Nom Nom Nom! Oh, just enjoying an organic pop-tart as I publish this…can you say, ironic? HA!
by Lindsay Tuttle |Founder of thefoodcure & staff writer for The Snap Mom
Tis the season. Pumpkin pie. Red velvet cake. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
What’s the commonality? It’s all sugar, and it all has no true nutritional value for your body.
When Halloween and the holiday season rolls around, many of us can often find our spoons in the ice cream pint and our forks in the pie. Whether it says gluten free, GMO free, dairy free, or anything free on the package, sugar is sugar, and it’s important that you get control over it.
What does sugar addiction do to your body?
Immediate consequences are weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, anxiety, bloating, and headaches. You know what I’m talking about. That 2 PM afternoon lull seems like a great time to reach for caffeine and sugar, but no one feels that much better after giving into the craving. Yup, you feel like a lump on a log, and that’s thanks to sugar.
When blood sugar levels are chronically elevated, the resulting inflammation stimulates cells to change, making them less sensitive to insulin. The pancreas then secretes more insulin to lower the elevated blood-glucose levels. Insulin resistance develops, and when the blood sugars can no longer be balanced within a normal range, you develop type 2 diabetes. Yikes! Besides type 2 diabetes, sugar has been associated with many other chronic health problems, such as fatty liver disease, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, gout, kidney disease, urticaria, accelerated aging, and even cancer.
Even worse, sugar compromises your immunity, lowering your body’s ability to fight infection. In fact, every time you eat sugar, it suppresses your immune system by 50% within 10 minutes and for up to 5 hours. Double yikes!
How do you break the sugar habit?
Giving up sugar can be scary. A 2007 study by a team of French researchers found sugar can be more rewarding than cocaine! It can be even more difficult to give up if you have gut dysbiosis or a gastrointestinal infection. Certain living things that are found in your gut can make you crave sugar more intensely and send signals to your brain to eat more of it. However, if you can resist sugar for a few days, and then for a few weeks, you will notice the sugar cravings will decrease quickly. You can live without it.
What are other names for sugar?
It’s important you know the other names for sugar when you are reading labels and looking at ingredient lists (they are in things that aren’t “sweet” too!). Here are a few popular ones:
Don’t forget that sugar doesn’t equate to just sweets. This also includes those starchy foods we all love so much. Potatoes? Check. Rice? Check. Pasta? Check. Whole wheat and white bread? Check. Just because it says whole wheat or whole grain on the label does not make it a better choice as far as blood sugar levels. In fact, according to research, these foods hit your brain quicker than sugar when you ingest them, and your brain sees them as sugar! Better choices that have that satisfying starch, but a lower glycemic load are starchy vegetables such as squash and sweet potatoes.
Avoid artificial sweeteners in addition to sugar. There really is nothing nutritionally beneficial about them, and they may negatively affect your brain, gut flora, and other aspects of your health. I’m not just talking aspartame and Splenda which both have research supporting their nasty effects on the brain and gut; I’m also talking about truvia, stevia, and erythritol. There really is nothing nutritionally beneficial about them. In addition, they can be highly addictive and exponentially increase sugar cravings.
More natural sugars include maple syrup and honey. Honey also has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Both contain vitamin and minerals, and honey even contains some essential amino acids. Local honey includes pollen from local allergens to help your body acclimate to them. Of course, everything in moderation! These will still affect your blood sugar and can cause some of the same symptoms discussed above. Make sure you choose an organic brand without any additives and preservatives, and ACTUAL maple syrup, not flavored corn syrup.
Set up for Success
· Set a goal to avoid sugar and/or artificial sweeteners for a set number of days and keep to it.
· Be realistic. Have grace with yourself when you mess up.
· Have your spouse or a friend keep you accountable.
· Make a conscious effort to meal plan and keep real foods and real snacks in the house that are beneficial to your health.
· Keep healthy snacks with you on the go so that you don’t make impulse decisions.
· Educate yourself on ways to get the nutrients you need through your meals, try new foods and recipes, and find out how to read your nutrition labels more thoroughly.
· Journal any emotions or struggles that you experience or connect with your eating.
· Chew your food with purpose.
You will find that not only are you capable of kicking your sugar addiction, you can enjoy a larger variety of flavors, seasonings, and foods.
About the author
Lindsay Tuttle is a 28-year-old God-loving mama, wife, nurse, and blogger. Currently in her last 6 months of my graduate studies to become a Family Nurse Practitioner, which she plans to use to practice integrative and functional medicine with a focus on nutritional healing and autoimmune disease. Visit her blog at http://