If you’re looking at quitting sugar, it can be a challenge. Sugar is added to just about everything, even in products you might not realise, like commercially produced bread and buns.
If you’ve struggled with knowing how to quit a sugar addiction in the past, it’s important to know that it’s not your fault. There is a scientific and biological response to sugar in your mind that means stopping is not as easy as it sounds. Knowing this and understanding this is really helpful when you are making the change to a clean and healthy diet. I quit sugar, I know its tough but I can also assure you it’s worth it.
For many people, the taste of sugar triggers the release of opiates in the brain. This in turn stimulates dopamine, which creates a wave of feel-good feelings in your system. That’s right. The chemical response to sugar in our brain is one of pleasure, which works just like any addictive substance. Cocaine, caffeine and tobacco also increases dopamine activity in our system.
How to Quit Sugar Addiction
When it comes to the question of how to quit sugar addiction, it’s not simply a matter of will power and discipline. Sugar is a drug and food companies work very hard to come up with the perfect measure and mix of ingredients to get that addictive effect. A sugar treat is literally a reward for your brain. So how to take away the sugar and still get the reward is a really essential part of quitting sugar.
Studies by Dr Neal Bernard indicate that the habit of eating junk food is formed because of this chemical release. It’s the dopamine that hijacks the brain’s system and creates a desire for more feel-good feelings.
The more junk food you have, the bigger the problem. Overeating on junk food increases dopamine levels so much that it can be disastrous to our mental state. So while the excess sugar creates physical problems, including excessive weight gain, heart problems and diabetes, the excessive amount of dopamine attacks the mind.
The impact is wide ranging, including a negative effect on our mood, memory, focus and motivation. You can imagine the cycle then, if you are feeling depressed or flat from eating junk food and your brain is convinced junk food has feel good benefits, around you go again. My biggest hope is that by reading this article you understand just how important quitting sugar is.
Get Dopamine the Healthy Way
Based on Dr Neal Bernard’s research there are three natural sources to give you dopamine in the right amounts, in ways that are just as effective as junk food. When we know the way to get that reward in a healthy way, we can kick sugar to the curb, look great, be at our physical best and feel strong mentally as well.
1. Social Support
Want a natural boost? Studies show that when you’re with friends, family and loved ones, your dopamine activity levels get the right sized boost. The more intimate those encounters are, the more dopamine you get. So, spend some quality time with those close to you and really appreciate that love is not only good for your heart, it’s good for your mind and your waistline.
2. Physical Activity
You may not look at someone sweating away in an aerobics class and think, wow, they look like they’re on a high. At the time, it’s effort and concentration, the high is there and you feel it most predominantly when you stop. After doing vigorous exercise, like a workout, a dance class, swimming or jogging people have high brain activity, high energy and feel fantastic about themselves. With this level of natural feel good there is no need to sit down instantly and have a bowl of ice cream. It’s never too late to get moving. Find something that works for your lifestyle and fitness level. Exercising with friends or in a group creates a great combination of social support and physical activity that will really get you buzzing.
Interestingly enough the final way to get a natural dopamine boost is music. There have been some really fascinating studies from McGill University using brain scanning technology to measure dopamine levels when listening to music. What studies show is no matter what the music type is, happy music or sad songs, there was a release of feel good chemicals as long as the individual finds the music appealing.
If you are ever feeling your brain and will power wavering from your healthy diet, remember just how great it is to be sugar free. Get together with the people who matter, get active, listen to music and feel good inside and out.
It will make the journey to healthy and happy that much easier.
Get Even Healthier!
I’d love to help you learn how to quit sugar for good. Let me show you how to choose and use nutritious fats and other good-for-you foods that are essential for getting to your optimal health. If you are curious about how health coaching can get you moving to a healthy state, let’s talk! Schedule an initial free consultation with me today, or pass this offer on to someone you care about!
I received my training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. I have studied more than one hundred dietary theories and have effectively matched them with a range of practical lifestyle coaching methods. From this I create completely personalised “roadmaps to health” that suit your unique body, lifestyle, preferences, and goals.
For more information about the Food Revolution Summit. Part 7 – The Science of Healthy Eating Get the truth about food from leading doctors. Neal Barnard, MD – Amazing Things Power Foods Can Do for You. You can visit http://www.pcrm.org/nbBlog.