This is a follow up of the previous post on “why you can’t just quit drug addiction ” feel free to check it out https://abbeyschronicles.com/2019/04/17/why-you-cant-just-quit-your-drug-addiction/
Sugar addiction is an emotional or psychological dependence on sugary food or drinks.- https://www.addictioncenter.com/drugs/sugar-addiction/
We all have a sweet tooth, well some more than others. This post is mainly going to address the issue of sugar addiction mostly among recovering addicts. As many addicts tend to substitute drugs or alcohol with sugar or sugary treats especially those recovering from heroine.
While taking the step to get rid of a drug addiction is an incredibly brave one to take most people don’t realize that for all the years they have been addicted to drugs or alcohol the brain has gotten used to that pleasure and happiness. So when you quit or are on the road to recovery the brain basically needs another source to derive that same pleasure from, and for most people it begins to ride on their SUGAR ADDICTION – now the problem is most of us are ignorant of this.
During recovery we’re focused on staying off that particular substance, drug or alcohol that we don’t pay attention to our amount of sugar intake in our foods, snacks or drinks. We talked earlier about the brains reward or pleasure centre designed to release neurotransmitters like dopamine mainly responsible for feelings of happiness and pleasure and serotonin responsible for inhibiting impulses of pain and causes depression of mood and sleep.
So basically when the main object of pleasure that is the drug or alcohol is no longer available the body relies on other “feel good” substances for pleasure like sugar, your intake of sugar stimulates the brain’s reward centre to produce excess amount of dopamine which will in turn cause the repeated use of sugar. Sugar addiction also reduces the amounts of serotonin causing mood swings .
And like in the case of drugs at a point the normal intake of sugar wouldn’t be enough to produce the same effects leading to taking of higher amounts to get that same level of pleasure as before. You can trust your body to not say no to sugar especially at a time like this.
Insulin, a hormone in the body is responsible for providing sugar to the body cells and breaking down the glucose gotten from sugar for the cells, so when there’s an increased amount of sugar in the body there will be a subsequent increase in insulin production leading to a drop in blood glucose in the body also known as hypoglycemia .
Symptoms of hypoglycemia such as anxiety, fatigue, cravings and irritability etc and increased activity in the adrenal gland can lead to relapse while in recovery as the brain relies on glucose for energy. This symptoms due to sugar addiction can be mistaken for a need for drugs or alcohol.
Withdrawal symptoms of sugar addiction.
Sugar addiction is most apparent when withdrawal symptoms are present. These include:
- Headaches (These may be mild in nature, occurring on and off over a period of a couple days)
- Low energy
- Mood swings
- Muscles aches and pains
- Stomach pains
- Runny nose
- Dilated pupils
- Watery eyes
Negative effects of sugar addiction.
- Obesity or being overweight
- Type II Diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Tooth decay
- Hot flashes
- Erectile dysfunction
- Kidney disease
- Poor skin quality
- Fatty liver disease
- Depressed immune system
- Liver failure
Dealing with sugar addiction while in recovery or after recovery.
The first step to overcoming this addiction is to actually come to terms and agree with the fact that you indeed have a sugar addiction. Quit the denial, swallow your pride and get help.
- Eat in regular intervals, every 4 hours, to stabilize blood sugar. This is SO important. If you go too long without eating or skip meals, your body releases a cascade of stress hormones in response, causing a spike and crash in blood sugar levels that leaves you irritable, tired and wired, and craving sugar.
2. Caffeine and nicotine aggravate hypoglycemia and disrupt blood sugar balance. Do not drink coffee on an empty stomach, and do not substitute meals for coffee. If you drink coffee, always drink it with a protein-based meal, and consider swapping it for green tea a few days weekly. Do not drink coffee after 12pm.
3. Use Glutamine supplements. 500– 1,000 mg of glutamine taken as needed can help ward off sugar cravings.
4. B vitamin complex can help the body adjust to stress. H
5. Crave Arrest Supplement. This supplement can help you overcome cravings for sugar and nicotine. It helps balance serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Take it daily to help build up neurotransmitter levels.
7. Really focus on good sleep habits. Sleep is one of the most critical factors for both recovery and for hormone balance, blood sugar balance, and improved stress response. Here are my sleep hygiene tips.
8. Breakfast is key! When you wake up in the morning, you’ve been fasting for at least 8 hours, and blood sugar levels are low. Help your body by eating a great breakfast with protein and healthy fats, plus a little carbohydrate. This sets the stage for balanced mood and energy all day long.
9. Make sure you are eating enough. Eat enough calories for your activity level and physiology. Eating too little drives cravings.
10. Get some protein and healthy fat at every meal. Proteins and fats help ward off cravings and keep blood sugar levels stable. Examples: meat, fish, eggs, legumes, protein smoothie with hemp, rice, or pea protein. Healthy fats include coconut oil, olive oil, butter, avocado.
11. Get your minerals through greens. Green vegetable juices are an excellent source of minerals, as are your leafy green veggies, so eat kale and spinach!
12. Avoid refined, white sugar and sodas. Ever notice how the more you eat sugar, the more your crave it? Get off that merry-go-round! Try the above suggested supplements and nutrition tips which should help quell your sugar cravings. Swap out refined sugary foods for healthy dark chocolate. Replace soda (even diet soda can fuel cravings and weight gain) with herbal tea or sparkling water with lime. If you get the 3pm energy crash-sugar craving, try a protein-based snack or an apple with almond butter.
13. Most of all, be patient with yourself. It takes time to rebalance your brain chemistry. I often recommend neurotransmitter and hormone testing to determine exactly what deficiencies are present in order to design specific protocols for healing.
Finally avoid the triggers, it could be a particular place, situation or person who always gets you to crave sugar. And remember it is always advisable to have positive people and vibes around you, surround yourself with people who put your health as priority not those who will trigger a relapse.
Special thanks to Nikki over at http://www.lovemetreatme.net