Sugar addiction isn’t recognized as a health condition yet. However, a series of studies prove beyond doubt that sugar can cause all the same reactions as addictive drugs. This includes biochemical processes ion the brain. Therefore, if you feel like your sugar cravings are getting out of control, you have some legitimate concerns. And considering how bad this substance can be for your health, you should start using different ways of fighting those cravings. Not surprisingly, they are similar to the methods used for addiction treatment, albeit not that extreme.
What Is Sugar Addiction and How Bad It Can Be for You
Sugar addiction is exactly that, an addiction to sweets. And although this might sound cute and harmless, this is a major health concern. However, this condition is also more complex than an addiction to drugs. That’s why defining it is extremely complicated.
The majority of research on the subject is based on animal studies. However, a review of those published in the Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews shows that sugar dependency is possible. Another analysis of several studies (including human studies) published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, explains that sugar-induced high follows the same neurological patterns as the one induced by drugs. It’s because of this that sugar addiction can develop.
And that’s a very bad thing because while sugar might be harmless for your body in small amounts, eating too much of it is extremely bad. First of all, consuming added sugars increases the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (Harvard Medical School). This also increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Considering these facts, you need to understand that craving for that candy is an issue that you need to deal with right away. This addiction might not be as strong and debilitating as drug dependence because the overall impact of sugar on the body is more complex. Partially, this reduces the ‘addiction-inducing’ effect it has due to causing a dopamine rush. However, the problem exists and you should become proactive in dealing with it.
How to Beat Sugar Cravings with Simple Changes
1. Learn to control your hunger
A craving for sugar is the same as a craving for any food. It’s a variety of hunger that pushes your mind in a specific direction. So, try control your hunger so your body doesn’t have the need to start actively hunting for food. You should consider filling your diet with natural appetite suppressants. These will help keep the hunger pangs in check. As a result, your mind won’t be able to push for the less healthy choice of food when you give in to hunger.
It’s all about impulse control and how human minds are wired to make unhealthy choices by default because they are literally ‘easier on the brain’.
2. Don’t go ‘cold turkey’
Completely excluding sugar from your life is extremely stressful for the body. It’s the same with any addiction. Therefore, you should consider giving in to your cravings, but only in a limited way and occasionally.
For example, when the demand for sugar gets too strong, allow yourself a single cookie. Better yet, eat a piece of sweet fruit. Giving in to your impulses to reduce overall stress doesn’t mean you should eat unhealthy foods with added sugar.
3. Occupy your mind
When a craving hits you, make your mind ‘switch’ to something different. If it’s hard to concentrate on any other thought, take a walk to change the scenery. The point is to put yourself in a situation where the craving won’t be a priority.
4. Drink some water
Quite often, people confuse thirst and hunger, which can fast turn into a craving of your ‘sweet drug’. Therefore, try drinking a glass of water if you feel that particular hunger stirring. Do it right away to curb the craving before it becomes strong.