Chances Are, You're Hooked on Sugar and You Don't Even Know It

Sugar cravings can feel like they rule your world. But it's important to ask yourself what's going on. Ask yourself if you feel as though your need for the sweet stuff is emotional, habitual, physical, or even a combination of all of them. Getting to the root of the craving will help you to break it once and for all.
If you have an emotional craving, this means your craving is dependent on how you're feeling, like telling yourself you deserve and need a cookie to make it through a seemingly difficult day. If it's a habitual craving, then your desire for sugar is connected with an event. For instance, if it's 3pm at work and you need a pick-me-up, you resort to your coworkers candy stash to smack a smile back on your face. Physical cravings are the result of loss of control. And if this is the case, there are four reasons involved.   1. You're consuming foods you find yourself sensitive to.  People almost never just open up a pack of sugar and suck it down. Typically it is mixed into cupcakes, muffins or ice cream. It's also disguised in flour (as well as gluten) and dairy, which are two of the biggest offenders of food sensitivities. "When you eat foods you are sensitive to, you initiate an inflammatory response which can interfere with the brain chemistry and intensify your sugar cravings," explains Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, who is a Columbia University-educated nutritional therapist as well as the founder of Food Coach NYC. Is it bread that you can't give up? You might be sensitive to gluten, and if it's cheese, you might be sensitive to dairy. Try to remove the food for four weeks to see if the craving lessens. 2. Your microbiome is low diversity.  The more microflora species that are in your GI tract, the less likely you are to experience cravings. And the fewer you have, the more likely your cravings will overcome you. "For instance, your good bacteria species, bifidobacteria, like fiber, while pathogenic yeast likes sugar. I find that 75% of my clients that crave sugar have pathogenic yeast in their GI tract," says  James. Eat and drink fermented foods such as coconut kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut in order to remove the pathogenic yeast and better your microbiome diversity. Taking a probiotic with at least 12 stains of bacteria will be beneficial as well. 3. You're experiencing neurotransmitter imbalances.  Even just a little bit of stress can throw off your adrenal hormones and neurotransmitters. "I've observed in my practice that serotonin is often the first neurotransmitter to become depleted. The quickest way to increase your serotonin levels is to eat sugar! But it’s a burst (like a caffeine jolt), so you’ll often find yourself wanting more and more sugar to keep the serotonin levels elevated," notes James. Take a 50mg of 5-HTP before you hit the hay each night. This will decrease your sugar cravings. 4. You're diet consists of eating and/or drinking items complete with high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sugars.  It hasn't been determined as to why high-fructose corn syrup is more addictive than plain old sugar, however, if this is what's going on with you, you'll definitely want to toss it from your diet. Same goes for artificial sweeteners, which are known to increase your dependence on sugar. "Ditching sugar is not about avoiding it, but rather using it wisely and choosing the sweeteners with properties beyond a sweet taste," says James who suggests opting for raw honey, which is a probiotic that has 5 billion microorganisms in just one teaspoon, and can help with the diversity of the microbiome. Are you a sugar fiend? For a plan that will help avoid overdoing it on the sweet stuff, check out that BodyRock Meal Plan!
Source: Mind Body Green

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