Calling all Sugar Addicts
Are you one of those people who gets a craving for a cookie mid-afternoon and nothing else will satisfy? Do you always have to have desert after dinner? Does your car automatically drive to get coffee in the morning and you inevitably end up with a sweet treat? You might have a sugar addiction.
Summer is just around the corner and with it comes fun in the sun, barbeques and tantalizing treats. Inevitably, it’s possible for your sweet intake to go up more for ice cream, frozen drinks, deserts and even things you would not have considered to be sugar filled like condiments such as ketchup and bbq sauce.
The reality is that your brain gets high on sugar and it makes you feel good. You release a brain chemical called dopamine into the reward centre of the brain, a response similar to that if using heroin or cocaine, when you eat a lot of sugar. Unfortunately the more you eat, the more you want. When you eat a lot of sugar, you develop a tolerance to it because the receptors for dopamine can reduce. Then, small amounts of sugar just won’t do the trick; you need more to feel that same sense of satisfaction. The bigger problem is that reducing dopamine receptors can also affect your response to all things pleasurable.
How to kick you sugar addiction?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but cutting back on sugar is the way to go. Sugar is found naturally in many foods but ditching the refined sugar is key. Eliminating cookies and baked goods is obvious but you also need to get savvy about identifying all the hidden refined sugar in everything else you eat. Start by reading food labels and getting familiar with what to look for.
(Click here for a list of ingredients to look out for)
Food manufacturers list their ingredients in order greatest to smallest amount used. Don’t be fooled by items lower the list because often times there are several sweetening ingredients added to flavour a product. The nutritional information chart can be useful but the amount of sugar does not discriminate between naturally occurring and added sugar, so always make sure to read the list of ingredients.
Get Healthy and Prevent Disease
You don’t need to be a sugar addict or a diabetic to be affected by refined sugar. It contributes to a whole host of health issues:
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Heart Disease: High blood pressure & high cholesterol
Obesity & over eating
Wrinkles and sagging skin
Inflammation and joint pain
If you’re considering cutting out or reducing refined sugars, the time is now. There are lots of great recipes and blogs out there to help you find recipes to suit your needs. I use the search term “refined sugar free (add whatever you’re searching for)”. You’ll be shocked at how great these recipes taste.
Check out my favourite recipe for ketchup to help get you through grilling season.