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Sugar addiction – what’s behind it?

People quickly talk about addiction when it’s hard to give up a particular food or behavior. By definition, a habit is an excessive desire. There does not have to be a physical dependence for this to occur. However, whether a sugar addiction can be equated with other habits is the subject of critical debate. After all, sugar poses no danger as alcohol or drugs unless the person concerned is obsessed with sugar. Nevertheless, excessive consumption is unhealthy and harms health in the long run.

Possible consequential damages are:

  • Obesity
  • Digestive problems
  • Dental damage
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Digestive disorders
  • Significant diseases, such as diabetes

Excessive sugar consumption harms metabolism and impairs digestion. That’s why it’s essential to address the causes and develop solution strategies.

Why does sugar taste so good?

The desire for sugar is firmly anchored in humans. Even breast milk tastes very sweet. Sweet means that food is rich in energy, and energy ensures survival. But if children don’t learn that sweet foods are the exception from an early age, they become maladjusted and find it challenging to re-educate themselves later on.

If you have young children of your own, avoid comforting or pleasing them with sweets. Instead, give time and attention. Do not hand children sweet drinks to quench thirst. After breast milk, water is the right drink.

At what point is it too much?

It is too much if you eat sweets every day and reach for sugary products even when full. Remember that carbohydrates also contain sugar. Research has shown that many people today lack knowledge about the interrelationships of healthy eating.

Juices and sodas, sweet rolls, and fast food have replaced vegetable-rich dishes. Everything has to please the palate above all. This is also because these foods are very cheap, and advertising suggests that even sweets still contain nutritional content. Take a critical look at your menu to protect yourself from this consumer deception.

In need of treatment or not?

Sugar addiction can also require treatment. This is when you fail to significantly reduce your consumption because the more you try to give it up, the greater your cravings become.

Be aware that the psychological component plays a decisive role here. Take your time with your plan, and don’t blame yourself. Instead, look at yourself from the outside. What advice would you give to someone you care about in such a situation?

The cause often lies in the gut.

An excessive craving for sugar can be the result of a fungal infection. Fungal spores in the intestines are not uncommon. However, the fungus can become rampant during illness or dietary errors and spreads massively as a result. One accompanying symptom is excessive hunger for sweets. Other signs are:

  • Flatulence
  • Diarrhea
  • abdominal cramps
  • Skin reactions
  • attacks of fatigue
  • aggravation of allergies
  • sleep disturbances
  • Concentration disorders

Detection is possible via a stool sample or blood. Treatment is carried out according to traditional medicine. It is also not possible to starve the fungus. A strict diet must be maintained with treatment, but the sugar craving subsides quickly during therapy. The general well-being also improves within a short time.

Would you rather avoid sugar altogether?

You will not succeed in avoiding sugar entirely unless you prepare everything yourself. But it’s also not necessary, because of course you can eat cake or treat yourself to a chocolate bar in between meals. If you also want to reduce your moderate sugar consumption, ask yourself when you have sugar cravings:

  • Do I want to reward myself?
  • Do I want to distract myself?
  • Am I starving?
  • Am I stressed?

How long does sugar withdrawal last?

There is no universal answer to this question. We are all much too different for that. Some people are already after 3-4 days without withdrawal symptoms; others hear after more than two weeks still now and then the voice of the sugar monster. In the following, I will explain a few rules for the renunciation period. If you follow them, the sugar withdrawal will not only be easier but can also be much shorter. So you will feel faster the inner peace that comes when the sugar is gone. 

In my courses, I observe time and again that for most people, the withdrawal symptoms begin to subside after just under a week. This is, of course, a reason to celebrate and accordingly our first success buoys us! We feel better overall and have more energy. We sleep better, and aches and pains subside. The body feels better without sugar!

But life consists of high and low phases. And so does sugar withdrawal. After the first success, we are often tempted to be less strict, and perhaps doubting voices are raised within us (“Giving up all sugar is a bit excessive! Go ahead and treat yourself to a chocolate again. Just one! That can’t hurt!”). If we don’t stick it out now, the sugar monster will quickly retake the reins. We fall back into old habits, and, of course, our long-trained snacking pattern kicks back in: “If I’m working so hard, I just need a candy reward!”

That’s why it’s so important to hang in there right now! The body is already through with withdrawal; you feel much calmer physically. But the soul needs a little more time. In this phase, it often becomes apparent whether your sugar addiction was only physical or you are also emotionally attached to sugar.

In the latter case, it is beneficial if you don’t quit sugar alone but do it together with other people. The group carries you! 

You don’t feel alone with your problems and can understand others faster than for yourself. But it’s in those moments when you tell others not to get angry or to be nicer to themselves that it can click, and you learn to treat yourself more lovingly, too.

Withdrawal in a group setting has long been a proven scenario for confronting addiction.

What are the withdrawal symptoms to expect?

Again, I can’t give you the one answer. There are typical withdrawal symptoms such as headaches or being annoyed. However, many people also report impure, sensitive skin and greater hunger. Some have bad dreams at night. This is because so many symptoms can be associated with sugar withdrawal. 

Above all, though, I don’t want to scare you about sugar withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms are less harmful than you make them out to be in advance. Of course, they are not pleasant. They show you unflatteringly how much sugar affects your life. In the few days of sugar withdrawal, you understand not only with your head but with your whole body, what sugar does to you and how much you are “on the needle.” You learn so much about it in that short time. Sometimes in a rather ungentlemanly way. For that, it sticks in our minds all the more clearly, and you’ll see sugar from a whole different perspective.

