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How To Curb A Sugar Addiction

We can all admit to craving sweets or consuming maybe too much sugar. In fact, the average person consumes 150 lbs of sugar each year!

Whether you're guilty of indulging in cookies, candy, cake or chips- you should really try to avoid it as much as possible. Many foods that are marketed as "healthy" are certainly not and contain sugar.

Consuming sugar is linked to increases in inflammation, excessive weight gain, gut permeability and a range of different diseases. Most people understand the detrimental effects of this sweet ingredient, yet they have a very hard time removing it from their diet. Hence, why it can be an addiction.

There is certainly a psychological component to sugar cravings. Many of us relate food to comfort. Especially in times of loneliness, boredom, stress or anxiety. It can be a distraction from whatever we are dealing with and a way to make ourselves feel better- even though it is doing the exact opposite internally to our bodies. In fact, the consumption of sugar triggers a release of dopamine, creating a momentary feeling of happiness and pleasure. So it makes complete sense that when we have low levels of serotonin in the brain result in sugar cravings. This complex topic is commonly referred to as “emotional eating” and may require the help and expertise of a professional who specializes in this field. 

Moreover, emotions aren't the only factor in why we have sugar cravings. Imbalanced hormones, unhealthy diet and a leaky gut can also be to blame.

When a diet is deprived of valuable nutrients, it causes the body to resort to sugar for some sort of source of energy (a pick me up!). In this case, often times it is a magnesium deficiency that is triggering these cravings.

An imbalanced gut can result in an overgrowth of yeast in the digestive system, which feeds off of sugar and therefore continues the craving.

Sugar cravings can also be a sign that you're experiencing a fluctuation in energy levels or blood sugar.

A lack of sleep can increase the hunger hormone, ghrelin- the hormone that indicates a feeling of fullness after eating- therefore, fueling sugar cravings.

It's important to dive into why you're experiencing these cravings. It could be a mix of physiological and psychological triggers. Identifying your unique case is a crucial step on your wellness journey. There is truly no 'one size fits all' treatment.

Tips on curbing your cravings:

  •  Focus on keeping yourself hydrated throughout the day

  • Prioritize your sleep schedule in order to keep your blood and hormone levels stabilized

  • Consume probiotic rich foods to nourish your gut microbiome (or take a probiotic supplement)

  • Include serotonin boosting foods in your diet (ex. walnuts, bananas, salmon)

  • Exclude processed foods with artificial sweeteners with whole foods rich with natural sugars (raw honey, fruit, dates)

  • Incorporate stress relieving exercises into your routine (breathing exercises, yoga, meditation)

  • Increase serotonin-boosting activities like earthing or grounding, socializing, creative endeavors

  • Consider supplementation (magnesium, chromium picolinate, probiotics)

  • Test for nutrient deficiencies

  • Consult with a dietician or psychologist should you feel your sugar addiction is rooted in disordered eating habits

There is no easy or instant way to break a sugar addiction but if you identify the root cause, you can take the adequate steps to overcome it! Once your diet shifts from ultra-processed, sugar-filled foods to nutrient rich, whole foods, your body will naturally begin to crave nourishing and natural fuel. The outcome results in better digestion, smoother skin, improved immune system, abundance of energy and a clearer mind! You've got this, kick sugar to the curb!




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