Are You Addicted To Sugar? Toxic Overload

sugar toxins

It is funny how health concerns really make you assess your life and eating habits. This past few months I have had some health issues and one of those is hormonal imbalance.  I realised the skin beneath my eyes was beginning to lose its elasticity (I spoke more about this imbalance in my blog post Early Menopause HERE) and I was getting more facial hair on my chin, along with a number of other hormonal symptoms. Now I realise what a gift my body has given me because it has been seeking out what it needs and what is no longer healing or supportive for my human vessel.

Now Sugar. Well I would say I have been addicted to sugar since a child, even more so in my early teens and on. I hated school, so when I came home my indulgence was sweets, chocolates, cake and on weekends I even had half a gateaux all to myself, with a side selection of biscuits (cookies in the USA). Every evening my dinner composed of ready meals, chicken dippers, chips, lots of sugary ketchup, fizzy drinks… the list just goes on and on. So, I built up a routine of  when ‘feeling emotional’ – must eat sugar.

chocolate chip cookies
After my dinner at around 7pm or 8pm my parents and would have had a sugar-laden cup of English tea with milk, and my parents would have a few biscuits and I would keep the biscuit barrel by my chair. I would say I probably had at least half or a whole packet of biscuits each evening. To me chocolate, sugary substances made me feel comforted. They were my emotional crutch when I did not know how to handle the pain of school or not  feeling socially confident. And as most people were doing exactly the same, nobody seemed to notice why I was doing this.

 Rats when offered sugar-water and cocaine overwhelmingly chose sugar-water.

In my late teens to twenties I drank sugar-laden alcohol as well, and binge drank a lot, again more comfort, which helped me to be social when my self confidence was low. To more recently, where I was sure I loved coffee so much, to realise once sugar was taken away, coffee was not what I was craving each day, it was the sugar I put into the coffee. With cakes, treats, intentions to be healthy followed by a moment of sadness or low emotion to a “oh just one time, a custard slice just for today” and back into the old routine of food equals comfort.

So here I am looking at the potential train wreck of hormones and realising I have a choice here. I can choose to continue food laden with sugar, and let my hormones get more imbalanced; let my skin lose its elasticity; age quicker, and let my body get all the sugar-related illnesses that this poison called sugar does to the body, or I can choose to let it go, be disciplined and change my eating habits. I chose the latter.

Now I know many of you reading this may also be addicted to sugar, or you may feel you are not addicted if you only have a little each day, but add that over a week or a month, place that sugar into a jar and you will be quite horrified at how much you consume.

Sugar addiction is prevalent in our western society so much so that we are even spreading our addiction into places like Japan and other Eastern cultures that may have had a healthier diet thus spreading the cycle of obesity to other parts of the world.

So why is it important to cut out sugar or at least reduce the amount of sugar we ingest? Well, these facts may shock you, or you may find your need for sugar outweighs the sheer horror of what sugar can do to the body. Much like smokers, we sugar addicts make excuses for why we cannot quit, but just like nicotine, sugar is a poison to the body. 

