We are all programed to like sugar but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to overcome your sugar addiction. New research shows some of us are genetically much more prone to crave sugar than others. The science demonstrating that people can be biologically addicted to sugar in the same way we can be addicted to heroin, cocaine or nicotine.
It seems that we all vary a bit in our capacity for pleasure. Some us need a lot more stimulation to feel pleasure driving us to a range of addictive pleasures that stimulate our reward center in the brain – drug and alcohol addictions, compulsive gambling, sex addiction and, of course, sugar, food addiction and compulsive eating. We often see these as moral failures or results of character defects. In fact, it may be that addicts are simply born with unfortunate genetic variations in our reward and pleasure mechanisms.
Even if you are stuck with a sugar addiction gene, you may be able to modify its activity by modulating your brain chemistry with the use of specific nutrients that either improve gene expression, or modify the activity of these genes. Regulation of hormones and neurotransmitters that affect appetite and cravings is complex and involves many factors including how quickly food spikes our blood sugar, stress levels, getting enough sleep, nutritional deficiencies, chemicals such as artificial sweeteners, and food sensitivities which drive inflammation.
For those with personal struggles with food addiction, remember it is not always a lack of willpower. Here are a five suggestions to help patients break their food addiction.
Five Tips To Overcome Your Sugar Addiction
- Balance your blood sugar: Research studies say that low blood sugar levels are associated with LOWER overall blood flow to the brain, which means more BAD decisions. To keep your blood sugar stable eat a nutritious breakfast with some protein like eggs, protein shakes, or nut butters. Studies repeatedly show that eating a healthy breakfast helps people maintain weight loss. You may also need to eat smaller meals throughout the day. Eat every 3-4 hours and have some protein with each snack or meal (protein, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats).
- Eliminate all sugar and artificial sweeteners! Go cold turkey. You must stop for you brain to reset. Eliminate refined sugars, sodas, fruit juices, and artificial sweeteners from your diet. These are all drugs that will fuel cravings.
- Determine if hidden food allergies are triggering your cravings. We often crave the very foods that we have a hidden allergy. Common allergens include: gluten, dairy, egg, corn, soy, yeast, sugar, peanut
- Be sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Research shows that lack of sleep increases cravings.
- Optimize your nutrient status with craving cutting supplements
- Vitamin D3: According to one study, when Vitamin D levels are low, the hormone that helps turn off your appetite doesn’t work and people feel hungry all the time, no matter how much they eat.
- Omega3 Fatty Acids: Low levels of omega three fatty acids are involved in normal brain cell function, insulin control and inflammation.
- Craving Control:glutamine, 5HTP and amino acids may help reduce cravings. Stress reducing herbs such as Rhodiola can help, too. Chromium prior to meals can also stabilize blood sugar.
- Control Cortisol: Try Phosphatidylserine or Relora to control cortisol levels which may also sabotage weight loss efforts.