Though we joke and say, "I'm addicted to sugar," there's more truth to that saying than we realize. Eating sugar triggers more production of serotonin in the brain. This feel-good chemical gives an emotional boost, much like an anti-depressant. When the blood sugar level drops, so does the serotonin level. This can result in a mild "withdrawal" with feelings of anxiety or moodiness.
Pay attention the next time you eat a candy bar or drink a soda. The sugar gives you a quick boost, but it's soon followed by a crash. You'll crave more sugar to get relief from those down feelings. Sugar highs and lows create a vicious roller coaster ride.
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There are several problems with this. First of all, excess sugar weakens the immune system, making us more susceptible to sickness and disease. Sugar also provides a paradise for bacteria, fungi and parasites to flourish. Over time, sugar consumption can lead to diabetes, gastrointestinal problems, certain cancers, heart disorders and many other disease states. Add to this list fatigue, mood swings and weight gain.
Maybe you're a skeptic and think there's no such thing as sugar addiction. Well, can you go for one entire day without sugar of any kind? Not just candy and soda, but hidden sugars in breads, bagels, muffins, chips and cereals? And if you eat a cookie or a bite of chocolate, can you walk away satisfied or do you just want more, more, more? If you eat sugary foods every day, you just might be an "addict."
How do you get off that sugar roller coaster? It may or may not be easy, depending on how sensitive you are to the pleasure sugar provides. For some, eating it in moderation is the key. They can have dessert once or twice a week, no problem. For others, sugar calls their name from the time they wake up in the morning to the time they go to sleep at night.
If the pleasure sensors explode in your brain with each bite of sweets, there will be no such thing as moderation. In this case, your best bet is to eliminate sugary foods altogether for awhile. Replace them with lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, low fat dairy products, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. (You can also use a product like Splenda to help satisfy your sweet tooth.)
Try a week or two of sugar-free eating and see how good you feel.
Copyright 2009 Lisa Graham
Lisa Graham is a certified Personal Fitness Trainer, Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant, and Advanced Health and Fitness Specialist. For great tips on weight loss, exercise and healthy living, visit her website at [https://www.tenweekturnaround.com] and follow her daily blog at http://lifestyleturnaround.blogspot.com/
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