While a sugar addiction won’t land you in rehab, the cravings and loss of control it evokes is similar to that of a drug addiction.
According to a recent study from the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs (March 2012). But without a support group such as Sugar Addicts Anonymous, how are we to cope when cravings sneak up on us?
North Shore natural foods chef Alia Dalal suggests that you locate your biggest weakness and start there. Rather than eliminating all sweets from the diet cold turkey, analyze your day and see where your biggest pitfall is.
“Ask yourself, ‘Do I add four packets of sugar to my morning coffee?’ or ‘Can I not resist dessert after a dinner on the town?’” Dalal says. “Begin with one part of your day and work on modifying it.”
1. Start with a smoothie. If your sugar cravings occur early in the day, begin the morning with a naturally sweetened smoothie, says Beth Aldrich, a healthy lifestyle and nutrition expert from Wilmette, and author of “Real Moms Love to Eat” (New American Library, 2012).
“Use blueberries, frozen bananas and a handful of spinach blended with rice, soy or skim milk and ground flax seeds,” Aldrich says. “This combination makes you feel full longer, and it gives your body the sweetness it craves in a healthy, anti-oxidant sort of way.” (For our editor’s take on Beth’s super smoothies, check out: “10 Weeks with Real Moms Love to Eat”).
2. Eat more. When you skip breakfast and eat a meager lunch, you are guaranteed to grab for the chocolate bar in the afternoon when your blood sugar drops, Aldrich says. “Rely on substantial meals that will sustain you through the day,” Dalal says. “Think whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats and plenty of vegetables.”
Look at your lifestyle. When speaking to yourself with your inner dialog, choose the right words to talk about addiction . Improperly addressing yourself can have dire consequences. Author Ann Louise Gittleman’s book, “Get the Sugar Out: 501 Simple Ways to Cut the Sugar Out of Any Diet,” (Crown Publishing Group, 2008) offers the following non-food methods to come to grips with your inner sugar addict:
3. Start moving. Exercise will help balance your blood-sugar levels, which prevents cravings.
4. Get some shuteye. When you are tired, your body can crave energy in the form of sugar.
5. Find sweetness in other ways. Your body does not need sugar, but it does long to be fed in other ways. Nurture yourself with healthy relationships and self-care. When life becomes sweet enough, no additives are needed.
Beth Aldrich will address sugar addictions in her detox class beginning this July in Wilmette. For more information, visit SavorYourLifeDiet.com.