agave Nectar
- Coconut Sugar
- Date Sugar
Unrefined sugars, like the fruit listed above, take longer for the body to digest than refined sugars. The fruit can then create a feeling of satiety, or fullness while providing the body with essential nutrients like vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Eat Your Protein & Fiber
To replace high-calorie “empty calorie” foods that come from refined sugars, eat a diet rich in nutrients and especially rich in protein and fiber.
In a recent study, it was discovered that a high-fiber meal can create an equal level of satiety as a high-protein meal. Creating a balance between the two is essential, especially if you are active, as protein is needed for recovery purposes (along with a number of other reasons) in the body. Feeling full from high-fiber and high-protein foods can help push back sugar cravings that come from empty calorie foods that need to be eaten in unrealistic portions to finally obtain that required “fullness”.
Be Aware & Sustainable
Completely cutting out sugar for the rest of your life isn’t exactly “sustainable” in any aware person’s eyes. But working to essentially portion control your daily and weekly sugar intake with the chance to enjoy a cookie or a piece of birthday cake as a celebration is okay. That one piece of cake isn’t going to eliminate all the work you’ve put into reducing your sugar intake at home or at the office.
Life is meant to be enjoyed, but to create a sustainable lifestyle and diet, remember that life is meant to be enjoyed too. Acknowledge the sugar cravings and the cause of them (emotions, hormones, sensory cues, etc.) and then move on.
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Why do I crave sugar after a meal?
Sweets provide a quick spike of energy, from a spike in blood sugar levels. The digestion process requires energy from the body, which can sometimes lead into a desire for sugar after a meal.
How long does it take to break a sugar addiction?
It takes about 3-4 weeks to break the cycle of sugar cravings. This is due to the brain adjusting to the new cycle of adjusting to eating healthier, nutritional foods rather than foods high in processed sugars.
What should I eat if I crave sugar?
There's a variety of foods that can be eaten when craving sugar: fruit, nuts, avocadoes, chia seeds, beans, and legumes. All foods rich in fiber and nutrients that aid in creating satiety, or fullness, in the body.
Why am I craving sugar all of a sudden?
Make sure you are eating a diet rich in protein, fats, and fiber. If a diet is lacking in these essential components, it can lead to an insulin spike which can result in sugar cravings.