Do you have a sweet tooth? Or sweet teeth? The fact is, our cravings are often linked to emotional stress that leads us to “stress eat”.
Maybe you struggle with occasional sweet cravings, or you have a sugar addiction. Either way, I can attest to the fact that overcoming a sugar addiction is possible.
The amount of sugar I used to consume was astounding. I would literally wake up craving soda and candy for breakfast, and then I would eat and drink my soda and cany throughout the day, even after dinner, and all the way until my bedtime. This did not include other snacks, desserts, and other sugar-laden products.
The Sugar Addiction Cycle
- You crave sugar, and consume it
- Your blood sugar levels spike, and the dopamine levels spark the addiction.
- Your blood sugar drops rapidly due to the body’s mechanism of releasing massive amounts of insulin to drop the blood sugar
- This causes increased appetite and cravings, in which you consume sugar again
The amount of sugar that American consume per day is at a dangerous high. Americans consume an average of about 22 teaspoons in total. What we fail to realize is that sugar is found in nearly every item at a grocery store: sodas, drinks, desserts, cereals, processed foods, bars, and just about everything! So it goes that one of the fastest ways to lose weight is to cut your sugar intake. You an actually starve disease growth by cutting out sugar from your diet.
This leads us to the question: How much sugar should we consume per day?
I would like to invite you to go on a sugar fast. Choose a time period in which you can dedicate this for. For example, it may not be a good idea to start this sugar fast when you’re going on vacation with family, or during holidays, as you may be more inclined to take part of sweets.
The good news is, the cycle can be broken.
Stop the Cycle
Begin by eliminating conventional candy, sweets, desserts, sodas, sugary beverages, and processed foods, and try to make your own at home. I recommend using fruit puree as a natural sweetener during your sugar fast. By incorporating nutritional food, exercise, water, sunshine, adequate rest, and a positive mind trusting in God, you can transform your health and your life!
If you’re wondering what happens after the sugar fast, and whether you’ll be able to eat anything sweet again, we’ve got that covered! Below are alternatives that should still be used sparingly:
Healthier Alternatives for Sweetness
- Brown rice syrup
- Agave nectar
- Pure honey
- Maple syrup
- Fruit pectin
- Medjool dates
- Coconut nectar
- Blackstrap molasses
- Fruit purees
These are great to use when transitioning from refined sugars and corn syrup. Although, it should be used sparingly, mostly when using it for baked goods for special occasions.
- Coconut sugar
- Sugar in the raw
- Turbinando sugar
- Monkfruit natural sweetener
You Won’t Feel Bitter, but Better
Did you know that one of those most effective ways to curb sugar cravings is to consume something bitter? It might be a bittersweet truth, but it’s worth it! Why does it work?
Bitter foods contain the hormones PYY and GLP-1. These hormones control our appetite, which in turns helps control our cravings and food intake. With that said, it also shuts down the part of our brain that causes us to crave sugar. How sweet is that? The bitter components also slow sugar absorption in our bodies which helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
If that wasn’t enough, bitters also relieve heartburn, support healthy liver function, provide a gentle detox, and supports healthy skin!
For me, the best way to consume bitters is by drinking the tea of the leaf, root, or peel. You can also take an organic herbal supplement in the form of a liquid tincture. Be sure to consult with your physician first if you are taking any medicine. Some medications and herbs have counteractive interactions.
- Papaya leaf
- Artichoke leaf
- Burdock root – Great for anemia
- Dandelion root
- Citrus peel
- Licorice root – Great for sore throats and coughs
- Gentian root
- Yellow-dock root – An iron booster. It can correct low iron levels in the blood
- Yarrow root
- Milk thistle
- Cinnamon bark
Here is one of my favorite ways to combine bitters for consumption:
- 5 tsp dried burdock root
- 3 tsp dried dandelion root
- ½ tsp dried orange peel
- ½ tsp dried grapefruit peel
- 1 tsp sage leaves
- 1 tsp cardamom pods
- 1 cup non-GMO liquid vegetable glycerin
- Sterilized mason jar
- Glass amber bottles with droppers
- Combine the herbs and spices into the mason jar.
- Pour the vegetable glycerin into the jar.
- Seal your jar tightly and store in a cool, dry place.
- Allow the bitters to diffuse for a week, shaking the jar once per day.
- Strain the mixture using a cheesecloth and keep the remainder in an airtight container.
Mix a few drops into sparkling or regular water. You can also place it directly on the tongue 15 minutes before eating your meal. This can be taken when you feel a sugar crave coming on.
In addition to consuming bitters to decrease your sugar cravings, it’s important to remove environmental triggers as much as possible, such as keeping sugary foods in your pantry and spending too much time in the candy aisle.
Here are our tips on avoiding the sugar addiction cycle and obtaining a healthier life:
- Avoid addictive foods. Foods with addictive components will leave your cravings un-guarded, which could lead back to consuming sugar.
- Don’t cheat. As justifiable as cheat days may sound, let’s be honest. A cheat day usually leads to a cheat week, or it at least trains our mind to remember the “bad foods” and keeps cravings fresh in our minds. Don’t give yourself a cheat day; instead, be patient and persevere as you watch your palate change over time to no longer need a cheat day at all.
- Go whole: Choose whole and plant-based foods. These foods are in their most natural state and will leave you feeling fulfilled and without the need to reach for snacks and sugar.
- Eat regularly. It may seem reasonable to skip meals or starve yourself to lose weight, but even fasting incorrectly can be counterproductive. This is how you can balance you meals: Make breakfast your largest meal, then have a medium-sized lunch, and a light dinner. This will help prevent the desire to snack and eat large meals at night. Eating large meals at night inhibits sleep and robs your appetite for breakfast.
With patience, perseverance, willingness, and knowledge, it is possible to be free of this addictive cycle of cravings!