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Unmasking Sugar: How to Break the Cycle of Addiction

fruit-and-chia-pudding-sq-400Maybe you reach for a no-sugar-added soda at dinner or treat yourself to a low-sugar, high-protein “nutrition bar” after a workout. Do you often find yourself snacking on low- or no-sugar-added desserts without a second thought? If you often seek sweets or foods loaded with artificial sweeteners, you could be addicted to the sugary stuff.

Empty Calories

Sugar is a carbohydrate, one of the major nutrient groups, but it lacks vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making it nutritionally bankrupt. Despite its lack of nutritional value, it’s frequently added to many foods, including ketchup, fruited yogurt, cereal, canned soup, some brands of lunch meat, salad dressing, condiments, bread, and so much more.

While our bodies require some sugar (glucose) in our diets to function, consuming excessive amounts can harm our health.

Understanding Its Addictive Qualities

Consuming the sweet stuff triggers a response in our body similar to that seen in substance addiction, explaining the development of cravings. This sweet substance enters the bloodstream quickly, causing your blood sugar level to spike. The body naturally tries to correct this imbalance, resulting in a craving for more of the sweet stuff once the blood sugar drops.

Decoding Its Many Names

Sugar has many sneaky aliases. Sucrose (the table variety), fructose (found in fruit and some vegetables), and lactose (the milk variety) are all forms of the sweet substance that you might recognize. Naturally occurring sugar found in fruit and vegetables plays a part in a balanced diet. However, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, and processed “natural” varieties like high fructose corn syrup can be detrimental to your health.

How to Eliminate the Unhealthy Type From Your Diet

  • Find Out Where It Hides: On ingredient lists, words ending in “-ose” often indicate the presence of the sweet substance.
  • Steer Clear of Artificial Alternatives: Items labeled as “fat-free” or “sugar-free” and products containing artificial sweeteners are not healthier options.
  • Stay Conscious of the Liquid Variety: A single serving of soda, flavored water, sports drinks or boxed juice often contains high amounts of sugar.
  • Opt For Healthier Substitutions: Choose snacks labeled “no added sugar” or “unsweetened.” When baking, swap table sugar with healthier alternatives like applesauce, fruit puree, date paste, or molasses. If you want to add more flavor to yogurt, coffee, or oatmeal, sprinkle some cinnamon or vanilla powder on top. Choose brown rice syrup or cane sugar over other processed types.
  • You can also consider substitutions such as minimally processed stevia and monkfruit, or the newer alternative, Allulose. With zero carbs and no aftertaste, it can help decrease sugar intake.

If you’re used to consuming too much sweet stuff, make small changes. For example, if you usually add two sugar packets to your coffee, try reducing your intake by half a packet.

Sugar and its inflammatory effects can deplete micronutrient status. Are you curious about your micronutrient status and how it can impact your health?

Start Your Journey to Sweeter Health Today

Ready to curb those cravings? Book an appointment with Denver Functional Nutritionist Nikki Burnett. She is a Master of Science, Certified Nutrition Therapy Practitioner, and Master Nutrition Therapist.

Whether you’re seeking health optimization, blood sugar management, improved gut health, or you have another goal, we want to help you flourish!


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