An addiction to sugar is as real and dangerous as one to drugs or alcohol. In fact, sugar is often compared to illicit drugs because of the chemical reactions it causes in the brain. It releases high levels of dopamine, which activate pleasure centers and make it necessary for people to eat more and more to get the high they crave. Additionally, sugar withdrawals are also real and difficult to handle. If you or someone you know is addicted to sugar, there are effective ways to cope.
If you can get away from the source of a craving, do so immediately. Go out and exercise, even if it’s only a short walk. Exercise produces natural endorphins rather than an artificial rush. Additionally, you may be more reluctant to eat sugar after exercising; it will undo your hard work.
Many people skimp on meals or major food groups because they think eating more often means they’ll gain weight. The truth is, the less you eat, the more your body gets used to hunger. Eventually, your body will start breaking down muscle and storing fat, which causes weight gain. Make sure you’re eating balanced meals each day. Ask your doctor if he or she recommends three large meals or four to six smaller ones.
Research shows that chewing gum reduces food cravings, perhaps because there’s already something in your mouth. Additionally, most gum, even sugarless varieties, are at least a bit sweet. They can give you the taste you crave without adding empty calories to your day.
Adding spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and coriander allows you to sweeten your food without caving in to cravings. Spices also increase your food’s overall flavor, which keeps it from tasting bland or boring. If you’re already excited to eat your meals because of flavor, you’ll be less likely to want sweets later.