What are the health benefits of sugar withdrawal?

The vast majority of brave people who embark on the sugar-free experiment experience improvements after a short time. How profound the improvements are is influenced by many things. For example, by how long and how much sugar you ate before. That’s why I can’t guarantee all the positive effects. But these are feelings of success that participants in my courses regularly report: 

Feeling a genuine desire for food for the first time.

Feeling how my body feels when the sugar has left it. This can take up to 3 weeks and happens in very few cases just like that, i.e., without a conscious decision to give up sugar.

  • The onset of a natural feeling of satisfaction
  • The disappearance of “searching behavior” in the kitchen – cupboard open! Cupboard closed!
  • The rejection of sweets without a feeling of renunciation
  • An excellent sense of taste, followed by great pleasure
  • Saying goodbye to various aches and pains
  • Firmer and better sleep
  • Stress can be much easier to cope with
  • Weight loss
  • And, of course, the low-sugar diet affects your health. Various health problems can be alleviated or even disappear altogether. 

The likelihood of developing diabetes, atherosclerosis, or diseases of the entire cardiovascular system decreases.

Improved liver and blood lipid levels.

The risk of tooth decay decreases significantly.

The good bacteria in the intestines can multiply and promote good digestion. Thus, all ailments that occur due to an intestine that is not intact are positively influenced. In addition, the immune system is significantly strengthened.

Candida can be stopped.

A sugar-free diet can reduce even the risk of cancer.

As you can see, avoiding sugar and living a low-sugar life is very worthwhile!

You may have been trying to finally find a casual relationship with sugar for a long time. But maybe you also have a part of you that strictly rejects dogmas, rules, and strict regulations: “But you don’t have to give up sugar radically! A little chocolate can’t hurt.” This is typical of sugar eaters who like to enjoy themselves. On the other hand, you probably also know this voice of pleasure that says: “Only healthy is no fun! So bring on the chocolate!”  

Between you and me, I’m not always consistent. Consistency is not a significant point in my value system because I don’t like to see life in black and white. However, to go sugar-free, does play a big part. I tried for years to get off sugar, and I know today that it wouldn’t have worked without that strict time with clear rules. Moreover, I can see today that these rules are not bans. They are a guide to what is good for me. That is self-love in action. 

Now you might be asking the big question, “So how do I do this sugar withdrawal thing concretely?” Or maybe you’re already in the starting blocks and can’t wait to start your sugar withdrawal immediately tomorrow. 

I explain why I don’t think much of a short-term start to a sugar-free time and why it’s essential to be strict in sugar withdrawal in this video, among others: 

Why Shouldn’t You Start Sugar Withdrawal First Thing Tomorrow?

Why is it important to be strict in sugar-free time?

Good preparation

Prepare a few days for the sugar-free period! This is essential to stick with the sugar withdrawal. Spontaneous entries into a sugar-free period are usually very prone to relapse. 

Two points are essential in the preparation: 

Motivation list

Write down why you want to go on a sugar-free time. What are your goals? What is your motivation behind it? In case you don’t remember them when you’re in a sugar withdrawal slump, the list is a good reminder of why you’re putting yourself through all the stress in the first place.

Sort out sugary foods

Clean up your kitchen. Sort out all the sugary foods (even those with hidden sugars) and pass them on. It will make your sugar-free time a lot easier if the baking chocolate doesn’t suddenly get a voice and call out from the kitchen drawer. (If you can’t eliminate all sugar, clearly label sugary foods so you know exactly what you can eat during sugar-free time). 

With your motivational list and tidy kitchen, you’ve already done a lot of the prep work. 

Now there is one more significant point missing for sugar withdrawal. To stay well-nourished, full, and satisfied during the sugar withdrawal, you must provide yourself with nutrient-rich food!

What does my body need?

Some foods can provide us with extra nutrients, and some foods can rob us of even our nutrient reserves. The latter encourages sweet cravings and makes it hard to find a way out of addiction. That’s why it’s essential to eat as nutrient-dense a diet as possible, crowding out sugar.

But how does a nutrient-rich diet work? 

In my search for nutrient-rich foods and “vital substances” (as whole foods nutrition calls it), I wanted to leave out vitamins and minerals in tablet form because I hadn’t experienced much effect from these drugstore pills so far and because I was more interested in getting to the bottom of the original diet. In the past, people had survived without convenience products and supplements.

At the time, I didn’t know about high-quality supplements, the nutrient-poor state of our soils, and our increased nutrient needs due to stress and environmental factors, but that’s another topic.

Instead, I was looking for the living ingredients in unprocessed foods. I wanted to use all their vitamins, enzymes, minerals, fiber, and other components in their natural form and combination.

Is my body even getting these nutrients?

I’ve noticed how little our Western diet offers of them in this quest. Almost everything is packaged, processed, transformed, heated, irradiated, preserved, or isolated. These are no longer LIFE foods; they are dead foods, simply food. During the many processing steps, most of the living components of a food product are killed.

It is done to make the product keep longer. It’s pretty simple: what’s already dead can’t die. If nothing can take care of decay, it won’t smell rotten. The product will last longer if the bacteria have been killed.

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