What You Need to Know About Sugar Withdrawal


America’s addiction to sugar has reached epidemic proportions years ago, but we still don’t quite appreciate the extent of the problem. Some estimates reveal that the average American consumes almost 200 pounds of refined sugar per year, but that doesn’t include all the sugar derivatives that are found in many of our favorite drinks and foods.

The reality is that sugar is incredibly addictive, and it produces similar effects on our brain that cocaine does. It is also so common, such a regular part of our lives and so socially acceptable that people who talk about the negative effects of sugar tend to be maligned and ostracized. Considering the impact on our overall health that excessive sugar consumption has, as well as the cost of caring for those who develop chronic disease as a result, it is mind-boggling that this problem isn’t taken more seriously.


Sugar is Not as Beneficial as we Think
Contrary to popular belief, the energy-boosting properties of sugar are short-lived and not nearly as beneficial as we think. It tricks our bodies into altering how it processes food, regulates hormones and stores fat. It actually causes fatigue, lethargy, a lack of focus, creates irritability and contributes to an array of mis-diagnosed psychological problems. What little benefits we thing we get from sugar are nothing compared to the ill-effects.

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Sugar Addiction
The main reason that sugar is so addictive is that it energizes every cell in our bodies, including our brain. It interacts with the brain in a way that establishes a “reward” system that is satisfied once more sugar is consumed and tolerance builds quickly. Even small doses of sugar, on a consistent basis can cause people to experience withdrawal symptoms if this reward mechanism is not satisfied.

Obviously, people react to sugar addiction in different ways. Factors include their psychological and physiological makeup, the amount they consume and period of time that they have been eating sugar. Symptoms of withdrawal can include irritability, mood swings, depression, headaches, a general feeling of malaise and even body aches, nausea and vomiting in severe cases. It can take anywhere from two weeks to a few months to fully overcome these symptoms and get the body back to normal.

People who are addicted and try to quit sugar cold turkey tend to suffer the most, and they are also the ones who stand to benefit from supportive therapy. Yes, that’s right, therapy. However, there are other ways to curb sugar and get consumption under control and establish acceptable and safe limits. One way is to taper off gradually over the course of time. Another solution is to replace sugary products with naturally sweet alternatives such as organic honey and fruit. Unfortunately, it is almost a given that people who are most successful at giving up sugar are also the most determined to make better and more responsible dietary choices along the way.

Getting Started Now
Problems will only get worse over time, so there is no time like the present to make the decision to lower sugar consumption in your and your family’s diet. This involves taking a more hands-on approach when it comes to meal preparation and having control over the ingredients that you eat. Exercise and keeping busy can also help to reduce the suffering that you can expect to feel as well.

There are also a number of resources available that can help you to establish goals and stick to them over the course of time. Many are free and are offered online or in the real world in communities across the country.

No matter how you decide to put an end to excessive sugar consumption, be prepared to endure some difficult days ahead as you and your body get used to being without this completely unnecessary additive. The trick is to make a commitment to end sugar abuse and focus on building a healthy lifestyle now so that you don’t fall victim to the array of illnesses, diseases and conditions that are almost certain to crop up over the course of time.

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