By Jennifer Smith, CHN, BHC, FBCC
Believe it or not, you may have a sugar addiction. Here’s a scary fact. When scientists took MRI images of the brains of people consuming sugar and highly addictive drugs like cocaine, the same pleasure centers in the brain started lighting up. Sounds pretty, scary, doesn’t it? But what does it actually mean to your brain and your overall health?
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Processed sugar is truly addictive. That means that it will alter your brain chemistry and over time you start to crave more and more sugar. The urge for your next sweet fix comes more frequently and you need to consume it in larger quantities and like any other drug, it comes with some pretty scary side effects. Not being able to fit into your favorite pair of jeans because of your cookie addiction is going to be the least of your problems.
Yes, there will be weight gain, but with it, and particularly because this weight gain is brought on by consuming too much sugar, you’ll increase your risk of developing Type II Diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and with it, an increased risk of stroke.
Add to that the extra stress the added weight puts on your joints and tendons and how much harder it is to get enough oxygen pumping through your body, it’s no wonder you feel crappy as you put on weight. All these various health conditions are referred to as metabolic syndrome and it’s just one of the things you can look forward to as you continue to feed your sugar addiction.
Just like with a cocaine addiction, harming your body and compromising your health doesn’t really matter all that much when you’re faced with a box of donuts. That’s a serious problem. Then, as with any highly addictive drug, there will be unpleasant withdrawal symptoms as you start to wean your body off of sugar. Don’t believe me? Give it a try.
Cut out all added sugar for a couple of days. No more soda, no more sugar in your coffee, no candy, no cookies, no donuts. That’s just the beginning. You’ll also want to avoid all foods with added sugars like bread, most salad dressings, ketchup etc. Cut all those foods out and don’t eat anything without checking the label for added sugars. See how you feel after a few hours.
It will start with a little headache and then the headaches will begin. You’ll start craving something sweet. We’re talking serious cravings. Next, that little headache will start to grow into a full blown pounding head along with joint aches. You may also experience some nausea and don’t be surprised to experience mood swings, too. Some people will even have flu like symptoms and start to shake a day into their sugar detox.
Doesn't that sound a lot like the withdrawal symptoms of a “serious” drug addiction? That’s because sugar addiction is just that. A serious addiction.
The good news is that there is a way to safely and easily get off of the sugar roller coaster for good. In the next week, I'll be sharing more about sugar addiction and what you can do to break the cycle for good! And don't worry, once you do you won't even miss it! Stay tuned!
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Jennifer Smith is certified in Holistic Nutrition, a Biblical Health Coach and Faith-Based Clinical Counselor. She has completed advanced certifications in Functional Nutrition, Biblical Naturopathy and Biblical Eating and Clinical Nutrition.