By Lauren Denos: 10/9/2014 (Ask Lauren)

Dear Lauren,

I have come to the conclusion that I am addicted to sugar, but it is really hard to get away from. How do I deal with this?

Thank you,

Belinda

Dear Belinda,

Actually, much of the population is addicted to sugar and, most of all, refined sugar. There are some things you can do, it just depends on what you are willing to do. Here are some helpful suggestions:

  • Some people prefer to reduce sugar intake little by little, essentially weaning themselves off of it. This can work but it can be a bit of a struggle since, if this is a true sugar addiction, they will keep wanting to eat more. As a result, they have to use a crazy amount of willpower to keep their addiction and cravings in check.
  • Cutting it cold turkey is very hard right at the beginning, but after a week or two it becomes much easier than weaning all gradually. It is very hard for addicted people to have just a little bit of something. Generally, cutting the item out completely works more effectively.
  • Find alternatives, you can test out eating fruit instead of refined sugars. Yes, fruit still has sugar, but it also has a host of other nutrients in it. This means it is more useful to your body. But beware, having a smoothie every day will still be overkill. You can also test out making your own foods and sweetening them with Stevia. This sugar substitute is natural, and is not supposed to raise bloodsugar levels.
  • Do not overcompensate by eating extra bread. When you get rid of the sugars in your diet, your body will ask you for other forms of it. Refined carbs are a sugar in your body as well, so make sure that you are not overcompensating by eating tons of refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta.
  • Make sure you are eating regularly. When we get hungry, we crave sugar more. Make sure you are not just hungry when you are wanting sugar. In fact, when you are craving sugar eat a meal or snack with protein, fat and some carbs. Vegetables would be a good choice for the carbs. This may curb your sugar craving.
  • Is it a true addiction or simply an emotional reaction? This is a very important thing to consider and distinguish. Are you truly addicted to the sugar, or are you using it as a method for dealing with emotional issues? For emotional issues, sugar intake typically goes down once the trauma has been resolved, and you can enjoy treats again. Remember though, to keep them in moderation.

If this is an actual addiction, then cut the sugar out and find alternatives. That will be your best bet. As a warning, find the alternatives before you cut out the sugar. Plan out your meals, snacks and alternative sweets. This will make it so much easier. I will not say it is the easiest thing ever to do, but many have done it with positive outcomes.

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