Craving sugar. Like the siren’s call, it can define your day. Picture Jan. It is 3 PM and we find Jan embarking on her daily ritual. First she begins to think endlessly about the button H-5 on the vending machine in the break room. Next come the stern reminders that happiness, concentration, and nutrition are found nowhere near the Snickers bar inhabiting the H-5 spot. Following closely behind stern reminders is the memory of the precautions Jan took to avoid her daily visit to H-5. There was the promise to self, recrimination of personal willpower, and any increment of money less than a 10 dollar bill has been removed from her wallet, purse and pockets.
It is 4:15 pm; having borrowed a quarter off her coworker Jan is in the break room resignedly surrendering herself to the siren call of H-5. Does this sound familiar?
Conquered By Sugar
If you are a person that fights sugar cravings (we're not talking about eating in moderation and having control – we're talking about serious sugar cravings) it is tempting to believe that there is nothing wrong with a daily sugary snack or two. You may even rationalize that weight gain is the only potential harm. This is not the case; even slender people have a lot to lose when sugar cravings become so intense that they cannot do without it. Diabetes, insulin resistance, and heart disease are only a few of the potential ill health consequences of sugar cravings.
The truth about such overwhelming cravings is that not only are they a sign of dependence, but cravings are also the body’s way of communicating its needs. Hormonal imbalances of serotonin, insulin, adrenal hormones, and others are manifested by intense sugar cravings.
Don’t turn a blind eye to cravings that target salty snacks like potato chips or crackers. These foods act exactly like sugar in the body, and are classified as sugar cravings.
The Sugar Revolution
Breaking free from sugar cravings can seem impossible. The good news is that willpower and self-control are not the only aces in the hole. The most basic cause of a sugar craving is that the body is missing vital nutrients of some kind; to that end there are a few simple things that can be done.
First, begin taking a multivitamin. This will speed the process of healing while mealtime choices change over time. Make sure you talk to a doctor before starting any supplement. Exercise is also a powerful tool. Exercise all by itself helps to balance hormone levels and restore healthy body function.
It is important to pay attention to what goes on the plate at mealtime. Each meal should include elements of protein, healthy fats, especially fatty acids, and fiber. These three food types contain nutrient elements which work together to support the body. The body will feel full, the between meal sugar lows will not happen, and metabolism will speed up. Fats, fiber, and protein are found in lean meats, beans, fish, avocados, olive oil, and deeply-colored vegetables.
Lastly, don’t expect perfection. Eating sugar in small amounts is fine. It is important to be realistic about what a small amount really is. Four Hershey kisses will not have a deleterious effect on health, but if they are preceded and followed by a huge baked potato, rice and meals loaded with pasta the actual sugar content is through the roof. Remember any starchy, sugary food counts. Sugar cravings can be beat with perseverance.
When To Talk To A Doctor
There are times when you may need to talk to a professional about your sugar cravings. If you are unable to manage them on your own and they are having a detrimental effect on your health, it's time to speak to a professional. There's no need to feel ashamed; many people struggle with severe sugar cravings, or even sugar addiction.
Sometimes, a mental health issue can cause a sugar addiction. You might find yourself seeking out the comforts of sugar to relieve stress and anxiety. If you have been feeling depressed or anxious lately, consider whether that could be the cause of your sugar cravings. If so, either make lifestyle adjustments or speak to a mental health professional.
A medical professional can work with you to identify the cause(s) of your severe sugar cravings, so that you can get them under control before any severe ill effects set in. You may need to have some difficult conversations with yourself, so be prepared. Don't worry, though; there is help available.
Often, when discussing addiction, we only consider alcohol, drugs, and gambling. The fact is, there are many other kinds of addiction out there. Sugar addiction is one of them, and it afflicts many people. Some people won't ever realize they have this problem, and will suffer the consequences down the line. If you can identify that you have a problem, that is the first step.