Are You a Sugar Addict? It Can Be Deadly…
Eating sugar can make us physically and mentally addicted. Understand why and what it takes to get “clean.”
“In 2012 about 56 million people died throughout the world; 620,000 of them died due to human violence (war killed 120,000 people, and crime killed another 500,000). In contrast, 800,000 committed suicide, and 1.5 million died of diabetes. Sugar is now more dangerous than gunpowder.”
Yuval Noah Harari
Have you ever wondered why you are not losing weight despite spending hours in the gym?
Have you ever been on a low-calorie diet and not lost a single pound?
Have you ever felt unable to stop eating even after a large meal?
Don’t blame it on a lack of willpower. You might just be addicted to sugar.
In his book “The Blood Sugar solution”, Dr. Mark Hyman, describes how the consumption of sugary foods activates the pleasure center of the brain (nucleus accumbens) and releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which makes us feel good and is also released while having sex or taking drugs.
However, sugar seems to “outperform” drug usage: according to a study by Dr. Serge H. Ahmed, sugar is 8 times more addictive than cocaine.
Another study showed that rats that were fed oreo cookies had more activity in the pleasure center than the ones that were given cocaine.
That’s problematic because sugar is by far more accessible than cocaine and sometimes even advertised as “healthy energy”: sports drinks, granola bars, cereal — you name it.
“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.”
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
What happens when we eat sugar?
Whenever we eat carbohydrates, insulin gets released. It helps the body to use sugar for energy by shuttling the blood sugar out of the blood into the cells. If you eat more carbohydrates than you need, they will be stored in your fat cells.
The more sugar you eat, the more insulin is pumped into your bloodstream.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, two things happen when your blood sugar levels are constantly elevated:
Your body becomes insulin resistant, i.e., you need more and more insulin to balance your blood sugar. This excessive insulin will make your body store fat.
You become leptin resistant. Leptin is a hormone that suppresses appetite. Thus, if you are leptin resistant, you will stay hungry — even after eating a large meal.
So over time, you will crave more and more sugar, which is stored more easily. It’s a vicious circle.
What can you do to end your sugar addiction?
#1 Eat blood-sugar friendly food
Eating foods with a low Glycemic Index (GI) can prevent blood sugar spikes after meals. But what exactly is the GI?
According to the official website for the Glycemic Index, the GI is: “A ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar (glucose) levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested, absorbed, and metabolized and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar (glucose) levels. Low GI carbohydrates — the ones that produce smaller fluctuations in your blood glucose and insulin levels — is one of the secrets to long-term health, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It is also one of the keys to maintaining weight loss.”
Examples of low GI foods are vegetables, beans, or lentils. They are generally high in fiber, which slows down the absorption of food and therefore the release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Foods that contain no carbohydrates such as fish or meat are not included in the GI ranking at all and are therefore a good pick to control blood sugar.
Another benefit of protein-rich foods is that it takes longer for the body to break them down, which helps you to feel full longer.
Healthy fats like olive oil and fish oil can also help to increase satiety levels and reduce inflammation.
#2 Exercise to improve insulin resistance
Studies have found that resistance and cardiovascular training are excellent ways to increase insulin sensitivity because they improve your muscles’ ability to absorb (excess) carbohydrates.
And the good news doesn’t stop there: another study has found that exercise can increase insulin sensitivity for up to 16 hours.
Strength training seems to be especially beneficial when it comes to blood sugar management. Click HERE to learn more.
#3 Destress to lower cortisol
When we are stressed, our body releases Adrenaline, which triggers the release of glucose. If the extra glucose is not used for physical activity, the body stores it as fat.
That’s why chronic stress can lead to insulin resistance or — in the worst case — to diabetes.
Therefore, stress management should be considered as an important pillar for blood sugar management.
#4 Fast to restrict the glucose supply
Fasting can have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity. The restricted food intake will lower blood sugar levels by giving your body a chance to use the existing glucose.
If you’ve never fasted before, you can start with intermittent fasting (IF). Research has shown that even shorter fasting windows of 12 – 24 hours can improve blood sugar levels significantly.
#5 Supplement to stabilize your blood sugar
Dietary supplements can NEVER replace a healthy diet and an exercise program, but they can supplement it.
The following minerals and herbs are considered helpful for blood sugar management:
According to the Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements by Michael T. Murray, N.D., chromium can be used to manage blood sugar, blood cholesterol, and triglyceride levels. Some studies show that it can also aid weight loss due to its ability to increase insulin sensitivity.
Clinical trials have shown that Cinnamon can reduce glucose and cholesterol levels. According to the “Supplement Handbook” by Mark Moyad, MD, MPH, a common dosage is around 1000–2000 mg per day.
This herb is used in Ayurvedic Medicine to lower blood sugar levels. It is recommended to have it after carbohydrate-heavy meals. Apart from that, studies suggest that bitter melon is a good natural source of antioxidants.
I have tried all of the supplements mentioned above, and they seem to work well for me.
Apart from that, Dr. Mark Hyman suggests in his book “The Blood Sugar Solution” to add fish oil, Vitamin D3, Zinc, Magnesium, Green tea catechins, and Alpha-lipoic\ acid to the mix.
In good health,
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