Not Eminem, sillies. Sugar. (But now I bet you’ve got “you’ve only got one chance, do not miss your chance to blow/ this opportunity comes once in a lifetime” running through your head. If not, you do now!).
As you all know, I’m currently taking sugar back out of my diet to see if it helps with my skin that has suddenly decided it wants to party like it’s 1999. I’m about two weeks into said monthly experiment and so far my skin actually is clearing up. Sigh. But it could also be due to hormonal fluctuations, so we’ll see.
Don’t Think About Junior Mints
Simple sugar really is my Achilles heel. I have a really hard time resisting the sweet stuff. Bakery items I can turn down no problem, ice cream gets a little harder but candy? Ah, candy. I think I’m addicted. And according to Scientific American I probably am. Along with the rest of you humans:) Their September 2007 issue (not online – so no linkage, sorry!) is devoted to the global issue of obesity. Even developing countries have switched, in one decade, from fighting starvation to fighting obesity. Case in point: In 1989 less than 10% of Mexicans were overweight or obese. Today? 77%. That’s not a typo. In less than ten years, obesity has skyrocketed seven fold. Scientists lay the problem at the feet of the white satan in all it’s gooey delicious forms.
They Wanna Make Me Go To Rehab but I Said No, No, No…
What is it with me and quoting (or misquoting) bad lyrics today?? First Eminem, then Prince and now Amy Whiiiinehouse. That question you’ll have to concede to my general craziness and lack of sleep (why oh why won’t my one-year-old sleep through the night??). But for the question of sugar addiction, that I have research to back up!
“In rats, it has been shown that if you give them diets very high in sugar and
then administer an opiod antagonist called naloxone, you can trigger a
withdrawal that is similar to that in animals given naloxone after repeated
injections of morphine. This result inicates that a chronic high exposure
to high-sugar diets generates a physical dependence in rats (Ozelli, This is Your Brain on Food, Scientific American Sep. 07, p.85).”
Let me break it down for you: they’ve shown that rats get addicted to sugar in the same way they get addicted to morphine. They think that it works the same way in humans. For some reason they haven’t been able to get funding for a human study that involves getting people addicted to hazardous studies and then imaging their brains while they take away said substance and force withdrawal. Hmmmm.
My Experiment (Withdrawal)
This rat research actually makes a lot of sense to me. I’ve done the no-sugar experiment quite a few times now. What always happens is this: it is white-knuckle insanity for the first week or so, with cravings peaking on about day four, and then it slowly slides into the background until after about a month of no sugar I simply don’t crave it anymore. Fruit starts tasting super sweet to me. Even things like almonds that you wouldn’t normally consider “sweet” taste so to me.
It’s hard though because sugar is in everything. And I do mean everything. If it comes in a box, it’s got added sugar. Even stuff like spaghetti sauce and macaroni and cheese has sugar in it. Sausage has sugar in it. Even fancy-shmancy “health” food has added sugars although they usually list those under deceptive names like brown rice syrup, tapioca syrup, pure cane extract and so forth. So to completely avoid sugar you basically have to cook from scratch. Which is better for you anyhow but still… a pain.
Killing the Cravings
So the trick to getting sugar out of your diet (if you want to, that is) is to get over the initial hump of vicious-kick-you-when-you’re-down cravings. Women’s Health has an article with a few interesting suggestions. I’m going to try them. I’ll let you know if it helps!
Leave me a comment and tell me your best tip for overcoming cravings!