Stop the Sugar Addiction Cycle

By Kim Banting,

Sugar is an insidious part of our daily lives. It is in almost every packaged food we buy from granola bars and cereal to tomato sauce and yogurt. It isn’t just in candy and pastries; it is in foods that are marketed to us as being healthy! It’s no wonder that so many people who are trying to lose weight and make healthier choices aren’t getting results.

You may be surprised to learn that in Canada, the average person is eating 45 tsp of sugar a day! As incredible as that may sound, it really isn’t difficult to reach that number even when making an effort to eat well. Consider that 1 serving of strawberry yogurt contains 20g of sugar! That’s 5 tsp. A Fibre One bar has 7 g of sugar, or 2 tsp. So here you go, with 27 g of sugar just for a so called healthy breakfast. When you eat a salad with premade dressing, it has sugar in it. Any sauce that might be added to your meal has sugar in it. When you go to a fast food restaurant, but order the salad, all the dried fruit and candied nuts they add are loaded with sugar! Breads, pitas, buns…most have added sugar in them unless they are homemade.

We need to learn to read the ingredient list on all packaged foods. Actually, we need to stop eating packaged foods…but in the meantime, it is important to know that there are more than 55 names for sugar. Cane sugar, molasses, evaporated cane syrup, dextrose, sucrose, juice concentrate, honey, maple syrup, sorbitol, corn syrup, dates, and the list goes on. We have been told that if sugar isn’t in the first 5 ingredients of the list, then it’s ok. But what about the fact that companies almost always use several forms of sugar? The different forms appear all through the list, making a product like a granola bar very misleading. We have all thought of granola bars as a healthy snack, but the truth is they aren’t much healthier than a chocolate bar.

What else is problematic with this? Well, the food industry understands that we humans have a weakness when it comes to sugar. When we eat sweet foods, a chemical reaction occurs in our brains that creates a dopamine response. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that makes us repeat behaviours that make us feel good. Sex, drugs, alcohol and food are all things that can drive us to seek more pleasure and possibly lead to an addiction. Have you ever tried to resist eating a piece of candy or a butter tart? How difficult was it? Scientists know that if we can see a food that we like, we will almost certainly eat it. Have you ever seen an add for fast food or ice cream and wanted to eat it? Have you ever acted on that urge? That’s what advertising is meant to do to you. Compel you to buy the thing you see. PET scans show that obese people have a lower dopamine sensitivity that leads them to eat more of the offending food to get the same reward. This is similar to drug addicts and alcoholics, but it seems that sugar has an even stronger pull on people.

When you eat a sweet food that comes from nature, like an apple, there is fibre and vitamins, minerals, and other plant chemicals that send signals to the brain that tell you “enough”, but packaged, processed foods don’t contain these nutrients, so the message doesn’t get sent to tell you to stop eating. That’s why you would never eat 8 apples in a sitting, but you might eat a whole pizza or tub of ice cream.

What to do? Well, the solution isn’t easy, but it is possible. We need to quit eating processed foods and replace them with natural foods that we prepare ourselves. There is no other way.  It isn’t enough to slowly phase out junk food.  We really need to do it cold turkey, because even a little sugar will drive you to eat more sugar.  The first few days are really tough.  This is a psychological game.  Have you ever seen someone coming off drugs or alcohol?  The detox symptoms are severe.  With sugar detox you will feel angry and emotional.  You may even feel nauseated and have headaches.  This passes when you are eating whole, fresh foods.  And I can help.  

Try my 30 Day Clean Eating Program.  I offer lots of information, strategies and support to help you reach your health goals.  I will teach you how to plan, how to unprocess your pantry, and shop strategically.  Anyone can be successful on this program.  I have never once heard anyone tell me they wished they hadn’t eaten that healthy meal.  No one feels guilty for taking care of their health.

30 Day Clean Eating Program includes:

  1. an initial assessment where we will discuss your current challenges, concerns and health goals 
  2. a Nutri-Body Analysis (covers more than 200 different body imbalances) to show you where to focus on the details of your personal nutrition requirements 
  3. weekly email check-ins to get your questions answered and discuss your struggles and successes
  4. a follow up appointment at the end of the 30 days to re-evaluate the Nutri-Body Analysis to see how much you have improved!  
Call me today for a free 15 minute consultation.  You are worth the effort and you won’t ever regret it.