I hope your weekend was great. Mine started off a little blah, but Sunday was good. Saturday I felt nauseated and had a horrible tension headache all down the back of my head and neck. I made a stew for lunches for the week. That made me feel a little better.
Sunday we cleaned the house and ordered pizza to watch the Falcons game.
I spent quite a bit of time on Pinterest yesterday, which got me thinking about my battle with sugar. I did a little research, and here’s what I’ve found.
Consuming sugary foods and drinks definitely releases serotonin and dopamine, the “feel good” chemicals in the brain (source). If you’re in a constant flux of denying yourself and then binging on sugary foods, then the effect can be increased. Imagine the feeling of relief when you’ve been craving sugar and finally take a bite of the sugary doughnut or the first sip of that syrup-filled latte.
The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs stated in a study published in 2010 that sugar releases euphoric endorphins in some people’s brains in a manner very similar to that of certain drugs which are commonly abused. (source)
Some researchers have even found that people who consume large amounts of sugar develop a tolerance and need more and more to feel the same “feel good” effects (source). Other scientists find this perspective a little extreme, but I know this has to be true for me.
I once saw a demonstration of how many sugar packets are in the foods and drinks we consume. You would never feed yourself (or your kids or family) straight-up spoonfuls of sugar. So why do we let ourselves consume it in things we can’t see even when we know it’s there?
I’m one of these people. I don’t drink many sugary drinks, but I consume my fair share of sugar-laden foods. And it seems like once I start, I can’t stop myself even when I start to feel full or even sick. That’s one symptom of “sugar addiction.” Other possible symptoms include withdrawal symptoms and low blood sugar symptoms, too.
Sugar is a simple carbohydrate that converts to glucose in the bloodstream, causing your blood sugar to increase in a short amount of time. From there, your pancreas releases insulin to move the glucose into your cells for energy giving you that “sugar coma” that comes after the high. The result is that you’re hungry again pretty soon afterward and your body feels like it needs more sugar to repeat the “high” you had before.
So how do you detox your body and quit the sugar addiction?
As with any addiction, the “cold turkey” method is never the easiest or most effective. It’s more reasonable to slowly wean yourself off sugar and retrain your taste buds to enjoy less sugary things. One way to do this is to eat more natural sweet treats instead of processed junk. Eat fruit instead of pastries and cookies. They still have sugar, but other nutrients and fiber help slow digestion and prevent that sugar high and then coma afterward. Sub in more veggies and fill yourself up on water when you think you want a sweet.
When you’re starving and that cupcake in the break room is calling out to you, fill up on protein to keep yourself full. Protein digests slower and doesn’t spike your blood sugar. Fiberful foods keep you fuller longer too.
- 2 T peanut butter on an apple
- A handful of grapes and a string cheese stick
- 1/2 C yogurt and a big handful of berries
- A small handful of almonds and a baggie of baby carrots
- Greek yogurt dip and veggies/fruit
I’m going to try to start a sugar detox today, slowly eliminating the large amounts of sugar I consume with more healthy alternatives. I’m also going to really pick up my Iron Man training regimen.
It all starts with a plan and good attitude. So, I’m focusing on being positive today. My whole house is great. I can do anything good.