Foods high in sugar are one of the most widely available and easily accessible foods in the world. This ranges from food rich in carbohydrates to artificial sweeteners, soda drinks, candies, and chocolates.
Overeating sugar has been linked to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. These conditions are progressive and destroy the body in the long run if not properly managed.
We must reduce sugar in our diet. This is important in avoiding those terminal conditions, aids in weight loss, dental health, and reduces risks of constipation.
Although reducing sugar intake is crucial, short-term “withdrawal symptoms” often result from a reduction in sugar intake.
SYMPTOMS OF SUGAR WITHDRAWAL
These symptoms vary from person to person but usually include the following:
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Depressed mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Intense cravings for something sweet
- Intense cravings for other carbohydrates, like chips or pasta
These symptoms are very unpleasant and can lead to “binge-eating” behaviours. After a period of sugar withdrawal, some people give in to a craving and consume more sugar than they normally would.
Binge-eating is part of a vicious cycle of sugar dependence and withdrawal. After a binge, people often feel guilty, depressed, and angry. To make themselves feel better, they eat more sugar to get endorphins flowing again. Endorphins make you feel better while eating but hardly stick around for long.
It is important to note that the term “sugar” is tricky. There are sugars in many healthy foods, including fruit, bread, and dairy products. We usually refer to refined sugar added to bread, candy, and soda when talking about reducing sugar. This includes table sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and white flour. They have little or no nutritional value!
Coping With Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are trying to reduce your sugar intake or cut sugar out of your diet, there are some steps you can take to help cope with sugar withdrawal symptoms.
Set Specific, Practical Goals
While there may be reasons to switch to a very low-sugar diet, it is often more realistic and achievable to look for practical ways to reduce your sugar intake gradually.
For example, you might swap out sugary snacks for foods higher in proteins, fats, and whole grains. Or you might stop drinking high-sugar soda and other sugary beverages and replace them with water or other low-sugar drinks.
Increase Daily Fiber
Dietary fiber can help you feel fuller longer and reduce feelings of hunger. Foods high in fiber can also help regulate blood sugar levels, which means you’ll be less likely to experience fluctuations in blood sugar that contribute to cravings. Fibers can be obtained mainly from fruits. We can take these fruits as juices, smoothies or as fruit salads.
Eat Balanced Meals
Focusing on eating meals and snacks with balanced protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats is important. Ensuring you are getting a good balance can help promote feelings of fullness, help regulate blood sugar levels, and minimize cravings.
Sleep is essential for health and well-being. Sleeping an average of 6 to 8 hours a day is important for mental function, creating a feeling of fullness and improving metabolism.
Engage in Physical Activity
Getting regular exercise can also be helpful when you are cutting back on sugar. This does not have to be a hard, vigorous exercise. Even short bursts of brisk exercise can help reduce sugar cravings.
Adequate hydration keeps up energy levels and helps stabilize hunger.” It can also affect blood sugar levels. On the flip side, being thirsty could mess with your ability to make healthy decisions and resist sweets.
EAT MORE PROTEINS
Protein is great for reducing hunger and sugar cravings. Not only does a high-protein diet cut levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, but it also helps maintain normal blood sugar levels to prevent several sugar withdrawal symptoms.
Treatment For Sugar Withdrawal Symptoms
Sugar withdrawal doesn’t require long-term treatment because it will pass relatively quickly. The main problem is sustaining a low-sugar diet.
The key to changing your eating pattern is to find something you can live with long-term. If going sugar free for three weeks will make you binge next month, try a less drastic plan.
A diet rich in lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables will help you sustain a healthy weight while giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. Try to avoid processed foods, as they are packed with added sugars. Instead, get your sweet fix from fiber, like berries, oranges, or apples. Get 100% fruit products here.
TYPES OF SUGAR TO AVOID
It is important when priority is given to reading food labels. This is one of the best ways to monitor added sugar intake. Look for the following names for added sugar and try to either avoid or cut back on the amount or frequency of the foods where they are found:
- brown sugar
- corn sweetener
- corn syrup
- fruit juice concentrates
- high-fructose corn syrup
- invert sugar
- malt sugar
- syrup sugar molecules ending in “ose” (dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose)
It is noteworthy that although it is difficult to cut down on sugar intake after years of consuming it, making a gradual and concerted effort to reduce its level in the body is important not only to prevent diseases like diabetes, heart conditions and obesity but also important in helping the body’s immune response, healing process and ability to fight inflammation.
So when you think about getting sugar high next, remember you can always substitute it with healthier and richer meals.