As the holiday season draws to a close, we might notice that somewhere along the way, we boarded a Sugar Train. We likely entered the train innocently enough; at the beginning it might have resembled a subway with frequent opportunities to disembark. But for some, it now feels more like a high-speed train traveling through an underwater tunnel with no exit stations in sight.
The cookies are calling. The chocolate stash has grown exponentially. Dessert happens…regularly; perhaps daily. Maybe we’ve won more sugar standoffs in the past, but now sugar clearly has taken the lead. We can no longer find it within ourselves to say no.
Before we go any further, I want to acknowledge something. Sugar acts upon the opiod receptors, or pleasure centers of our brains, just like recreational drugs such as cocaine do. Studies have shown it to be as addictive as cocaine, if not more so. Plus, if we’re pre-diabetic or diabetic, eating more sugar is especially apt to make us crave more sugar due to poor insulin handling. And, if you happen to have yeast overgrowth (dysbiosis) in your gut, the “bad bacteria” can cause you to madly crave sugar.
So, while it is possible to exit the Sugar Train rather than circling the globe until the end of your days, it is important to work with your biochemistry – and to be gentle with yourself -- to once again gain some control over sugar cravings. Here are some tips to get you started:
Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC535701/
Insomnia Increases Junk Food Cravings: Sleep deprivation blunts brain function linked to eating healthy foods.: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201308/insomnia-increases-junk-food-cravings
Evidence That Intermittent, Excessive Sugar Intake Causes Endogenous Opioid Dependence: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1038/oby.2002.66/full
Sugar addiction: pushing the drug-sugar analogy to the limit: http://journals.lww.com/co-clinicalnutrition/Abstract/2013/07000/Sugar_addiction___pushing_the_drug_sugar_analogy.11.aspx