Do you often feel sluggish and tired throughout the day? Do you regularly crave sugar, even after having a meal? Do you feel you are moodier than usual and have picked up a little extra weight? If your answer to all these questions is: yes, then you are most probably addicted to sugar. This blog post will explore the six signs you should look out for if you think you might be consuming too much sugar. Worst case scenario, you are addicted…well, then here are a few tips to help you curb the temptation and cut down on your sugar intake.
Below are six warning signs you should look out for:
- Lack of energy
This sounds a little fishy, doesn’t it? Normally when a person consumes too much sugar, we describe it as a ‘sugar high’ due to excessive amounts of energy displayed by said person. So can sluggishness be true? The answer is, yes! Even though sugar results in instant energy, excessive amounts of sugar can cause the opposite.The truth is, if you experience any lack of energy, sluggishness or even pain in your joints and muscles… you are most likely addicted to sugar. In some cases, consuming a lot of sugar can mean that you are not eating enough fiber and protein, which is essential to provide energy to your body.
- Anxiety and depression
Once your sugar levels start to drop, anxiety and depression will kick in. A high sugar intake will not only affect your body, but also your emotions. You may experience feelings such as or similar to sadness, nervousness, anxiety, constant worry and social withdrawal.
- Got a sweet tooth?
It’s a very simple concept: the more sugar you eat, the more you will crave it. If you find yourself craving sweet stuff almost every day, then you are addicted to sugar. Due to the highs and lows that come with sugar cravings, the more you eat it the more you will crave it. Your body will crash on a low sugar intake. Over time, your body gets used to these high levels of sugar and will constantly demand it to remove your body from its low back to a sugary high. Another downfall that comes with the increased amount of sugar is the numerous tooth cavities you are likely to develop.
If you are wondering how sugar causes cavities, here is a little explanation. Sugar will normally find its way into the little gaps and spaces in and around your teeth. When the bacteria in your mouth digests any type of carbohydrate a certain type of acid is produced. This acid combines with your saliva to produce plaque. If this plaque is not properly brushed away, it can affect your teeth by causing your tooth enamel to erode, this is how cavities start to develop.
- Skin and feet issues
Excessive amounts of sugar can result in a breakout. A sugar binge can sometimes make an appearance on your face within only a few days. There are a few symptoms specifically relating to your skin that are signs of a high sugar intake; these include: acne, eczema, extremely oily or dry skin and lastly, rosacea. Too much sugar can also result in dark circles under your eyes as well as inflamed skin, especially on your feet. The inflamed skin on the feet can cause tremendous amounts of pain as well as cracked or extremely dry or oily feet.
- Weight gain
The saying goes, everything in moderation. So if you eat too much of anything – especially sugar – you are not doing any good to your body. Since sugar does not fill you up because it has no fiber or protein in it, you just keep eating more and more of it. Excessive amounts of sugar result in excessive amounts of calories and since your body does not require all the extra sugar, those sugar calories get converted into fat which is stored in your body, resulting in weight gain. An increase in weight is also due to the release of the hormone insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by your pancreas and is responsible for carrying sugar to your organs. Too much sugar means your body will produce more insulin… in extreme cases, if the pancreas works in overdrive for a long period of time, diabetes can develop. The path of excessive sugar intake does not stop there and can also cause obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart problems and more.
- Chronic diseases and frequent colds and flu
As mentioned above, high sugar levels can lead to the development of various chronic diseases. One of them is high blood pressure. Normal blood pressures levels are 120/80 or lower; high sugar intake can push your blood pressure over this mark. Another possible disease that could develop is cholesterol which is the development of fat circulating in your blood. All the sugar in your body will increase the bad cholesterol in your body and ultimately lower the good cholesterol. Cardiac or heart issues are also connected with a high sugar diet. Lastly, diabetes occurs due to a sugary diet and results in weight gain. Another important thing to mention is the weakening effect sugar has on your body’s immune system, resulting in frequent colds and flu.
How to beat sugar addiction:
To start, simply be more aware of the food you consume… especially your sugar intake. It is also important to remember that there are many healthy foods that naturally contain sugar already, so adding processed sugars on top of that can never be a good thing.
Eat regularly and in small amounts, but more importantly eat the right foods: healthy fats, fruit and vegetables. Some experts strongly believe in detoxing as a cure for sugar craving, others don’t… see what works for you. Avoid emotional eating, ask yourself why you are eating. If the reason is anything besides being hungry, put the food down.
Reduce the number of processed foods in your diet, these types of food often contain extremely high amounts of sugar. If you are tired, you will most likely eat more – so be sure to get enough sleep. Be aware of sugar substitutes (honey and syrups) as well as dried fruit; even though they are healthier options, they still contain sugar. Be aware to eat these items in moderation.
Drink more water… if you feel the urge to consume sugar, rather drink water as it reduces your appetite. I’ll leave you with a little tip, add cinnamon wherever you can, it reduces your urge for sweets and also improves the function of insulin in your cells to assist in maintaining blood sugar levels.
If you are reading this, and realise you might be addicted to sugar… you are not alone. Take it step by step rather than leap and fail. Any little improvement towards reducing your sugar intake is better than nothing at all. You’ve got this!