Sugar addiction. How to beat an addiction to the "sweet drug"

Many people cannot imagine tea without jam, tea without a piece of cake. Some may even replace lunch with sweets... Taking snacks like sugary yogurts, candy or cookies... Most people have these habits — because sweet foods give a lot of pleasure!
By the way, nutritionists equate cravings for sweets with alcohol addiction!

Why is it dangerous to have a sweet tooth?

Sugar is one of the most controversial substances. It intertwines the undeniable benefits and undeniable harm. From the point of view of benefits, sugar is a source of vitality, energy. On the other hand, sugar is called the "gentle killer", because it slowly and imperceptibly causes addiction and the formation of fatal diseases.

The fact that humans need very little sugar for normal functioning: for women it’s about 25 grams and for men 30 grams per day. This is an evolutionary requirement of the human body. And before it was satisfied by natural sources of carbohydrates, because sugar is present in varying amounts in many foods.

As for the human diet of the 21st century, it literally abounds in sugars, and, on the average, the inhabitants of developed countries consume at least 130 grams of sugar daily, which is several times higher than the recommended norm. Long-term excessive consumption of sugar, in addition to the well-known obesity, causes diseases such as strokes, coronary heart disease, malignant tumors and diabetes, which are the main cause of death among the population of developed countries.

How does a sugar addiction develop?

Addiction to sweets is gradually formed due to the superposition of several factors.
First, sugar improves the organoleptic qualities of many foods, so it is present in the recipes of most dishes, not to mention confectionery.

Secondly, the consumption of sugar through a cascade of biochemical reactions brings a feeling of pleasure and happiness, helps to cope with stress and depressed mood. And the more stressful the stress, the more a person pounces on sweets to neutralize negative emotions.

Thirdly, sugar, that is fast carbohydrates, instantly energizes the body. However, this "recharge" doesn’t last long. And the loss of energy, which then occurs, exceeds the initial level of charge. Because of this, the body asks for a new and larger dose of sweets.

In this case, speaking of sugar and sugar addiction, we mean addiction to highly refined (refined) carbohydrates, which, in essence, are not a food, but a chemical substance. After all, refined sugar as it is known to each of us is a product of modern technology and does not occur in nature.

The mechanism of easy and quick addiction to refined sugar is confirmed by brain scans obtained by functional magnetic resonance imaging. They show that after consuming sweet food, the same parts of the brain are activated as after using drugs and alcohol. Sugar stimulates the active production of dopamine, the so-called "hormone of happiness", by attacking the taste buds on the tongue responsible for perceiving sweet tastes. Drugs and alcohol have a similar effect. After a short time the brain "refuses" to produce enough dopamine on its own, requiring hyperstimulation by fast carbohydrates, which is subjectively accompanied by a feeling of collapse of strength and fatigue.

How to defeat the craving for sweets

When attempting a sharp rejection of the sweet there is a situation of dopamine starvation, close in its essence to the "withdrawal" of drug addicts. The brain requires stimulation and the person with sugar addiction uncontrollably eats more and more portions of sweets in order to regain the usual level of dopamine, which brings a sense of calmness and pleasure.
Therefore, weaning from sweets should be done in stages.

At the first stage, you may replace sweets with fruits or berries which also contain sugar (fructose), but in combination with other substances: pectin, dietary fiber, vitamins and trace elements. In this case you should not eat more than 200-300 grams of fresh fruit or 40-50 grams of dried fruit.

The next stage is the gradual replacement of fruit with sweet vegetables, such as carrots, bell peppers, tomatoes, and pumpkin.
It’s important to realize that even a gradual rejection of sweets will bring certain discomfort and inconvenience, because the body will readjust to more complex ways of producing glucose. As a rule, your mood worsens and your sleep is disturbed. That’s irritability, and also, it may cause a headache.
To make the process of giving up sweets easier, faster and without disruption, can help take small doses of a trace element such as lithium.
First, reducing the usual amount of sugar intake is a stress for the body that can destabilize the emotional sphere. And lithium has a proven normotensive effect, that is, it normalizes the emotional background and increases stress resistance, not allowing you to snap out of a restrictive diet and binge on sweets again.
Secondly, lithium reduces cravings for sweets, because it regulates metabolism, which is involved in regulating blood sugar and restores cells' sensitivity to glucose.
Thirdly, lithium has the very important property of enhancing mood by regulating the metabolism of dopamine in the brain, and by increasing the production of endorphins creates a stable positive mood. Simply put, taking lithium reduces the body's need for sugar to improve mood.
Thus, lithium is a very important trace element that helps beat sugar addiction in direct and indirect ways.
So if you are serious about getting rid of your sugar addiction, pay attention to Normotim which contains a special dosage of lithium to help the body overcome sugar addiction as well as to improve mood and emotional stability.

Prof. Dr. O.A. Gromova