Science has confirmed that sugar addiction is real. But, the big question remains…how to stop eating sugar?
Sugar is everywhere and seemingly in everything. Food makers add it to classically “non-sugary foods” (i.e. spaghetti sauce, french fries, burgers) because they know it increases the crave-factor of the food.
If sugar is standing between you and weight loss, then you might think that going cold-turkey and giving up sugar overnight is a wise thing to do.
It might be wise, but it sure is hard. When you stop sugar, your body goes through withdrawal.
Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms
Eating sugar causes toxins to build up in your body.
When you stop eating sugar, your body sets to work removing the toxins. These toxins trigger withdrawal symptoms:
- Insatiable hunger
- Obsessive cravings
- Lightheaded feeling
- General ill-feeling
The big trap when it comes to detoxing from your sugar addiction is that you feel better when you give in and eat sugar.
When you eat sugar, your body can’t process the toxins. Because the toxins are suppressed, your symptoms feel like they go away. In reality, they are only delayed.
Your withdrawal symptoms will return the next time you cut your sugar intake.
You can lessen the symptoms and move past your sugar addiction with the following strategies.
How to Stop Eating Sugar
1) Understand your sugar addiction is real. I don’t want you to get caught up in a victim mentality, but there is some power in understanding that sugar is addictive.
When you eat sugar, it changes the chemistry in your brain by releasing the “feel-good chemical” called dopamine. There is a chemical change happening inside your brain – you aren’t weak or pathetic for craving sugar.
If you feel shame about your inability to give up sugar, you will probably deal with the shame by eating more sugar.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of. Sugar is addictive for everyone because everyone has dopamine in their brains. If you crave sugar, then you’re normal.
There’s a great book by Dr. Brene Brown called I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Isn’t). She’s a shame researcher, which sounds funny, yet she’s great at putting the issue of shame into perspective. I highly recommend the book.
2) Flood your body with nutrients. When you stop eating sugar, your body removes toxins. These toxins are what lead to the withdrawal symptoms that pull you back.
The quickest way to rid your body of these toxins is to flood it with foods that are naturally high in vitamins and minerals. These nutrients help flush out the toxins.
In my free video series, I show you how to do this using 4 simple daily habits. If you want more nutrients, but don’t know what to eat, then you’ll want to watch those videos before giving up sweets.
3) Set a short-term goal. If you tell yourself that you can never eat sugar again, you’ll implode. When you give yourself such a harsh command, you feel overwhelmed. This feeling is so uncomfortable that most of us go back on our word and give in.
If you’re one of the few who are disciplined enough to set “forever” goals, then more power to you! For the rest of us, short-term works best.
Set a goal to give up sugar for 1 day, 1 week or 1 month. In my free video series, I discuss why a 40-day short-term goal works best.
4) Avoid extreme hunger. Your body is stuck in the primitive days. Its main objective is survival. So, when you let yourself get too hungry, it tries to get you to eat by spiking your hunger and cravings.
Not only does it want food, but it also wants calories. Calories are your body’s fuel, so when the tank is low, it makes you crave the highest calories food…i.e. sugar.
5) Cut your sweet-tooth with mint. Do you feel like you want “just a little something sweet” after dinner? If you can’t seem to give up sweets after dinner, then change the taste in your mouth with a powerful mint or minty gum.
The strong mint flavor overwhelms your taste buds, which instantly removes your mouth’s need for something sweet. I use mints and other “stoppers”, to immediately stop overeating.
6) Use No Exception Rules (not willpower). Willpower is a fragile thing. It’s destroyed by things like low blood sugar, which is a symptom of sugar withdrawal.
You can wake up in the morning, will yourself to give up sugar, and be back on it by noon.
A better solution is to set a No Exception Rule. No Exception Rules have more of a feeling of duty, rather than punishment.
For example, if you’re someone who always brushes her teeth before going to bed, then you’ll brush before bed…even if you’re dog tired – No Exception.
The 4 Daily Habits in my free video series are No Exception Rules. Watch the videos if you want to learn how to use them to kick your sugar addiction.
7) Create healthy competitions. Do you enjoy finding new recipes? A friend and I used to find new healthy recipes, and then cook them for each other. It was fun to try and “one-up” each other.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of HEALTHY competition!
It doesn’t have to be food-centered. Do you enjoy walking? Why not set a goal with a friend to walk 30 miles this month?
Your Best First Step To Fix Your Sugar Addiction
There’s no question that sugar addiction is real, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless against it.
Start down a positive path by setting a short-term goal to stop eating sugar. At the same time, add more vegetables to your diet. The nutrients will flush out the toxins that create cravings.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated Summa Cum Laude with research honors from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1991.