Do you ever stop and think about how much sugar you consume each day? It may be more than you think. Sugar cravings are usually a sign of poor eating habits. The more sugar and refined carbohydrates you consume, the more you’ll crave.
One of the reasons we have so much trouble with sugar is because it is a substance which is very pervasive in our modern food supply – especially if you consume the Standard American Diet. Sugar is responsible for causing obesity and Diabetes, and contributing to heart disease and cancer. Even if you don’t have a weight problem, you could be consuming more sugar than you should be.
Here are just some of the side-effects a high-sugar diet can cause:
- a weakened immune system
- increased levels of fasting glucose (during times when you are not eating)
- causes an acidic digestive tract, which reduces the amount of friendly bacteria in the gut
- induces a rapid rise of adrenaline – especially in children
- causes deficiencies in various nutrients such as copper, chromium, and other important trace minerals
- interferes with the absorption of calcium and magnesium
- causes premature aging
- increases the risk of Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, and other digestive disorders
- can weaken eyesight
- causes irritability, hyperactivity, crankiness, and difficulty in focusing – especially in children
- contributes to asthma, arthritis, heart disease, appendicitis, multiple sclerosis, and gallstones
- contribute to or cause food allergies
- cause a rise in cholesterol and blood pressure
- can contribute to toxemia in pregnancy
- contributes to diabetes
For a complete list, see 146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health by Nancy Appleton, PhD.
As we draw nearer to the holiday season, you may find yourself tempted and unable to say no to all the seasonal treats and snacks hanging around in places you frequent – your office, your child’s school, holiday events and gatherings, friend’s houses, and even your own home.
If you find yourself constantly having sugar cravings and are unable to stay away from processed foods and refined carbohydrates, here are some suggestions:
- Resolve to make a food journal and keep track of what you are eating for one week. Make as many changes as you feel comfortable with at a time, but know that completely going off sugar for one week will bring about positive changes you might never have realized possible. Review your journal daily. You will be surprised at what you have kept track of and change will become easier each day. Continue your journal beyond a week and see how many other changes occur as time goes on.
- Start replacing snacks like chips, crackers, processed breads, cereals, pretzels, rice cakes, “food bars” and others with choices like sprouted nuts, raw cheeses, whole fruits and vegetables. When you find yourself going for the unhealthy variety, eat the healthy alternatives instead. When your body tells you it wants sugar, it usually means it needs the nutrients in foods with healthy fats.
- For a few weeks to a few months, until you can get your sugar cravings under control, avoid high starch and carb content in meals such as potatoes (white and sweet), white rice, and pasta. Occasional brown rice or brown rice pasta is acceptable.
- Eliminate refined and processed carbohydrates.
- Eat fruit between meals. Eating fruit with large meals can cause bloating and fermentation in the stomach, and can also lead to digestive difficulty for your digestive tract. Fruit between meals helps keep your blood sugar level and is a great snack choice that delivers nutrients and fiber.
- Eat natural grass-fed meats, pasture-raised poultry, and eggs from hens on pasture. Obese meats such as those raised on feedlots and fed corn, grain, and soy add to your overall carbohydrate and glycemic load because those meats contain less protein but more fat and calories due to the feed they are given – grains, soy, corn, and other unnatural, inflammatory substances. Feedlot meats are also full of antibiotics which eliminate healthy gut flora or bacteria and can contribute to sugar cravings. Healthy meats contain the correct amount of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, high protein, healthy fat and calories because they come from animals on pasture and grazing as nature intends. Also include in your diet home-made broths from bones of the meat you consume. Broths are highly nutritious, healing, and supportive of health.
- If you haven’t already, begin a regimen of moderate exercise that you enjoy and can engage in for 20 to 30 minutes three to four times a week. Make certain to start slow and go easy. Although exercise lowers insulin levels, helps keep your blood sugar even, and can aid in reducing sugar cravings, it can also be damaging to your adrenal glands which may already be exhausted from poor dietary and lifestyle habits. You don’t have to be a marathon athlete or competitive sports participant to gain benefit from regular, moderate activity. Walking is a great exercise to begin with for beginning a regular routine.
- Make sure you are taking a good whole-foods, organically-produced vitamin supplement. Consult with a knowledgeable health care practitioner who understands nutrition for recommendations.
- Make sure you are eating foods containing natural probiotics such as raw dairy – milk, cheese, butter, home-made yogurt, buttermilk, or other fermented foods such as home-made sauerkraut. You can also take a good quality, therapeutic-grade probiotic such as BioKult, Biotics Research brand, Prescript-Asisst, or Advanced Naturals, are reputable brands that provide good bacteria count.
- Include plenty of natural fiber from cooked and lacto-fermented vegetables in your diet. Be sure to eat healthy fats with your vegetables – home-made salad dressing with salads and butter, coconut, or olive oil with cooked. Throw out all bottled and packaged dips, toppings, and salad dressing as they are full of sugar and many contain MSG, other excitotoxins, and other dangerous chemicals.
- Make sure you have a good source of essential fatty acid supplementation – fermented cod liver oil from Green Pasture Products is, in my opinion, the only cod liver oil supplement worth using. Organic, cold-pressed flax seed oil is healthy as well, but should not be considered a substitute for a good cod liver oil.
- Consider performing a candida cleanse. People who eat refined foods on a regular basis almost always have a yeast overgrowth problem. This leads to sugar cravings, fatigue, immune system deficiency, weight gain, and long-term degenerative disease. Consult with a knowledgeable complimentary health care practitioner about how to go about this important step in managing health issues, and learn about the proper diet for this type of cleanse as well as professional grade supplements that are necessary to help remove candida overgrowth from your body.
- Obtain adequate rest and stress relief daily. Go to bed before 10:30 p.m. nightly and make sure to take time out for yourself during your busy day.
- Don’t make the mistake of thinking that using artificial sweeteners will be an acceptable replacement for your sugar cravings. All of these substances including Splenda, Aspartame, Saccharine, High-Fructose Corn Syrup and any type of corn syrup is highly-refined, will continue to cause sugar cravings, and leads to long-term health issues in the same way sugar can.
For more information on the impact alcoholic beverages have on a sugar addiction, read Alcohol and the Sugar Connection
Want some ideas for foods that will help reduce sugar cravings and boost your immune system and health?
Wondering about exercise and weight?
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Ideas for keeping your kitchen stocked with healthy foods that give energy and wellness?