  • EMPTY CALORIES: Refined sugar has no nutritional value whatever.
  • ACID/ALKALI BALANCE: Sugar taken everyday creates a continuous overacid environment in the body, which responds by leeching calcium from the bones in order to return to balance. Overacid environment in the body contributes to cancer.
  • OBESITY: Sugar makes you fat. When we were cavemen and women, there were periods of abundance and periods of famine. In order to survive the body learned to store the excess as fat to be drawn on in times of famine. So in modern day society there is only abundance. 
  • SUGAR HIGHS & LOWS: Sugar causes your blood sugar levels to spike, causing the pancreas to release more insulin to bring the sugar level back to normal. But because this situation is not normal, too much insulin is produced which causes the blood sugar level to become too low, so you feel the need for the next sugar kick. 
  • SYNDROME X: Frequently you will go through highs and lows as your blood sugar levels go up and down. This cycle can lead to what is called SYNDROME X where the body no longer responds to insulin. It is the first step towards becoming diabetic (type 2).
  • HORMONES: Sugar completely disrupts your hormonal balance. 
  • SKIN & AGING: Excessive sugar intake causes cross-linking of the collagen fibres which causes the skin to lose its elasticity, so aging quicker than your body would normally do.
raspberry sugar spoon
Sugar addiction can lead to a lot more but I would fill this page if I listed them all.  Please check out this link  146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health for further information. I found reading this has helped me stop taking in sugar.
Now, I know letting sugar go in Western society is very challenging. Many sauces, foods already have sugar in them, but you can always choose low sugar options. Check the packaging, and ideally don’t replace sugar with alternatives like aspartame. These have been seen to have other damaging effects on the body.
Being a sugar addict can feel like coming off cocaine. It takes willpower and self-discipline. I am in day 9 of no added sugar, and today is the first day I have not felt a craving. This is not to say that when I see someone eating a creamy cake, or a chocolate advert on television, I will not salivate when watching, but it does mean I have the willpower to continue.

So, what can you do if you want to give up sugar?

Well personally, I could not reduce my sugar gradually. I had to go cold turkey. I also have had to take all kinds of overly sweet foods, sauces, fruits from my diet. Just temporarily, even those natural sweeteners coming from certain fruits. I had allowed myself a little sweetness, the occasional grape and a friend online mentioned slicing apple and sprinkling with cinnamon helps cravings, and it does. For me, having some sliced chicken in the fridge or when the cravings got too much a warm mug of milk. The fat content helps soothe the craving, I discovered. And this week I will be doing EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to tap away cravings. I will do this by putting up images of the most gorgeous looking cakes and chocolate I can find and look at the image while tapping the desire to indulge. This is my method and you may find your own.
I know when you have children and a family it can be more difficult, peer pressure to eat what their friends eat and drink, but if you have young children its a good starting point to go sugar-free. This way when they eventually taste sugar-laden foods they will probably be put off by the over-sweetness.

The list of foods and beverages I have given up are:

Sugar in my coffee
Tomato ketchup
Sauces that contain excessive sugar
Yes I know you may groan, “All the things I love gone! How will I cope?”. I felt the same. But you have to ask yourself “do I want to be healthy or comforted?” And is there a more healthy way to comfort myself from within than through sugar substances (do not look in horror – in 3 months time you can start introducing your own home-made sugar free cakes and goodies!).
I especially encourage women to consider cutting back, the effect this addiction has had on my cycle and skin really brought it home to me. 
You will know you are addicted if you crave sugary substances regularly. And you will not be alone. A large percentage of the population is the same.
For more information on what you can eat check out the countless websites and books online with recipes and diets based on glycemic index. I am on a low GI diet at present to help me bring my health back into balance.
And soon I will be writing about the effects  THE DEADLY NIGHTSHADE FAMILY have on our bodies if we have them in excess (tomatoes, aubergines, potatoes etc.)Do share your tips on how you are giving up sugar, or how you have given it up sugar? 

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Kelly Martin
Kelly Martin

Kelly Martin, author of ‘When Everyone Shines But You’ is a dedicated writer and blogger who fearlessly explores life’s deepest questions. Faced with a decade of profound anxiety and grief following the loss of her father and her best friend Michael, Kelly embarked on a transformative journey guided by mindfulness, and she hasn’t looked back since. Through her insightful writing, engaging podcasts, and inspiring You Tube channel Kelly empowers others to unearth the hidden treasures within their pain, embracing the profound truth that they are ‘enough’ exactly as they are.

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  1. March 27, 2013 / 5:32 pm

    Fab article – I can easily manage without all you have said apart from Chocolate – I crave it some days each month and have a secret supply. Let us know if you notice a difference in your health.

    • March 27, 2013 / 5:45 pm

      Thanks Madminx. Well I am over 3 months now without sugar and my moods have been much better, the skin under my eyes has improved too. I skin have a skin rash but I feel this is to do with allergens I am looking into. It can take 6 months to notice the major changes so I will do a new update in April.

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