Sugar Addiction: Rehab in 5 simple steps!
Now, more than ever, famed TV doctor - Dr. Oz says sugar is closing in on the number one position for root causes of illness - especially insulin resistance and diabetes (if you suspect that you may be insulin resistant, take our quiz here).
Dr Oz believes that a sugar addiction can be cured in just 28 days by following specific steps and tips. Sugar is deeply connected to the 'feel good' chemicals in the brain, and so just like any other drug, it sets up a cycle of cravings and 'fixes'. When you eat a high-sugar food, insulin rushes into your blood to deal with the 'sugar spike'. Insulin then removes all the sugar from the blood taking it to the organs, leading to a 'sugar crash'. This then leaves your body depleted of energy and needing another sugar 'high'. Furthermore, sugar can cause hormonal fluctuations and weight gain, setting in motion terrible side effects and ill-health. Are you hooked? Tired of always being tired? If so, it's time for an intervention! Here are 5 simple rehab steps that you can start TODAY to cut your sugar addiction in 28 days because Dr. Oz says the brain takes 28 days to adjust to a new habit!
1. Know the enemy!
The best plan of attack is studying the enemy. READ the labels on your food items. You may not realise it, but certain foods that you may not associate with sugar have a high Glycemic Index (GI) - which means as soon as you swallow they convert to sugars quickly! Dr. Oz says that hidden sugar culprits include sauces, cereals, sushi (yes, all that white rice has a high GI count!), canned soups, seed bars, bread, sports drinks, dates, raisins and melons. On food labels, check if sugar is listed in the first 5 ingredients as food labels list the ingredients in descending order of the amounts contained in the food stuff. It goes without saying that sweets, chocolate, fizzy cola drinks and other candies are extremely high in sugar - so much so that the average person consumes 12 tablespoons of sugar per day!
2. House Sweep
If you were addicted to cocaine, would you keep it in the house? This brings us to the next vital step: Purge. Take a deep breath and throw away all sugary foods in your house (after all, donating it will just make someone else unhealthy!). Be ruthless. Dr. Oz says that even foods that are labelled 'low fat' are substituted with high sugar, so be careful. Once you have a clean slate, replace your kitchen pantry with smart alternatives: instead of sugary cereal, choose plain bran flakes or organic rolled oats. Instead of sweet snacks try plain popcorn, nuts, or kale crisps. Hummus and avo is a better option that store bought dips too! If you really get a pang for sugar - try nature's sugar in the form of an apple, sprinkled with cinnamon or heated with cloves. Dr. Oz says that you can also add a spoonful of natural cranberry jam to your meat sandwiches at lunchtime and add raisins to rice - use your imagination and see where it takes you. Dr. Oz also loves the health benefits of coconut oil (see why he loves it by reading the article here.) If you are looking to lose weight, Dr. Oz says that you should eat more 'good' fats like olive oil, avocado, olives and nuts - this is because these fats satiate you and get rid of sugar cravings! To help shed the kilos, take Eco-Slim Drops as directed daily as it contains the herb Garcinia cambodia, known to help curb sugar and starch craving - it really works!
3. Look at your life
Like any addict, the need for a drug is usually a response to an internal or external stimuli… do you reach for sugary foods when you are tired? Or when you are stressed? Does it happen more often when you menstruate? Perhaps it's worst at night when you watch television? Sure enough, if you look at your life closely enough, you will likely spot the times and triggers that lead to your sugar fix. Dr. Oz believes if you are smart about your choices you can kick a sugar habit for good! If you're not sure, keep a journal and jot down the times and places that you feel a sudden urge for something sweet. If you crave while stressed, get a stress ball or go for a walk or jog. If you crave sugar while watching tv or working on your computer, try drinking herbal teas. If you find the craving for sugar hits at night, check if you had a high carb meal for dinner. Opt to rather have a low-carb, high protein meal and see if it helps. Once you know the trigger of your craving, many herbs can help too: MindSoothe (helps combat comfort eating) PureCalm (stops stress) and Fatigue Fighter (if fatigue causes the sugar craving).
4. Nutrient Check
Once you have been addicted to sugar, the ups and downs of the many past sugar rushes will likely leave your body depleted of vital nutrients. This then further fuels the craving for sugar as you feel tired and rundown. Dr. Oz recommends adding Chromium polynicotinate to your daily intake. It is chromium bound to niacin (vitamin B3). Chromium plays an important role in insulin's regulation of blood glucose and Dr. Oz says it prevents the spikes and dips of blood sugar. He recommends taking 200 mcg once a day at the start of any meal. You may also want to add: vitamin Bs, folic acid and amino acids. These nutrients will help to stabilise dopamine and feel good chemicals in the brain. Eat a balanced diet of every food group and do not skip meals! Remember that the objective is to keep sugar levels steady throughout the day.
5. Sugar detox
Amazingly, sugar trains the brain to ignore it, so that rather alarmingly, you end up needing more and more sugar to even taste it! The good news is that it works in reverse too. It may not be realistic for some people to cut out sugar completely at first, but start by training your brain to become sensitive to sugar again. Start on week one by halving the amount of sugar in your coffee. Then halve further in the second week. Take Detox Drops to help your body cleanse itself of impurities that the sugar may have caused. Eventually, when you have been sugar-free for a while the brain 'comes out of the sugar fog' and tastes the sugar again, able to regulate it - eventually the taste of sugar will be too sweet and you won't even miss it! Dr. Oz says that if most of your sugar comes from drinks like fizzy drinks and juice, dilute it with a half a cup of soda water. This will immediately reduce your sugar intake by half! Continue to reduce the amount of the sugary drinks you consume as you go and, soon, you won’t even miss them.
A note on natural sugars:
While you are trying to wean yourself off sugars, substitute immediately for natural sugars like Xylitol, available in syrup and granules. Natural sugars are broken down more easily by the body. While you continue to halve your sugar dosage of Xylitol sugars over the next few weeks and make your way to a sugar-free lifestyle, you at least know that no further harm is done. Dr. Oz says Coconut Blossom and Xylitol sugars are good natural substitutes. The Feelgood Health Shop stocks natural sugars: Unit 6, Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake Business Park, Cape Town. 021 797 0193.