SUGAR is something we consume every day. It’s in our coffee, in our tomato sauce and in that chocolate bar we treat ourselves to.
Together, obesity and Type 2 diabetes rank among our greatest health problem, and they largely result from what many call an “addiction” to sugar.
But solving this problem is deemed to be more complicated than solving drug addiction, because it requires reducing the drive to eat unhealthy foods without affecting the desire to eat healthy foods when hungry. We know though that with a little subconscious intervention we can change how somebody thinks about sugar!
Understanding the effect of sugar on our brains and bodies is important to know, before we can start helping our client.
Sugar fuels every cell in the brain and influences brain chemicals, too. Overloading on sugary foods may alter the brain receptors that regulate how much we eat. In laboratory studies, rats that binged on sugar had brain changes that mimicked those of drug withdrawal. In humans, just seeing pictures of milkshakes triggered brain activity similar to that seen in drug addicts.
Researchers think a pattern of withholding and bingeing - not sugar itself - may lead to addictive-like behaviour and even brain changes. Sugar influences the same "feel-good" brain chemicals - including serotonin and dopamine - as illicit drugs.
Whether you call it an addiction, an eating disorder or simply a bad habit, there are signs of an unhealthy use of sugary foods. People may lose control and eat more than they planned. They may have withdrawal symptoms when they skip their regular sugar "fix". Low blood sugar symptoms may include anxiety, shakiness, jitteriness or even a cold sweat.
The sugar high when you eat cake, the sugar in that treat - called a simple carbohydrate - is quickly converted to glucose in your bloodstream. Your blood sugar levels rise and spike when simple carbs are eaten alone - for example, when you grab a mid-afternoon chocolate bar. All simple carbs are absorbed quickly, especially the processed, concentrated sugars found in syrup, fizzy drinks, sweets and table sugar. Simple carbs are also found in fruit, veg and dairy products - but fiber and protein in these slow absorptions and provide wholesome nutrients. The sugar low Your pancreas releases the hormone insulin to move glucose out of the bloodstream -- and into your cells for energy. As a result, experts say, your blood sugar level may drop dramatically.
That afternoon chocolate bar has set you up for more bad eating. When you have a very high spike followed by a very low drop, you tend to get hungry again. Low blood sugar leaves you feeling shaky, dizzy and searching for more sweets to regain that sugar "high."
Do sugar detox diets work? Can you beat sugar addiction by going cold turkey? Some sugar detox diets urge people to eliminate everything sweet - including fruit, dairy and all refined grains - to in effect purge your system of sugar. Diet changes like this are too drastic to be realistic.
The fact is if you attempt something that is not sustainable - that you can only do for the short-term - you ultimately go back to your old habits!
Researchers have found that sugar substitutes may leave people craving more sugar, making it harder - not easier - for them to take control. If you never get out of the sense of needing something sweet, eventually you’ll reach out for the real stuff again!
If someone is addicted to sugar, the pattern their brain has built up is one which tells their body to seek out the nearest sweet thing, eat it and enjoy the high. Their brain has gotten so used to that spark of positive energy that it thinks it needs it in order to function properly. A person’s neurons tend to want to keep firing in the ways they always have, so when they’re used to firing in the pattern created by sugar intake, they’re going to cause sugar cravings.
We know though that through neuroplasticity, you can change the patterns in your brain to create better habits, and that’s exactly what this program aims to do.
This program is available in person or online video chat sessions (zoom).