If you have ever tried to stop sugar addiction, it will come as no surprise that sugar is addictive as heroine and smoking. We love it because it gives us gives us instant pleasure and comfort. What can be more rewarding than a bar of chocolate when we need an energy or emotional boost? Most of us start our sugar addiction in childhood when we are given sugary foods as rewards and treats, not only do they taste good but there is a strong emotional attachment as well. Processed foods today are laced with sugar to capitalize on this; even foods that are normally thought of as savory such as baked beans and barbeque sauce are loaded with sugar. No wonder we have become a nation of sugar addicts.
Why do we need to stop sugar addiction?
An over indulgence in sugar has been implicated in a range of health problems. It leaches Vitamin B which you need to cope with physical, mental and emotional stress, it can cause highs and lows in your energy, suppress your immune system making you more susceptible to illnesses, and interfere with the absorption of minerals needed for good health. It can also elevate inflammation which has been implicated in a lot of health problems such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and a host of other serious problems. Not only that, over indulgence can make you feel tired, foggy headed, cranky and lead to unwanted weight gain. If you need to find a reason stop sugar addiction these are very compelling.
A study conducted in 1988, showed that the human body turns fructose (fruit sugar) to fat more efficiently than any other sugars and surprisingly quickly. Fructose is the main sugar found in fruit. When we lived as cave men, there was very little sweet stuff around – maybe the occasional bee hive or native fruit in season. So our bodies did not evolve appetite regulating hormones to recognize fructose, process it and tell us we are full.
When we eat carbohydrates, they are converted to glucose which is then regulated by the release of insulin. Fructose by-passes this system and is processed in the liver. If we eat too much fructose, our liver cannot process it fast enough to use as energy, and instead converts it to triglycerides, which in turn are converted straight to fat in our arteries.
The feedback system that developed to tell our brains that we are full from eating fat, protein and complex carbohydrates, just simply didn’t develop for sucrose. Can’t we always fit in a nice sugary dessert even though we have just eaten a big meal?
So do we need to give up fruit to stop sugar addiction?
If you are trying to stop sugar addiction, then most likely you need to stop eating fruit for 6-8 weeks, this includes dried fruit and fruit juices as well. Most vitamins and minerals found in fruit can also be found in vegetables so up your vege intake. When you can control the sugar instead of the sugar controlling you, add 1-2 pieces of fruit a day back into your diet. I would hate it if I could never again eat the beautiful tropical fruits such as peaches, nectarines, lychees, mangos and winter blueberries and strawberries! Eat the whole fruit for the added fibre. Stop drinking juice or only drink it occasionally as a treat. A glass of apple juice contains as much sugar as a glass of coke which is 10-12 teaspoons!
Top tips for eating fruit if you have a stop sugar addiction
Avoid overripe fruit as it contains more sugar, and has a greater chance of the sucrose converting to fat. I cut up a slightly overripe mango the other day which was super sweet and very delicious, but the minute it touched my lips, the thought of chocolate popped into my mind!
Eat fruit with protein or fat. For example eat an apple with a few nuts or a slice of cheese, or mango with Greek yogurt (as I did) because protein and fat slow the rate at which sugar floods into your blood stream and stops the highs and lows.
Do you have any good tips to help stop sugar addiction?