- If you have been having sugar throughout your day every day for a long period of time (every day for over a week), it will cause an addiction
- Sugar makes the brain react the same way it would with anything that makes you feel good, such as drugs, alcohol, gambling etc.
- It triggers the Opioid receptors in the brain releasing the Dopamine hormone, which is the ‘feel good hormone’. The Opioid receptors are the receptors that trigger addiction (hence another words for drugs being ‘opioids’
- Eventually your body eventually becomes accustomed to that quantity of sugar and needs you to increase the dose in order for it to receive a greater ‘hit’ of feel good, much like a cocaine or heroin addict, who eventually has to keep increasing the dose for the same level of hit.
- Can reduce the amount you are having gradually over a period of time, though this is time consuming and also very difficult to control without going backwards. The lack of deadline reduces success rates.
- Go cold turkey and cut out ALL sugar including fruit, all sugared beverages including juice and ‘sugar free’ stuff. No sauces, no obvious sugar, no honey, no maple syrup etc. Stevia is the only exception which can be continued.
- Extremely likely you will suffer side effects. This is normal with any addiction you are trying to break. Breaking a sugar addiction can trigger side effects almost identical to a cocaine withdrawal. They commonly last between 2-10 days. Some of these side effects include:
- Bad sleep
- Joint pain
- Cold and flus symptoms
- Mood swings
- During the 14 day detox, you cannot even so much as lick a taste of sugar as it effects the re-setting of your hormones and you will need to start the detox again.
- Once you have completed the detox you can then introduce things such as fruit back into your life. Keep sugar treats in once or twice a week (that includes sauces, confectionary, etc.) as anything more than that will send you straight back to the start.
- NB: If you have an ‘addictive personality’ you need to avoid sugar at all costs permanently. This is because some people have higher levels of Opioid receptors and can’t even handle a ‘little bit’ as it sends triggers right off. You will know, if you are the person that just can’t stop at ‘one’.
- Stress on the body represents the fight or flight instinct
- Historically when the body was stressed it was because it either needed to run away from a tiger or chase its food source. Today we don’t have that problem. We have different stress.
- Our stressors have changed, but the body’s physiological responses have not.
- When we stress the body secretes glucose into the blood stream from your glycogen stores that are stored in every cell of your body, for quick energy.
- It also secretes adrenaline
- When adrenaline is secreted fat burning takes last priority.
- When sugar is secreted into the blood stream, if it is not used as energy, the pancreas’ job is to release insulin to transport the sugar to the liver to avoid it becoming toxic. Too much sugar in your blood stream is lethal. I.e. anything over 5g ( a teaspoon)
- Once in the liver it will be re-converted into glycogen and stored back in your cells.
- However if you eat in between there (think emotional eating) these glycogen stores will already be full. So the liver will then convert that sugar to fat and store it as visceral fat (dangerous fat) inside the abdomen around your organs.
- What causes stress?
- Life, work, school, kids, relationships, tragedy etc. the stuff we usually think about when we use the word stress
- Medication, drugs
- Lack of sleep
- Over eating
- Under eating
- Excess sugar consumption
- Allergen or intolerance food
- Basically anything that causes inflammation on the body
- Reduce stress wherever possible
- Some you can control some you can’t. E.g. you may not be able to control all of the life stressors but can control some or all of the other stuff
- Adjust working arrangements
- Avoid non-essential medication
- Avoid recreational drugs, alcohol and nicotine
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat appropriately
- Reduce sugar intake
- Avoid allergen or intolerance food
- Increase activities that trigger the parasympathetic nervous system. There are 2 parts to our nervous system. The sympathetic which keeps us active and going from minute to minute, and the parasympathetic which helps our body relax, repair and recover.
- Activities include anything that relaxes your mind, reduces your heart rate and makes you feel calm:
- Coloring in
- Warm bath
- Going for a walk
- Listening to gentle music
- Spend time with pets
3. Skipping Meals:
- Increases stress on the body, causing all of the above issues
- The body needs food to be able to function
- If you are awake doing anything, you are burning fuel. If the body does not get consistent re-fuel it will store whatever you do eat as fat, back up fuel, rather than burning your already stored fat.
- Takes too much energy to break down your stored fat if you are not eating consistently so it then breaks down muscle tissue which is quicker and easier and relies on blood glucose as instant fuel.
- Your body is hungry so makes you crave sugar to give it a quick refuel of food it can digest quickly and easily
- This leads to overeating, because the more sugar you eat, the more you crave. Refer back to point 1.
- Have regular consistent meals each day
- Will regulate your blood glucose and reduce stress effects
4. Starting your day with sugar:
- Eating high sugar food e.g. cereal, toast, dairy yoghurt, for breakfast triggers the opioid receptors discussed in point 1. It also triggers the Ghrelin hormone, which informs your body you are hungry, which means you will be wanting to keep eating after breakfast rather than feeling satiated for at least 3 hours.
- Starting your day with a protein, fat and fibre breakfast instead (e.g. eggs with spinach, steak and veg, etc.) will trigger the Leptin hormone which signals your brain that your body is full. This will keep you satiated for longer and avoid the constant grazing and the risk of overeating.
5. Emotional Eating:
- We are conditioned from children.
- Child hurts themselves, or is sad for some reason. Adults says something along the lines of “don’t be sad, here have a chocolate”. Association is then formed in the brain. Emotional eating is born.
- Causes over eating
- Avoid creating this trigger for your kids
- Find another way to settle your emotions:
- Going for a walk
- Speak to a friend, family member, counselor, teacher, psychologist
- Write in a journal
- Toilet paper exercise:
- Grab a roll of toilet paper and write on it everything that is eating you up inside. Be brutally honest; nobody will ever be able to read it, not ever! Then flush it down the toilet
- Write a gratitude list; it’s hard to feel bad when you are feeling grateful
- Go for a bath or shower
- Spend time with pets, they are great for triggering the parasympathetic nervous system
- Draw or color in
- Anything that triggers the parasympathetic nervous system; refer to point 2.
– Terri Batsakis, Nutrition Coach
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